Social Development BRRR; Committee Report on DSD Quarterly Performance

Social Development

19 October 2022
Chairperson: Ms N Mvana (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


Tabled Committee Reports

The Committee convened in a virtual meeting to review and adopt its 2021/22 Budget Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) for the Department of Social Development and entities.

Members pointed out some omissions from the report. These included issues involving the appointment of the board and chief executive officer of the National Development Agency (NDA); the reinstatement of suspended employees without disciplinary action; public drug rehabilitation centres, employment plans for social workers; fraud and irregular expenditure at the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA); and services for children with disabilities.

The Committee reviewed its programme for the next quarter, and decided to postpone its planned workshop with the Department from November to January, to allow a minimum of two days for discussion of detailed action plans for projects involving the DSD and its entities. It also reviewed and adopted the minutes of five previous meetings.

Meeting report

Portfolio Committee on Social Development Budget Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR), 2021/2022

 Ms Yolisa Khanye, Committee Content Advisor, took the Committee through its Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) for the 2021/22 financial year, and gave Members the opportunity to make inputs and recommendations.

Ms L Arries (EFF) noted that the issue of the dysfunctional National Development Agency (NDA) board and the suspended employees who had been reinstated without disciplinary action, had been omitted from the report. She also raised the issue of public drug rehabilitation centres, as they were fighting the abuse of drugs among the youth.

Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) suggested that the Minister table an action plan for the employment of social workers, and a plan to deal with the fraud at the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) to Parliament. The Minister should also come up with a financial misconduct consequence report, indicating the processes taken to deal with officials who had committed fraud and financial mismanagement.

Ms B Masango (DA) asked the content advisor what should be done about the Department and its entities, saying that they had achieved certain targets on paper, but on the ground, it was a different story. There were provincial departments that were not reporting back on the progress of their projects, and that undermined the Parliamentary Committee’s oversight. She had a huge oversight challenge with a situation where officials were mentioned in connection with financial misconduct and continued to work without any disciplinary action. She pleaded with the Committee to investigate the matter. They had been asking for action plans to deal with the issues that were impacting the performance of the Department and its entities regarding financial misconduct, fraud, long investigations and leases.

Ms P Marais (EFF) said that managers at the Department's offices had demanded an appointment from her before she could do any oversight at the offices. She said it was impossible to conduct a reliable oversight with an appointment, because the managers would clear up anything that would incriminate them before a Committee Member arrived. They had discussed top-ups and foster care during the oversight visit, and she had been told that the foster care facilities were no longer operating, and the families had been given top-ups to feed themselves. The competence of social workers was compromised, as ten social workers occupied one office -- they were expected to share one car, which they were allowed use for one hour a week. Children with disabilities were not given enough attention, and information discussed in the Committee meetings was not communicated to provincial departments, as they were usually clueless about decisions taken in those meetings.

Ms J Manganye (ANC) commended the content advisor for a good report, and cautioned the Committee about the issue of data, as alluded to by the AGSA, that it was difficult for the DSD to access data without the help of the provincial governments. If this issue was not addressed, it would be recurring, and people would be paid without delivering data to the Department. There should be Members of Executive Councils (MECs) of provinces that took information of meetings to their respective provinces -- that was their job -- and she did not understand how they were attending meetings without reporting back to the departments in their respective provinces.

Ms Khanye said that the board of the National Development Agency (NDA) was set to be appointed by the end of October or November. It was just waiting for confirmation by the Minister, and the chief executive officer (CEO) would be appointed by the board once it was appointed, which was why she had omitted it from the report. 

Ms Arries (EFF) disagreed with this approach, and insisted that this point should be included in the report.

Mr D Stock (ANC) said that he had followed up on the meeting that had been held with the NDA, and that the appointment of the CEO and the board had been going on for a long time. The process should be included in the report as a repetitive finding.

Ms Khanye said she would add the point to the report, and would also add the points raised by the other Committee Members. There was an agenda item on foster care that was scheduled for November. It was noted in the report, so she advised the Committee to include the services for children with disabilities as part of their next oversight visit. The annual plans and their timeframes should be approved by the Department so they could be implemented. She recommended that the database be supplied to SASSA to ensure they received it on time, and the Minister should ensure that the DSD was part of the oversight that engaged with SASSA. The impact of the non-achievement of targets on the ground should be noted by the Department and its entities, and she would include an amendment about consequence management in the report.

Ms Manganye moved the adoption of the report, and Ms Masango seconded the motion.

The BRRR for the 2021/22 financial year was adopted with amendments.

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on the Fourth Quarter Performance and Expenditure Report for 2021/22 of the Department of Social Development (DSD)

 Ms Khanye took the Committee through the report and gave the Members an opportunity to make inputs and recommendations.

Ms Masango said that the report was a true representation of events and had been well presented.

Ms Arries said that the Central Drug Authority Board had not performed their duties as expected, and she needed that to be included in the report.

The content advisor said that it was included in the BRRR report. The Committee would include an oversight visit on the programme.

Ms A Abrahams (DA) moved the adoption of the report, and Ms Manganye seconded the motion.

There were no amendments to the report, and the Members adopted it.

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on the First Quarter Performance and Expenditure Report for 2022/23 of the Department of Social Development (DSD)

Ms Khanye took the Committee through the report and gave the Members an opportunity to make inputs and recommendations.

Ms Abrahams supported the report and emphasised that the Committee was still waiting for a report from the Acting Director for Children, who spoke about 74 temporary places of safety for children and had rattled off the number of bed spaces per province. They had promised to write the numbers down for us, but they were still being awaited. She asked if it was possible for the Committee Secretary to write to that team to ask for the report, including the policies on maternal support, the youth policies, and the child support grant beneficiary policies. She had a concern about the Gauteng province implementing its own funding model for the non-profit organisations (NPOs) that was different from all the other entities of the DSD at a national level. She urged the Committee to schedule a meeting with officials from the province to discuss these matters, to avoid having to defund the NPOs.

Ms Abrahams moved the adoption of the report, and Mr Stock seconded.

The report was adopted.

Portfolio Committee's fourth term programme

Ms Lindiwe Ntsabo, Committee Secretary, took the Committee through its fourth term committee programme for the October-December 2022 period, and gave the Members an opportunity to make inputs and recommendations.

Ms Abrahams thanked the secretary for the programme, and commended her for including the social workers in it. She thought it would be a good opportunity for the Department to address this matter in a meeting, as they were yet to respond to the Committee about the matters raised, including the action plan they had requested. She did not think Thursdays were good days to hold a workshop, as they all had caucus meetings. She therefore suggested that it be held in person over two days in Johannesburg, where most of the officials were located, to cut expenses.

There had been a Sowetan newspaper headline that read, “SA's shameful kiddies death factory. How many more must die? At a rate of about three a day, 549 children -- some not even a year old -- were murdered in the first half of this year.” She urged the Committee to invite the South African Police Service (SAPS) to a meeting to discuss a plan of action for children. She also thought they should be clear on what they expected from the Department. They must be shown the plan and be taken through each step of its implementation.

Ms Masango said that the meeting should be considered in January, running for two days, as that would make their work smoother and they would understand their work going forward. This would also give the Department time to prepare on the issues that needed to be discussed at the workshop.

Ms K Bilankulu (ANC) preferred the workshop to be held in January, as it would be difficult to obtain permission to miss the caucuses they were obliged to attend on Thursdays.

Ms Marais also agreed to the workshop being held in January over two days.

The Chairperson accepted the comments, and asked the Committee Secretary to reschedule the workshop to January.

Ms Abrahams moved the adoption of the programme, and Ms Marais seconded.

The Members adopted the programme, with amendments.

Adoption of minutes

The Committee Secretary took the Committee through the minutes of its meetings on 2, 7 and 9 September, and 12 and 14 October. These were all adopted.

The meeting was adjourned.


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