Western Cape Department of Social Development Q1-3 2022/23 Performance Reports

Social Development (WCPP)

28 February 2023
Chairperson: Mr D Plato (DA)
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Meeting Summary


The Committee convened for a briefing by the Department of Social Development on the Quarterly Reports for the period April-June 2022, July-September 2022, and October - December 2022.

The Department said that the demand for services it delivered remains high, mainly due to the difficult socio-economic conditions (exacerbated by the ever-increasing cost of living) faced by families, adults and children in the province. The transfer funding budget cuts negatively affected the Department's ability to meet demand, which pressured its services. The Department will continue to engage with key stakeholders to enable service delivery.

MEC Sharna Fernandez informed the Committee that the Department launched a gender-based violence (GBV) video programme, Break the Cycle, focused on engaging boys and men. The Department launched the campaign with participants of the FAMSA Fatherhood Programme in Khayelitsha in February 2023 to correspond with the media campaign launch. The programme deals with parenting, masculinity, gender norms, and anger management. The MEC will share further details with the Committee. 

The Committee expressed concerns about the prevalence of GBV in informal settlements, gangsterism and drugs in communities, and school dropouts. They also noted the challenges of homeless persons and enquired about reintegration programmes to support homeless persons removed from the streets. 

Members welcomed the briefing by the Department on the school dropout and truancy programmes, reunification programmes for adult homeless persons, and the rollout of shelter projects and support services to support GBV victims. 

Meeting report

Briefing by the Department of Social Development on the Quarterly Reports for April-June 2022, July-September 2022, and October-December 2022

Dr Robert Macdonald, Head of Department, Department of Social Development (DSD), and Ms Marion Johnson, Chief Director: Business Planning and Strategy, DSD, presented the Performance Information Report. 

The Department said that tracking performance information enables the Department to show how it is progressing against its outputs and budgets. It is also used to promote accountability and transparency by enabling legislators, members of the public and interested parties, to track departmental progress. The provision of this information is mandated by various legal and policy requirements such as Sections 92 and 133 of the SA Constitution, which makes provision for both members of the Cabinet and the Executive Council (MECs) of a province, both collectively and individually, to provide regular reports concerning matters under their control to Parliament and provincial legislatures, respectively. 

Similar arrangements are specified for municipalities in terms of the Municipal Structures Act. 

The PFMA (1999), the MFMA (2003) and Public Service Act (1994) also provide for enhanced control over public expenditure and empower public sector managers to use resources more efficiently. 

The 2004 Presidency's Government comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation (GWME) Framework provides the management of programme performance information.
Regarding the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency (DPME) Programme, performance information is an essential component of the GWME system. It provides non-financial information about government services and activities.

The Department has established internal control systems to manage performance information through a standard operating procedure first developed in 2013 and which has undergone annual reviews as required, the latest being in 2022. It describes the processes and indicates responsibilities for the year (Quarterly) and annual reporting of performance information. 

The DPME, the national custodian of performance information, introduced the following target achievement classification system for performance reporting:

-If performance is between 0 – 49.9%, the target is not considered not to have been achieved.
-If performance is between 50 – 99.9%, the target is considered to have been partially achieved.
-Only where performance equals or is above the target is the target considered to have been achieved. 

There are often valid reasons for not achieving a target; these and the corrective actions are recorded in the quarterly performance reports. 

For the financial year ending March 2023, the Department is collecting performance information against 53 performance indicator targets. Performance against 37 targets is collected quarterly and 16 annually.

The presentation focuses on quarterly target achievement.

Summary of Quarterly Performance on 2022/2023 DSD APP Targets

Based on current validated performance information, by the end of 3Q, the Department achieved 59%, partially achieved 35% and did not achieve 5% of its targets. The Department achieved fewer targets in 3Q than in previous quarters - down from 68% in 1Q to 59% by the end of 3Q. 

Target attainment was at its highest in 2Q at 70%. Target achievement in the categories older persons, persons with disabilities sub-programme and creating work opportunities in the Poverty Programme will only be attained if an additional budget is allocated. This has yet to be forthcoming, and this trend is thus likely to continue into 4Q.
The Children & Families programme saw a decrease in target achievement due to factors impacting interventions to reunify children with their families and caregivers, the limited capacity of NPO CYCCs to manage children with behavioural challenges, and nonattendance or non-completion of parent education programmes by parents and caregivers. 

Target attainment concerning Restorative Services (crime prevention and support involving children) depended on court-ordered referrals.

Programme Two: Social Welfare Services - Quarterly Performance by Sub-programme

Transfer funding budget cuts were mitigated to some extent by shifting funds from community-based care & support services (primarily the funding of transport for Older Persons to and from service centres) to residential care not to compromise existing frail care services provided to residents. This has had a knock-on effect: targets for all service delivery indicators to Older Persons were only partially achieved.

The envisaged expansion of services was slowed down by transfer funding budget cuts in the sub-programme, hence the partial achievement of the targets.

During the first quarter, undue hardship clients dealt directly with SASSA to access the R350 grant. However, during the second and third quarters, the Department experienced an upsurge in clients (heads of households) who were assessed for eligibility for undue hardship. This is an indication of the difficult socio-economic conditions faced by households in the Western Cape. 

The increase in households assessed after disasters also indicates the fires in various settlements over the period under review.

Programme Three: Children and Families - Quarterly Performance by Sub-programme

The number of families participating in family preservation programmes was lower than recorded in the previous two quarters. The programme will engage with stakeholders to promote and encourage participation in and completion of family preservation interventions.

The reunification process necessitates that both the physical and psychosocial well-being of both the child and caregiver are assessed and that all circumstances are conducive to ensuring that the child's best interests remain the overriding factor when the decision to reunify is made. This is a complex process and often something that can only be achieved in a quarter. 

Concerning children in residential care, two issues confront NPO CYCCs. Firstly, they have reservations about admitting girls between the ages of 14 and 16, many of whom exhibit challenging behaviour that they do not feel equipped to handle. Secondly, they have requested a decrease in their total admissions and not accepting new applications as they need more capacity. The Department takes up the children that the NPO CYCCs cannot accommodate. 

Attendance and completion of parenting programmes decreased in the third quarter. Challenges in this respect are often related to access issues such as the cost of transportation to the programme site, crime, and attendance to other family matters or unwillingness to attend.

Programme Four: Restorative Services - Quarterly Performance by Sub-programme

The referral of children to diversion programmes is the prerogative of the Court. Children who do not meet the criteria for participation in diversion programmes (they do not plead guilty, commit serious offences or are re-offenders) will thus not be referred. The Court may also direct an option other than diversion if it sees fit. 

The partial achievement concerning awaiting trial children is hopefully on track to decrease further as success is viewed when these numbers reduce and therefore is lower than the set target. 

This is, however, also dependent on the Court. DSD continues to work with WCED to gain access to schools and clarify the roles and responsibilities of DSD and WCED social workers.

Victims of GBV are coming forward at an ever-increasing rate. This can be attributed to the growing awareness amongst women that assistance and support are available.

Additional resources have been made available, as exemplified by the additional six GBV shelters (26 in total) and social workers specialising in support of victims of GBV – approximately 68 are thus far operating within the NPO and DSD environment.

Target attainment and over-achievement indicate the need for services to combat substance abuse in the province. 

It is encouraging that clients continue to choose to access aftercare services (focus on relapse prevention) after completing inpatient and community-based treatment.

Programme Five: Development and Research - Quarterly Performance by Sub-Programme

Budget cuts to NPOs have also impacted the creation of EPWP work opportunities. NPOs struggle to pay the minimum stipend of R102 per person per day – the minimum amount required for employment/work" to qualify as an EPWP work opportunity. 

An additional budget is required if the target for EPWP work opportunities is to be met. 

In addition, collecting performance information on this issue is time-consuming because it is a manual process of checking NPO timesheets and whether employment contracts are in place. It is also dependent on NPOs submitting the contracts and time sheets timeously.

The youth development programme continues to grow as young people seek to upgrade their skills and competencies.

Summary and Conclusion

There is a high demand for DSD services. The demand for services delivered by DSD remains high, mainly due to the difficult socio-economic conditions (exacerbated by the ever-increasing cost of living) faced by families, adults and children in the province. 

Anecdotally, this also impacts their ability to access services – travel costs to and from programme interventions have risen alarmingly. 

Respect to the provision of subsidised meals during the third quarter also supports this – 10 122 subsidised meals were provided, a little over 500 more than the target of 9 620 and 1 189 households came for assessment for undue hardship – 898 more than the targeted number (291) of households for the quarter and a little over 200 more households than in 2Q.

The number of victims of GBV seeking support services remains high, indicating the sustained need and demand for these services as victims become increasingly aware of and actively seek the support available. 

Transfer funding budget cuts negatively affect the Department's ability to meet demand and put pressure on its services.

Transfer funding budget cuts to NPOs continue to affect the Department's ability to meet its targets, particularly for services to Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities and work opportunity creation. This can only be mitigated by increasing the funding allocation for these services. 

Regarding children in residential care, NPO CYCCs are reluctant to admit teenagers, especially teenage girls who exhibit challenging behaviour or suffer from a psychiatric disorder. 

This places additional pressure on DSD facilities as they take up these children who need care. 

The Department will continue to engage with key stakeholders to enable service delivery:

-Continued engagement with the courts to promote diversion programmes and ensure compliance with referral processes

-Continued engagement with the WCED and ABTs to develop a process and plan to provide support, efficient and appropriate referrals and referral pathways for children and youth at risk in schools in high-risk areas in the province

-Engage with stakeholders to promote, enable and encourage participation in and completion of family preservation and support services, the reunification of children with their families, and parent education and training programmes.

[See the presentation for further details]

The Chairperson thanked the Department for the presentation. 

Ms A Cassiem (EFF) posed questions about informal settlements and community gangsterism. Are programmes and interventions planned to address school dropouts and communities affected by gangsterism and drugs? Are there programmes and interventions prioritising children and youth in these communities in partnership with SAPS and law enforcement?

She asked DSD to outline what opportunities are provided to homeless persons when they are removed from the streets. She requested a status update on the number of homeless persons in the Western Cape. 

On informal settlements and farming areas, she referred to the challenges of GBV victims in accessing police stations in such areas. What plans will be implemented to provide support services to victims? 

Ms N Bakubaku-Vos (ANC) asked the Department to clarify what measures are in place to prevent missing performance targets. 

She requested an update on a case of a mother with a disabled son and referred to DSD for its intervention in the previous committee meeting. 

She noted concern for the criminalisation of homelessness – for example, in the City of Cape Town. She asked what governmental interventions would be implemented to assist homeless persons. 

Regarding the increase of drug abuse as the cause of several social challenges for families and children, she requested an update on anti-drug programmes in the Western Cape. She also requested the DSD to inform how family reunification programmes are monitored and evaluated. 

She said that GBV is an epidemic in the Western Cape. She asked the Department to respond on the plans to minimise the occurrence of GBV. 

Regarding NPOs, she asked the Department to advise on how it supports and capacitates NPOs. 

DSD's Responses

Dr Macdonald responded to the questions pertaining to school dropouts and alternatives to gangs. The DSD implemented inter-departmental child protection programmes. Specific programmes providing secure care facilities and probation diversion activities are available to support children at risk and in conflict with the law.

Child and youth programmes are utilised as preventative measures. Alternative care arrangements are utilised to remove children from violence and abuse. 

The Education Department leads a school dropout and truancy programme. Social workers & school resource offices facilitate the programme. The Department has limited resources and makes full use of the funds received. The facilities are filled, and there is a lengthy waiting list. 

There is a massive increase in children placed in child protection programmes. This increases challenges for social workers. The DSD has mitigated this through increased collaboration with community-based carers and auxiliary social workers. The DSD plans to expand on this initiative and other parenting support programmes in 2023.

The Sports is Your Future Programme is headed by SAPS and supported by other key departments. The Department of Sports, Art, and Culture has instituted a programme for at-risk children. 

On the issue of homelessness, the DSD manages reunification programmes for adult homeless persons. The Department funds the positions of social workers at the shelters run by DSD. The City of Cape Town runs Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) for the homeless adults in the shelters. 

The Department does not have an exact number of homeless persons. There was an increase of approximately 14 000 during COVID-19, but no conclusive numbers are available. 

Regarding informal settlements and support to GBV victims, DSD has commenced the shelter projects and support services rollout.

Measures to prevent the missing of targets depend on the types of targets and indicators. Some targets and indicators are compulsory, as it is required for performance reporting. In contrast, others are dependent on the operation of the Department. 

Regarding the request for an update on a case of a mother with a disabled son, DSD will provide feedback at the next meeting. 

The DSD provides comprehensive capacity support to NPOs at the local and provincial levels. Support includes registration and registration renewals. Some NPOs are provided with in-depth support.  

MEC Sharna Fernandez said that GBV does not only affect women. Thus, the DSD launched a video programme, Break the Cycle, focused on engaging boys and men. DSD launched the campaign with participants of the FAMSA Fatherhood Programme in Khayelitsha in February 2023 to correspond with the media campaign launch. The programme deals with parenting, masculinity, gender norms, and anger management. The MEC will share further details with the Committee. 

Follow-up discussion 

Ms R Windvogel (ANC) asked for clarity on partly achieved targets and how the DSD manages shortages of social workers. 

On engagement of NPOs, she asked DSD to advise whether it engages in health and wellness issues. 

Ms A Bans (ANC) noted the improved targets for programmes supporting children and families. She also asked the Department to clarify whether targets are determined by actual community needs or according to budgetary considerations. 

She asked the Department to provide information on the establishment of youth cafes. 

Dr Macdonald responded that DSD needs more social workers. The population increase constrains the number of available social workers, office spaces and resources.

The DSD has increased efforts to recruit graduate social workers and utilise municipal offices as extra workspaces for social workers. 

The DSD has prioritised partnerships to support NPOs to improve health and wellness. The DSD collaborates closely with the Department of Health on various issues such as the TCCs and disability programmes for children. 

On setting targets, compulsory targets such as child protection services are non-negotiable.  

Regarding youth cafes, the establishment is based on the number and needs of young people in a specific area. The availability of venues and NGOs to run the cafe are vital determinants. 

Ms Windvogel asked whether the Break the Cycle programme was launched in 2022 or 2023. Are there drug shelters included in this programme? 

She also asked a follow-up question on the Department of Health and the possibility of Members being part of the hospital board committees on GBV interventions to ensure that there is a political will. 

She added that drug abuse is a severe concern in communities. She shared the challenges of children involved in drug abuse in her constituency. 

Dr Macdonald responded that there is an expanded budget for TCCs, and this will facilitate greater shelter access and spaces. 

The Break the Cycle programme was launched in 2023.

The DSD works closely with the Department of Human Settlements in referring persons with disabilities. The DSD will advocate for the same for GBV victims. 

The Chairperson thanked DSD for their attendance. 

The meeting was adjourned.



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