Department of Social Development 2023/24 Annual Performance Plan, with AGSA input & Ministry present

Social Development

03 May 2023
Chairperson: Ms N Mvana (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


Social Development

In a virtual meeting, the Committee received a presentation from the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) on the review of the Department of Social Development’s (DSD’s) Annual Performance Plan for the 2023/24 financial year and material irregularities. The Department of Social Development also presented its Annual Performance Plan for the 2023/24 financial year.

The AGSA called for a culture shift at the DSD, where proper consequence management was done, and investigations were concluded on time. The AGSA informed the Committee of recommendations and commitments the DSD executive had agreed to implement. The AGSA recommended that the DSD timely finalisation of the outstanding cases, consequence management had to be implemented and the necessary actions had to be implemented as found in the investigations’ report. The AGSA briefed the Committee on three material irregularities from the 2022/23 financial year. There were payments for social services that were not rendered to the value of R74 million; payments were made where no goods and services were received and an overpayment of R316 million to the service provider. Both those material irregularities were in their final stages of being processed. The last material irregularity was a payment of the R350 SRD grant to ineligible beneficiaries.

The AGSA was in the process of evaluating the DSD’s responses. The AGSA advised the DSD and SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) to work together and recoup all grant debts for better financial management. The AGSA said compliance management was too slow and had raised concern that the DSD’s receivable balance had remained high.

For the 2023/24 financial year, the AGSA informed the Committee that the DSD’s management had not adequately reviewed the draft Annual Performance Plan against the prescribed framework. For SASSA, the number of social grant indicators, had not measured the performance or actual service delivery of the core function as had been intended by the indicator. The indicator for the number of poverty eradication projects funded by the NDA was not clearly defined and measurable, as inconsistencies were noted between the definition and the wording of the indicator.

The Committee asked about SASSA cards expiring. The Committee asked whether the DSD had made progress on its record keeping as the AGSA had identified it as inadequate in the past. The Committee asked about the high vacancy rate and the slow rate of the finalisation of investigations. The investigations took too long. The Committee raised concern over the Post Office being liquidated. The Committee asked the AGSA how the enforcement of its new power would happen.

Ms Lindiwe Zulu, Minister, DSD, said the DSD needed to do much better and would implement the necessary recommendations in the current financial year. The DSD would focus on areas where little improvement had happened. The vacancy rate would be addressed, and the DSD was looking at mitigating factors in the Postbank matter. The DSD and the Government needed to create a conducive environment for people to be able to meet their needs. The government needed to give more support to children and parents. Government needed to focus on creating jobs to enable people to meet not only their needs but the needs of their children as well.

The DSD briefed the Committee on its Annual Performance Plan. The Department said that APP was the last instalment of its efforts towards fulfilling the commitments of the 6th Administration. In the current financial year, the DSD would fast track among others the; White Paper on Social Welfare and requisite standards, Comprehensive Social Security Policy Framework, Policy for Social Insurance for Atypical and Own Account Workers and policy to cover 18–59-year-olds. The DSD would also work with SITA and the DPME towards establishing an inclusive social protection register for the vulnerable. The Department informed the Committee what its focus areas would be under each programme and informed the Committee of its baseline adjustments for the 2023/24 financial year.

The Committee asked about finalising the Children’s Act regulations and if social service professionals would be trained on those. The Committee also wanted more information on the teenage parent programme and how it would be implemented. The Committee asked in which districts that would programme be implemented and whether the DSD was working with other departments.

The Committee asked about the hiring of service social professionals and raised concerns over the proposed funding cuts to NGOs in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. The Committee inquired about the sexual and reproductive strategy and raised concerns over implementing the DSD’s programmes. The Committee felt social ills were worsening, yet the DSD kept presenting about interventions and programmes. The Committee said the DSD needed to give in-depth information on whether those programmes worked or not.

Meeting report

The Chairperson said the Committee had to try and finish before 14:00, so the Members could make it in time for the House sitting. April was a hero and heroine’s month, and the Committee remembered all those who had passed on. She said it was workers' month and more needed to be done to protect workers and the gaps within the Constitution.  

The Committee adopted the meeting agenda.

Auditor-General review of the Annual Performance Plan and material irregularities

Mr Faizel Jogee, Senior Manager: Social Development Portfolio, Auditor-General South Africa, led the presentation on behalf of the AGSA SA.

The Auditor-General recommended that there needed to be a culture shift at the DSD and for this to happen, the Department needed to ensure proper consequence management to take place on a timely basis, to prevent fraud/losses from reoccurring.

The Auditor General had recommended and received the following commitments from the leadership

  • Timely finalisation of long outstanding cases.
  • Proper systems in place to ensure that cases referred to were being investigated timely and by properly skilled personnel.
  • Consequence management had to be implemented for all impacted officials as recommended in the various investigation reports, and there was a need to accelerate the investigation process of financial misconduct cases to implement consequence management in time.
  • Follow up with the National Treasury on the condonement of those finalised cases.
  • SASSA H/O Investigation unit to ensure that all grant fraud cases done by provinces had been properly investigated and necessary actions taken as per the investigation report that had been implemented.

If those were implemented, it had to result in the reduction of irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred by the DSD. That would aid in mitigating and preventing further losses on grants payments, procurement, and other losses.

DSD Material Irregularities (MIs)

Payment for social services not rendered to the value of R74 million.

  • An external firm, appointed through National Treasury, conducted an investigation to determine if any current and former employees could be held liable for the loss. The liquidation process of the supplier that was paid while not entitled to receive payment was still in progress.

Current status

  • The investigation was finalised in November 2022. The accounting authority was in the process of implementing the recommendations contained in the investigator's report and indicated that that had to be finalised by the end of April 2023. The AGSA would follow up on that matter with the DSD.
  • Payments were made where no goods and services were received and there was an overpayment of R316 million to service provider. That was to the same service provider as the R74 million.
  • An external firm appointed through National Treasury conducted an investigation to determine if any current and former employees could be held liable for the loss. The liquidation process of the supplier that was paid while not entitled to receive payment was still in progress.
  • That MI was resolved, and the accounting authority took adequate actions. The high court ruled that the service provider had to pay the money back with interest.

Payments of R350 SRD grant to ineligible beneficiaries.

  • The AGSA issued recommendations for SASSA to tighten and improve controls, and recover money paid to ineligible beneficiaries especially state employees. The AGSA instructed the accounting officer to implement recommendations within six months.

Current status

  • The AGSA was in the process of evaluating the accounting authority’s response. There had been some recovery made to the amount of R134 million but there was still a huge amount of money still not recovered.

Status or record review (the DSD and SASSA) as of December 2022.

Financial management- The balance of unauthorised expenditure remained un-cleared in the current financial year. The DSD had to consult with SASSA regarding recovering all grant debts, including the R350 unemployment SRD grant.

Performance Management- Most quarterly targets were achieved except for two indicators: welfare services, policy development and implementation support.

Procurement and contract Management- 55 bids, which were planned to be awarded during the period ending December 2022, were not awarded as per the procurement plan.

Compliance Management- Management was slow in conducting and finalising the investigation of irregular and fruitless expenditure in the prior years.

Financial Health- Receivables balance recognised on the statement of financial position as of 30 September 2022 remained very high and comprised mainly of grant debtors at more than R1 billion, which if not recovered, affected the financial health of the DSD.

(See presentation for further details)

Review of the 2023/24 Annual Performance Plan (APP) for the DSD, SASSA, and NDA.


  • Management did not adequately review the draft Annual Performance Plan against the prescribed framework to ensure that each output indicator had a technical indicator description. Management agreed to the finding and subsequently updated the APP.


  • Number of social grant indicators: the indicator title was about the applications processed however management had also included activities such as updating information. That did not measure the performance or actual service delivery of the core function as intended by the indicator.


  • The indicator for the number of poverty eradication projects funded by the NDA was not clearly defined and measurable as inconsistencies were noted between the definition and wording of the indicator (The definition was not clear as the name of the indicator was referring to poverty eradication projects that were funded, and the definition in the TID was referring to CSO's that were approved for grant funding, (there was no link between the two).

(See presentation for further details)


Ms L Arries (EFF) asked about the SASSA grant cards expiration debacle.

Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) said the last time the AGSA presented, it reported that the DSD had very poor record keeping. The record keeping was so inadequate that source documentation could not support its performance reporting. That meant the Committee was not able to identify how effective the DSD was in providing services to the country’s poor. The Committee was also not able to verify whether programmes had spent their funds adequately. She asked whether the AGSA had looked at the matter of poor record keeping and whether there had been any improvement.

She asked if there had been an improvement in the vacancy rate. She said it was very worrisome that there was no improvement in the area of performance reporting and compliance management. That was an issue of concern because investigations took too long, and the Committee had to raise the issue of non-compliance and performance reporting every year with the DSD. There were no finalisations on investigations and officials were suspended with pay. She asked the AGSA how the Committee could get the DSD and SASSA to understand the need for timely investigations. Only 3% of investigations had been finalised from the last financial year. That was inadequate; had there been an improvement in the databases used by SASSA?


Ms Mbali Tsotetsi, Senior Manager, AGSA, responded.  

On record keeping, she said the DSD had provided the AGSA with an action plan to deal with the matter. The AGSA had not done testing to verify whether that plan had been implemented and if all the records were in place. That would happen as part of the final audit.

On the vacancy rate, the AGSA again highlighted that matter and advised the DSD to fill the key positions, especially the position of Director-General. The investigations were a focus area for the AGSA and had obtained commitments from the DSD and SASSA, indicating how they would deal with the backlog of cases. She said the AGSA was monitoring the implementation of those commitments.

The AGSA was looking into the databases and advised SASSA to verify the accuracy of the databases used for grants. She said there had been improvements in that regard.

Mr Jogee said SASSA cards would expire in the new financial year and the AGSA had raised the issue of people waiting in long queues to collect grants. The AGSA had asked SASSA to discuss how to solve that matter with the Postbank. He said SASSA was busy validating the databases with the banks. SASSA relied on different departments to provide it with information for its databases but had not verified that information in the past. However, over the last six months, there have been huge improvements in SASSA verifying information on its database. There had been a reduction in the number of payments to ineligible people. One of the biggest challenges was receiving data from the UIF, which meant that testing would help SASSA in that regard.

Further discussions

Ms P Marias (EFF) raised concerns about the availability of SASSA cards and said post offices were being closed and asked how people would receive its money. The Post Office was being liquidated and that would mainly affect people in deep rural areas.

Ms A Abrahams (DA) asked if there were only 3 MIs for the DSD and its entities and if the DSD had received a certificate of debt. Could the AGSA provide the Committee with the names of the 40 leased buildings and their value? How would the AGSA enforce its new powers with departments?

Ms Tsotetsi responded that the issue of the Post Office was a matter of concern, and the AGSA was engaging with the team that audited the Post Office. She could not provide further details on that matter, but the AGSA was waiting for information from the Post Office’s audit team and would only then look at the mitigating factors on that matter. The AGSA would report back on that matter to the Committee.

She confirmed that SASSA only had 3 MIs for the last financial year. She said the AGSA was awaiting feedback on those material irregularities from the DSD. There were three new additional MIs in that financial year.

On the 40 leases, at the time of the AGSA’s review, SASSA had not procured those leases and was behind. The AGSA could not give details on that. That would impact service delivery as SASSA would have to extend its existing leases, contributing to irregular expenditure.

Enforcement dealt with material irregularities, if accounting officers had not dealt with the matter as required by the PFMA. The AGSA would issue a recommendation in the Audit report, escalate the matter to other law enforcement agencies and issue a certificate of debt to the accounting officer. The AGSA had not yet issued a certificate of debt to the DSD because the accounting officer had actioned the recommendations of the AGSA. She said the losses were also in the process of being recovered.

The Chairperson thanked the AGSA for its presentation and the work it did. She said the work of the AGSA enables the Committee to do its oversight work better.

DSD Annual Performance Plan 2023/24

Minister Opening Remarks

Ms Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Social Development, said she was currently on a community outreach in Kwazulu-Natal. Communities in that province were still dealing with the effects of the floods and fires that had happened. She thanked the Auditor-General and said the DSD took the work of the AGSA very seriously. The DSD needed to do much better and would implement the necessary recommendations in the current financial year. The DSD would focus on areas where little improvement had happened. The vacancy rate would be addressed, and the DSD was looking at mitigating factors in the Postbank matter. The DSD and the Government needed to create a conducive environment for people to be able to meet their needs.

May was child protection month and all South Africa had to commemorate the month. May was also Africa Month. Regarding the community she was currently in, 625 people had been displaced and negatively affected by the fire and 328 were children. That was concerning and children were always the worst affected in those cases. The government needed to give more support to children and parents. Most children in that community were SASSA grant beneficiaries and their parents did odd jobs to augment whatever assistance they received from the government. Government needed to focus on creating jobs to enable people to meet not only their needs but the needs of their children as well.

She said the 2023/24 Annual Performance Plan marked the last of the DSD’s formal performance commitments within the medium-term strategic framework 2019/24. That APP would enable the DSD to round up on outstanding service delivery gaps. The DSD would visibly, meaningfully, and responsibly deliver on the commitments of the 6th Administration. There needed to be a visible difference in progress made since the 5th Administration. The DSD would mobilise all the available resources to be directed towards addressing service delivery gaps and the outstanding components of the MTSF 2019/24. the DSD would pursue to improve the lives and protect the dignity of all South Africans, particularly the vulnerable. 

She said government needed to focus on empowering women to form cooperatives which could combat the weak economic growth. The DSD would focus on implementing people-focused innovative programmes, that would assist with empowering the vulnerable people and enabling them to participate in the economy. She said throughout that financial year, the DSD would need to position itself and become more responsive to environmental disasters that affected the communities. The DSD’s budget would be spent through the district development approach, enabling the DSD to reach more people. Through that approach, the DSD would partner with 52 districts and metropolitan municipalities throughout the Country. The overarching focus of the APP was developed through the district development approach. The APP consisted of 21 targets that would focus on concluding the work of the 6th Administration.

She said the DSD would continue to pay social grants to the value of over R90 Million a month. The SRD grant would also be continued and would reach many more vulnerable people. Over 8 million South Africans benefited from that grant. The DSD would implement an economic responsive programme, designed to link social protection beneficiaries to sustainable livelihoods opportunities. The political leadership of the DSD had continuously demonstrated political will for the successful implementation of the DSD’s mandate. The DSD would revert to the Portfolio Committee and present its operational plan on how it would action the APP.

Presentation on the Annual Performance Plan 2023/24 of the Department of Social Development and the DSD budget vote

Mr Thabani Buthelezi, Deputy Director-General, DSD, led the presentation. He presented that the 2023/24 APP was the DSD’s last instalment of its efforts towards fulfilling the commitments of the 6th Administration, for the DSD was only left with about nine months before the end of the 6th Administration. In the APP 2023/24, the DSD had given full attention to all the commitments that had lagged and the targets that had not been fully achieved previously. The DSD was dedicating the 2023/24 financial year as a year of consolidating the work of the 6th Administration as well as intensifying the efforts of closing all the service delivery gaps.

Whilst the DSD was resolute in those endeavours, it equally took cognisance of the harsh realities and the dire state of the people who had depended on the services of the DSD for their livelihoods and so that they would not go to bed hungry. It was a fact that the DSD was historically an underfunded department; yet it was the DSD’s Portfolio that was called to provide immediate interventions when the Country faced episodes of abject poverty by providing social relief measures; psychosocial support services became in demand during disasters, COVID-19, and any other incident of violence and/or loss of life.

Those unfunded mandates included the DSD’s ability to respond and provide services to homeless people and interventions during the unprecedented disasters that had recently become almost a daily occurrence.

The Minister of Social Development had to fast track and present to Cabinet by Quarter 4 of 2022/23 the following targets:

  • White Paper on Social Welfare and requisite standards.
  • Comprehensive Social Security Policy Framework.
  • Policy for Social Insurance for Atypical and Own Account Workers.
  • Policy on Coverage for 18 – 59. Government had to view the SRD grant of R350 as not just a temporary measure, but a precursor to a permanent income support policy for the working-age population. Such a policy had to be complemented by coherent and well-designed active labour market interventions.
  • Resolution of payment challenges of the SASSA grants – conclude re-negotiation of SASSA/Postbank partnership and improve access to financial service platforms for grant beneficiaries.
  • The DSD, together with SITA and the DPME, had to work towards establishment of an inclusive social protection register for the vulnerable (NIPSIS) timely intervention during times of crises (e.g., COVID-19). That would be assisted by establishing the social protection floor (led by the National Planning Commission /DPME).
  • The DSD had to lead the effective implementation of the Drugs Master Plan.
  • Ensure effective implementation of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) against GBVF by inclusion of NSP priorities/interventions in Strategic Plans and APPS.
  • Resources had to be reprioritised to increase funding for: Front line social welfare (hire more social workers) - increase jobs and the quality of care for the most vulnerable.

Programme 1: Administration

The focus for 2023/24 for that programme would be implementing a governance and oversight framework. The DSD would also implement an electronic monitoring and evaluation system for the social development sector.

Programme 2: Social Assistance

The DSD would transfer R253 Billion to SASSA for administration and payment of social grants to beneficiaries.

Programme 3: Comprehensive Social Security

The DSD would produce a draft policy on integrating children’s grant beneficiaries with the Government services. That draft would be submitted to the technical working committees for consideration. the DSD would also produce a draft policy on maternal support and a draft policy on income support for 18- to 59-year-olds.

Programme 4: Welfare services policy development and implementation support.

The DSD would capacitate 30% of the sector’s workforce on the Children’s Act. The DSD would also capacitate 14 districts on teenage parent programme and submit the revised white paper on families for Cabinet approval.

Programme 5: Social Policy and integrated service delivery

The DSD would produce a report on the “State of the People of South Africa” and also create 178 120 EPWP work opportunities through social sector EPWP programmes.

Baseline adjustments.

Compensation of employees

  • R15.8 million in 2023/24, R16.0 million in 2024/25 and R16.2 million in 2025/26 for cost-of-living salary adjustments.

SRD Grant

  • R35.7 billion in 2023/24 for continuation of the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant until March 2024.

Social Assistance Grant

  • Amounts of R5.8 billion in 2023/24, R9.1 billion in 2024/25 and R14.5 billion for inflationary increases to social grants.

SASSA Administration

  • R400 million for transfer to SASSA to administer the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant.

Mr Buthelezi pointed the Members to a diagram on slide 49 and gave a detailed breakdown of money that would be spent per programme.

(See presentation for further details)


Ms van der Merwe said at some stage, the Committee would have to deal with the vacancy rate at the DSD. The Committee had to also discuss the issue of consequence management with the DSD, and the need to prioritise investigations and finalising outstanding investigations. The target for finalising the Children’s Amendment Act regulations was a 2022/23 target. That target was moved to the financial year 2023/24, because the DSD had to wait for Parliament to finalise its work and the President to sign the Amendment Bill. She said four months later, regulations for that Bill were still not done. That Amendment Act was required to address an urgent crisis in the foster care system. The Committee knew that had been a problem for decades. She asked when the regulations would be ready and would the DSD present them to the Committee before publishing them. The DSD needed to actively train social workers on the children’s amendment bill. That would impact the work of social workers positively but there was no target related to that in the APP.

She asked the DSD to give more information on the teenage parent programme and asked the DSD to submit a detailed plan on that programme to the Committee. She thanked the DSD for providing more information on the employment of social service professionals. However, that plan required billions of rands. She asked what if National Treasury did not fund that plan and if the DSD had looked at the capacity of other departments to absorb social workers. If National Treasury did provide the funds, would the DSD ring-fence those funds when transferred to the provinces? The provinces had used the money that had been transferred for social workers, on other competing priorities. The Minister had mentioned a plan of engaging big businesses to help absorb social workers; maybe that plan needed to be revisited or actioned.

She said there was a current crisis in the NGO sector and that issue had been raised in the past. She said there were plans in place in KwaZulu- Natal and Gauteng to cut funding towards NGOs. That would result in another Esidimeni. If funding was taken away from NGOs that provided a vital service on behalf of the state, that would be a crisis. She said NGOs look after victims of abuse, GBV victims, the elderly, and abandoned children, among others. What interventions would the DSD implement to address that issue? The role and responsibilities of NGOs could not be disregarded. Organisations closing their doors had been a crisis that deserved the attention of the Committee.

She said the DSD discussed many interventions such as teenage pregnancy, combating substance abuse and gangsterism. However, those goals and programmes remained black-and-white and were only talked off. The DSD never delved into what those programmes entailed and whether there was progress. She asked if those programmes had made a difference. The Committee knew that teenage pregnancy, drug abuse and gangsterism were increasing. The DSD needed to delve deeper into those programmes and outline its role in fighting gender-based violence. The Committee never got an indication of what the DSD was really doing to implement those programmes or targets. The DSD also needed to speak on the year-on-year progress it had made on gender-based violence. The Committee needed to know if real change was happening on the ground.

Ms J Manganye (ANC) asked if the DSD could elaborate on which districts would be capacitated on teenage parent programmes. Was the DSD collaborating with the Department of Health to achieve that target? Which departments had the DSD been working with, to achieve success with the substance abuse programme? She said the DSD needed to work with Departments such as Sports, Arts and Culture to achieve success. Better social cohesion and collaboration between departments that implemented similar programmes needed to be improved.

What was the status of government’s sexual and reproductive strategy? When would that be tabled to Cabinet?

Ms Marais said the Committee always listened to long inputs from the DSD, leaving the Committee Members with a short time to ask and engage with the DSD. She agreed that the DSD needed to present the progress of its programmes. The DSD needed to say how many drug houses and rehab centres had it built or given assistance to drug users. The DSD was not able to answer but was always able to present on those programmes. That was the same for disaster management. In the Free State, people still had not received assistance for the flooding that happened close to the mine.

She said there were no youth centres and young people were using more drugs because there was nothing for them to do. Unemployment was very high and there was nothing concrete coming out of the DSD’s programme. The DSD needed to inform the Committee in detail what its plan of action was for the next six months. A plan needed to be provided on what would be done per province or district. The DSD talked of programmes but there was no implementation. The EPWP programmes ran for six months, and the basic salary was only R1 600; youth had no further opportunities when the six months ended. That undermined the President’s goal that the minimum wage had to be R3500.

She said the living conditions in South Africa were at an all-time worse. There were more social ills because of drug abuse, unemployment, and all other problems. The DSD sang the same song when it came to employing more social workers; the problem of social workers persisted. Safe houses for GBV victims were dwindling and it had become hard for women to find safe houses and they had to go back to their abusers. There was no use listening to lengthy presentations when there was no action. There was no interaction between the departments, such as Education, Health, and Social Development, on issues like teenage pregnancy and it looked, like the Committee was just going in circles and discussing the same problems.

Ms A Hlongo (ANC) asked which districts had been identified to implement the Q management system. What were the actual timeframes for business processes to be switched from manual to automatic? Had the DSD implemented a strategy to ensure that vacancies were being filled? Had that strategy considered South Africa’s demographics and employment equity regulations? Which of the eight NDA programmes would be prioritised for marketing in the financial year and what was the strategic impact of the programme? What progress has been made on the “Economic Pathways out of Poverty” concept document?

Ms Arries said she would forward her questions to the secretary and, in turn, would forward them to the Department to respond in writing. She had poor internet connection and was unable to hear. She asked in the Zoom chat box- what plans the DSD had in place to protect the social workers getting attacked on the ground. Why were young girls still missing school due to menstruation? The issue was raised with the DSD before.


Mr Buthelezi responded that the status of the sexual and reproductive strategy had been submitted to Cabinet for discussions and was waiting for Cabinet to finalise the report. The DSD held consultations around the content of the strategy, and those were concluded. Those consultations took longer than expected, they were held in all nine provinces and there was an overwhelming interest from different stakeholders to participate.

Once Cabinet had finalised the report, the DSD would work on an implementation plan. The DSD would present, in detail, some of the interventions in the strategy once Cabinet had finalised the report. The DSD would also host workshops to educate social professionals on the strategy and what exactly needed to be done.

He said the DSD requested National Treasury to do an assessment on NPO and NGO funding. That was done to see the sector’s needs and what was available from the DSD. The review found that the DSD was underfunded by over R12 Billion and the NGO sector was underfunded by R9.2 billion. The DSD set up a plan to request more money from National Treasury. However, as the years went on, social ills grew and the gap between what was available and what needed to be done had grown significantly. When Mpumalanga and Limpopo reduced NGO funding, the DSD engaged those provinces to prioritise their budget and fund NGOs. The current issue in Gauteng and KwaZulu- Natal was being addressed by the Minister and the DSD was looking at several interventions. Gauteng and KwaZulu- Natal would reprioritise their budgets to continue funding for the NGOs. The problem of underfunding would persist, and those issues would continue to occur. That was a challenge and the DSD had to continuously engage with National Treasury, asking for more funding.

The appointment of more social workers was also linked to the DSD being underfunded and the DSD was working with National Treasury to put aside funding to hire more social workers. Treasury had not made funding available for the hiring of social service professionals. The DSD did have a strategy in place in case the funding did not become available. The DSD had a pre-approved sectoral plan in place with other Government departments to hire social workers and those engagements would start happening. If funding became available from National Treasury, the funding would be ring-fenced for only hiring social service professionals. There were ongoing discussions between big business and the DSD to support hiring social service professionals. Those discussions were happening at a Ministerial level. That was a government-wide strategy and discussions would soon be on a technical level.

The DSD had developed draft regulations on the Children’s Act and was awaiting the Minister to publish them for public comment. Once that had been concluded, the DSD and the Minister would move forward and finalise those regulations. The DSD would also engage the Committee on those regulations before they got published.

He said districts were not listed in the APP, but the DSD targeted quite a few of them. The DSD provided training and was in the process of capacitating all social service professionals who worked with children, on the Children’s Act.

He said substance abuse was an inter-sectoral matter and no single department would be able to cap the abuse of alcohol. That caused an interdependency with other departments, and it became a challenge when coordination did not work as expected. The DSD was conducting research with the Medical Research Council to understand how big the problem was. The research would also examine if government’s response was adequate and if enough resources were available.

The biggest problem in South Africa was alcohol abuse and drug abuse had been second. Alcohol was the number one drug of choice that was abused by young people. The DSD had engaged the Department of Trade and Industry, which was responsible for liquor regulations and licenses. The Department of Trade and Industry was currently busy drafting an alcohol use legislation and the DSD was in the process of providing input on that matter to amend the liquor act. Those amendments would aid the DSD in fighting the battle against alcohol abuse. 

Drug use had increased, and that was exacerbated by the increase in drug trafficking and the number of drugs coming into South Africa. The DSD could confirm that a high number of drugs were coming through the South African ports. The Department of Transport and the SAPS needed to focus on combating drug trafficking in South Africa. Prevention was key and the DSD had continuously raised those matters with the SAPS and the Department of Transport. The Department of Transport was not supporting that initiative and it was supposed to be a member of CDA which focused on reducing drug trafficking.

The DSD had a national strategic plan to combat GBV in communities. That document outlined what government’s priorities had to be. The strategy also outlined each department's role, and the DSD led on pillar four. The DSD provided legislation and trained social workers to ensure that it provided quality services to communities. The DSD had trained over 200 social workers on the new amendments and how to do the new risk assessment and the sexual offence amendments. The DSD had done a lot of work around capacity building.

He said SASSA had automated the SRD grant and would easily reach about 95% of its beneficiaries. There were some system challenges at the beginning of the year, but those had been solved and SASSA normally reached success on that target. The Postbank managed to get an extension on SASSA grant cards that would expire, and the Payment Association of South Africa extended the expiry date to 31 December 2023. The cards would continue to work at ATMS and shopping centres. SASSA had moved the payment dates backwards by one day. That was done because many people came forward to change their banking details when that crisis was unfolding. The Postbank had also initiated cardless payments that would be rolled out to many more beneficiaries.

SASSA would roll out the queue management system to 18 branches in the first phase and four more would be done in the Eastern Cape. More would be done in all nine provinces in the Country. When the SASSA CEO presented, she would address staffing at SASSA and the implications of the wage agreement that had been reached. Social workers were also being trained to redirect child grant beneficiaries to receive the top-up grant.

The DSD depended on the help of the SAPS and was in the process of doing a risk assessment to see how it could adequately respond to aid the social workers who were in danger of being attacked when visiting communities. The DSD looked at several models to implement without compromising the value of the services given to communities. The DSD deployed security personnel to different service points.

The Chairperson thanked the DSD for its presentation and input. She reserved her comments on the presentation.

Consideration and adoption of third term Committee programme

The Committee considered and adopted its programme for the following term.


Meeting Adjourned.




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