Department of Social Development 2022/23 Quarter 4 performance; with Minister

Social Development

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


The Department of Social Development (DSD) noted that while the 80% performance for Quarter 4 was a 4% decline, most of work reported as unachieved in Quarter 4 had already been achieved in the previous quarters.

After the DSD 2022/23 Quarter 4 performance report, concerns were raised by Committee members about Department vacancy rates, service delivery at social security offices, anti-gangsterism strategies, compliance support for NPOs, and linking Child Support Grant beneficiaries to services. The emotional temperature of the meeting was characterized by a sense of urgency and frustration, as members expressed their concerns over slow uptake of grants, delayed Bills, overspending on communications, and social issues like drug houses and teenage pregnancies. Overall, the meeting showcased a strong focus on addressing pressing socio-economic challenges and a desire for effective solutions.

Meeting report

The Chairperson acknowledged the conclusion of African month. She emphasized the importance of communicating with African residents and showing them the consequences of engaging in illegal activities such as drug trafficking. While she acknowledged that they do not dislike these individuals, she stated that certain behaviours are not aligned with her values. She expressed her gratitude for the successful post Budget Vote programme where the Minister held a dialogue with older persons and other residents of Langa. She praised the Department, Minister and Deputy Minister for their innovative and creative approaches to serving the community.

The Chairperson also wished everyone a happy Youth Month and encouraged parents and grandparents to educate their friends and family about its significance.

Minister’s input
Minister Lindiwe Zulu thanked everyone who attended the Langa event despite the cold weather. She emphasized the importance of addressing the challenges faced by elderly people in South Africa, particularly cases of abuse within their own homes by unscrupulous family members. She believed that existing programmes were inadequate and encouraged Members of Parliament to engage with the Older Persons Forum to understand the issues better. She highlighted the significance of preserving and sharing the history of places like Kwa-Langa, where people were once abandoned. She expressed disappointment that not more time was dedicated to capturing the stories of the elderly attendees. She appreciated the comments and concerns raised during the budget debate and acknowledged the need for deeper scrutiny of the Department of Social Development's performance. The Minister emphasized the importance of focusing not only on percentage achievements but also on the impact of the department's work. She mentioned ongoing efforts to improve areas where performance was lagging behind and welcomed constructive inputs from Members of Parliament. She concluded by referencing a book by Xi Jinping on poverty alleviation and encouraged collective action across political parties to uplift people out of poverty in South Africa.

DSD Quarter 4 Report January – March 2023
Mr Linton Mchunu, Acting Director General, DSD, noted that DSD achieved 80% for Quarter 1, 74% for Quarter 2, and 84% for Quarter 3. However, while the 80% performance for Quarter 4 is a 4% decline, most of work reported as unachieved in Quarter 4 had been already achieved in the previous quarters. This will be reflected better and in detail when we present our Annual Report.

The DSD presentation reported on the performance of each of the five programmes:
Programme 1: Administration
Programme 2: Social Assistance
Programme 3: Social Security Policy and Administration
Programme 4: Welfare Policy Development and Implementation Support
Programme 5: Social Policy and Integrated Service Delivery.

Mr Peter Netshipale, DSD Deputy Director General: Community Development, spoke NPO compliance.

Mr Fanie Esterhuizen, DSD Chief Financial Officer, provided a summary of Quarter 4 expenditure (see presentation).

Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) appealed for a change when dealing with Quarterly Reports. It was recommended during the DSD Budget Vote 2023/23 on 30 May 2023 that the Committee should be regularly updated on department vacancy rate and the time taken for consequence management and investigations as per the audit findings raised by the Auditor General. Could DSD engage with those issues to prevent these from rolling over, which may lead the Committee to deal with them only once the budget votes occur again.

Often these Quarterly Reports make mention of a number of Bills that are in the process of being finalized, however, they kept on being pushed over leading to little progress in the Bills presented. She drew attention to the concern about entity oversight and remembered Mr Thabani Buthelezi, DSD Acting Deputy Director General, reporting that they had been overseeing the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). However, the working relationship between SASSA and South African Post Office (SAPO) is beset with challenges such as closed offices broken telephones, no generators, lack of toilets and chairs, and poor queue management. Service delivery challenges are constantly highlighted at these offices and should become a focus point for DSD.

Ms van der Merwe asked what high-risk districts were focused on in this quarter for DSD’s anti-gangsterism strategy and interventions. Does DSD do an assessment of the impact or success after these interventions? Critical areas such as Westbury and the Cape Flats where there gangsterism impacts children should be the focus.

Ms van der Merwe noted concern that the presentation mentioned DSD successfully rolled-out a programme to curb teenage pregnancies when teenage pregnancy seemingly continues to rise. Also interventions such as HIV programmes and substance abuse centres seem to be absent or not visible in communities. The Committee perhaps should embark on an oversight visit to get first-hand experience of these interventions and reported on by DSD.

Another concern was child malnutrition. DSD provides food support for struggling communities, however, child malnutrition has been rising. Which communities have seen a rise in child malnutrition and will these communities become targeted for intervention?

Ms van der Merwe noted Mr Mchunu said that South Africa would like to lift itself out of grey listing within one year to combat money laundering. However, this means that the amendments to the Non-Profit Organisations Act would have to be finalised within the next year. She questioned the timeframes for this.

Ms B Masango (DA) congratulated the Ministry on the budget vote event. She requested that invitations to these important events be given in advance rather than within the same week of the event in order to be able to prioritize and attend it.

She requested if it is possible to have standing items such as updates on the audit findings of Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) included in DSD presentations. For example, audit action plan investigations are slow and should form part of the standing items until resolved. This makes oversight more manageable and avoids the Committee needing to ask parliamentary questions.

Ms Masango said that the CFO mentioned the slow uptake of the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant. She asked to be reminded of the reason for this slow uptake, in order to contextualise it for future reference. She stressed her concern about this slow uptake as she is not sure if it can be afforded, given the levels of unemployment that South Africa is currently dealing with.

She questioned the compliance of and asked if there are other programmes / capacities other than just training for NPOs. She is under the impression that the reason partnerships between government and NPOs exist is so that they can be compliant and receive assistance and support to do their work. Compliance can be an obstacle if there is no support provision so they can comply.

Ms Masango asked specifically what document DSD uses to identify malnutrition within communities. She recalled there being a document used a while back that identified areas, gave specific and accurate information on where to focus in terms of poverty alleviation within the country. This document was there to ensure that DSD programmes were targeting people that are in the worst food security areas.

Ms A Abrahams (DA) agreed with these concerns. She had requested the addresses of the Minster’s programme but had not yet received them. DSD speaks about the Alcohol Harm Reduction Fund and she asked if it is a monetary fund and what this is.

The presentation mentioned the Social Welfare Index and she queried when this would go live and start recording data so that departments such as Health and Education will be able to use this in future. On the linking of Child Support Grant beneficiaries to services, this issue is time-sensitive due to children being “lost” because of them aging out of the grant. She asked if there is an indication of an implementation date due to the time-sensitivity of the issue.

Ms Abrahams noted the Audit Report on the Disability Grant Medical Review Process and asked if the report corresponded with SASSA medical doctors and the assessment doctors and where the reports could be found. She was seeking the reports that have already been produced, not those still being drafted. If the reports are ready, could they be circulated to the Committee. She expressed her concern about SAPO closing and that the report on the Child Support Top Up Grant, which was requested a while back, had only recently been sent and received. She pleaded that the reports get sent to them when completed for the Committee to engage with them.

Ms Abrahams asked for clarity on the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and particularly where and how one applies for temporary EPWP work opportunities. It is “fantastic that people are actually getting employment”; however, how does the Department ensure that people know where they can sign-up or enlist for these work opportunities.

Ms Abrahams noted some expenditure reports differed from those that National Treasury provided. For example, the total declared savings is a completely different figure and for the R25.4 million expenditure for one programme, National Treasury indicates a different figure.

She questioned the reason that the Inspectorate for Social Assistance is in its seventh year, yet it has not yet been established. The presentation did not provide an explanation why the Sustainable Livelihood Framework has not yet been submitted to Cabinet – the Committee should be given an explanation as to what the delays are as this programme aims to address food insecurity. The cost of living, particularly food costs, has skyrocketed, leading to many children dying of malnutrition because families cannot afford food such as oil and potatoes.

Ms L Arries (EFF) expressed her condolences to the families in Mitchells Plain whose children lost their lives in a recent accident. Children should become an important safety focus. She was worried about the R97 billion ‘saved’ on the SRD Grants and noted the current challenge of a large number of individuals not receiving their R350 grant even though they completed their applications. This challenge, coupled with large number of appeals yet to be finalised, led her to question if a savings of R97 billion is actually true.

Another worrisome issue were the Bills not being finalised. What Bills would the Sixth Parliament pass? She finds it “very disturbing” that social workers are not available for training on the policy framework, which, in turn, creates a backlog within the foster care process. Reasons should be provided and provinces should account for this because there cannot be individuals who are not available for such crucial training.

Ms Arries referred to slide 11 of the presentation, which focused on the monitoring and evaluation system. She asked when this system has been piloted. It stated it was piloted in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and another province; however, there needs to be a report on the effectiveness of the pilot project. It is widely known that processing public policy and legislation takes time. However, she questioned if the Sixth Parliament would have sufficient time to pass the Older Persons Amendment Bill.

Ms P Marais (EFF) said that the presentation noted an over-expenditure of R25.4 million, mainly on communications. This over-expenditure was due to telecommunications for toll-free hotlines about grants as well as compensation of employees, R13.4 million higher than the available budget. Goods and services overspent its budget by R8 million. All grant applications are done through an online platform and she questioned what employees are being compensated for from that R13.4 million. Additionally, SASSA offices do not equate to the actual value of the offices. Most offices do not have enough space for people to queue therefore leading to many having to wait outside in the rain, yet DSD mentions overspending on offices. How is this problem going to be addressed?

Ms Marais raised her concern on the NPOs registering with the Department to get funding. Some of these NPOs have been waiting as long as 12 years due officials tell these NPOs that they cannot promise funding even though they fit the criteria and have done everything they needed to do. DSD is paying NPOs that have already been funded thus leading them to not have space for new ones. How does one apply for this funding when one has complied with all requirements?

Ms Marais said her deepest concern about rehab centres which is “very close to her heart”. Within her street there are two “drug houses” and the next street has six “drug houses” which attract children as young as eight. These children – boys and girls alike, are seen in the morning buying dagga and drugs in groups before going to school. This is alarming. These drugs have taken a mental toll on children leading them to “madness” such as talking to themselves and being dirty due to being unable to look after themselves. Ultimately, over time SASSA would have to support these individuals through disability grants.

Teenage pregnancy is a huge problem. She asked what interventions are in place. Are there interventions which include visiting schools to educate girls and boys on sex? HIV is more prevalent in younger age groups. She spoke about young people having multiple partners and kids, as well as the sharing of sexual content on social media. What is DSD doing to attend to this as an increase in these challenges leads to SASSA having to pay for this through grants. They have stopped educating people through television programmes about condom use and safe sex. It was important for DSD to be proactive so that it does not suffer the consequences afterwards.

Ms Marais noted people were sent messages stating they had been successfully registered for the R350 grant but when collecting the money, they were notified there was “no money”. The R350 grant was discussed by the Committee week after week, with nothing being done to solve this. She shares similar sentiments as her colleagues which is that the DSD is the biggest department, and everything falls under the DSD. She knows DSD is trying its “level best” but she feels they need to do something “more constructive” in solving this. The country has become dependent on social grants and attention needs to be brought to solve this through the creation of job opportunities. Currently, the EPWP and the Community Work Programme (CPW) create job opportunities for people; however, she believes that these programmes are undermining unions. President Ramaphosa made it clear that the minimum wage is R3500, whereas people in the EPWP are getting around R800 to R1200 and in some cases, these individuals do not get any money for periods of three to four months. What is DSD saying about this?

Response by DSD
Mr Mchunu said that all the AGSA findings for the previous financial year have been closed and resolved. The challenge DSD had was in the manner in which they had put processes in place to address some of the findings. For example, when matters have gone to the Loss Control Committee, they would have to be investigated and that there is a timeline attached to that. Some of these items are not very stringent in terms of timeframes and it is an issue they have to look at.

CFO Mr Esterhuizen explained the reason for the difference between National Treasury and DSD figures. The difference is in the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) Section 32 Report that National Treasury publishes on a monthly basis. National Treasury does not include DSD final figures as adjusted by the accounting officer, as it is able to shift funding between the various programmes to ensure that there is no over-expenditure within the main programmes. The accounting officer had approval granted that DSD could shift money from some line functions to Programme One – which was an amount of R26 million – therefore leading to a shift in the final numbers in the various programmes. A copy was given to National Treasury, and it will update and publish the Section 32 Report for the prior financial year, including the approved shifts and indicating that all programmes are within the allowed expenditure percentage.

Mr Esterhuizen explained about the declared savings of R9.7 billion. DSD started a process in August 2022, where National Treasury assessed the estimated numbers DSD paid the SRD grant, which are numbers it receives on a monthly basis. DSD made provision for a R44 billion allocation for the prior financial year to cater for 11 million beneficiaries per month. However, since April 2022, DSD has had a slow uptake of 5 million beneficiaries per month which thereafter picked up to about 7.5 million beneficiaries per month. National Treasury told DSD that the funds cannot be used for other purposes. DSD attempted to explain that the country is in poverty, and that they require the reallocation of these funds. National Treasury refused the request and stated that the fiscus is constrained and they will need to reallocate this money to other departments. In September 2022, DSD adjusted estimates for SRD which was reduced by R6 billion. Similarly, in the third quarter, National Treasury once again determined that beneficiary payments were not up to par and an additional R3.7 billion was taken due to fiscus constraints. DSD attempted to appeal this reallocation by stating it required the money to fund other DSD programmes. However, the request was again declined. In the end, the amount given back to fiscus was R9.7 billion. This was something that DSD did not have control over.

Mr Esterhuizen noted that AGSA had 51 audit findings for 2021/22 and by March 2023 DSD had managed to clear all those findings. On material irregularities – six cases were referred as a possible fault. A forensic investigator was appointed to look at the six cases with an initial end date for April 2023. However, due to constraints such as gathering the supporting evidence, a new end date for 30 June 2023 was set. The report which DSD will get from the forensic investigator will determine if DSD will follow a criminal case route to have South African Police Service (SAPS) conduct further investigation or if the labour route of disciplinary hearings will be followed. At the next Committee meeting DSD will provide feedback on what was found by the forensic investigators.

On child malnutrition, Mr Netshipale said that South Africa is seeing an increase in diseases such as kwashiorkor and marasmus. DSD works alongside the Department of Health to measure the number of children that come to the clinic using a system called the District Health Information System. The measurement used indicates if children are malnourished or severely malnourished. In the case of a child being severely malnourished, it will be noted and reported. Each District has a committee that includes DSD and other departments, with DSD being included to provide access to normal food and not therapeutic food. DSD had data which was obtained through a collaboration with the Department of Health, indicating areas such as KZN, Eastern Cape and North West have a large number of requests for DSD to provide food. Currently, DSD is trying to construct a database of those areas where there is a need. DSD has identified that as the economy of the country declines, hunger among families becomes more prevalent. DSD has assessed how many Community Nutrition Development Centres (CNDC) the country still needs and believes that it is possible to get more whilst collaborating with other stakeholders to provide food parcels and cooked meals in different areas.

Mr Netshipale responded that DSD is obligated to cater for the General Laws (Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing) Amendment (GLAA) Act, therefore the regulation will be implemented as it is. DSD has a major role to play in the action plan on the grey listing of the country. This major role includes developing an anti-terrorism and anti-laundering NPO risk assessment – which is an assessment that will identify which NPOs are at risk to be utilised in this manner. Second, supervising all the NPOs identified as risks and together with SAPS formulating an approach on how to supervise these NPOs.

Mr Netshipale agreed that there is a challenge in NPO compliance. Over the past three years, DSD has collaborated with stakeholders to launch a programme called “Know Your NPO Status” where departmental officials go to districts, particularly those where they have noticed a large number of NPOs not complying based on database. The NPO database indicated that 85 000 NPOs are situated in Gauteng followed by KZN and the Western Cape. This campaign is aimed at promoting awareness on submitting reports and NPOs will be asked to submit their reports on the spot. Additionally, DSD uses its entity National Development Agency (NDA) to assist with capacity, with the NDA selecting an NPO that is funded to provide the capacity – he supposes that last year 3 000 NPOs were trained. DSD has a joint relationship with an institution called South African Institute for Business Accountants (SAIBA), which trains NPOs on financial compliance and how to compile financial reports. Roadshows is another campaign that was embarked upon. It is stated in the NPO Act in Section 5(a) that DSD is required to provide capacity to NPO both before and after they register. A programme currently being developed, called the “mentorship programme”, aims to identifying bigger NPOs that are capable of mentoring 10-20 other NPOs in their district. He expressed his hopefulness in the implementation of this programme to help DSD reach more NPOs throughout the country.

On NPO registration for funding, Mr Netshipale replied that DSD is a regulator. Hence they provide and give legal status to community-based organizations. Funding is something which DSD has no control over, and they only provide the licence and certificate stating that the NPO is competent. As explained before by the Acting DG, DSD is underfunded and does not have enough funding for all NPOs. However, whenever DSD gets an increase in its funding, it will increase the funding of NPOs in the different provinces.

Mr Netshipale said that the Sustainable Livelihood Framework is a tool that Community Development Practitioners (CDP) use to empower the community. The old tool of 2013 was revised because it needed to include the new approaches to developing communities. The implementation of the revised tool took longer than expected due to DSD’s own making and therefore they could not do it in time. He apologised for this and stated that it was during COVID-19 times that this was done and that slowed down the process. However, it has been finalized and DSD is awaiting final comments from National Treasury before sending it to Cabinet for this financial year.

Mr Netshipale replied about the policy of linking children to government services. Part of what DSD does includes linking those who are beneficiaries to grants so that these individuals can become sustainable themselves. Coupled with the new ideas on social entrepreneurship, DSD has developed a new framework to cover about 2% of the social protection beneficiaries that they need to link, and this is being done in partnership with other stakeholders.

Mr Buthelezi replied that the EPWP stipend is regulated by Minister of Labour and Employment which follows the rules laid out in the National Minimum Wage (NWM) Act. Currently, EPWP pays at a rate of [R13.97 per hour] which is the minimum. There are some projects that are well funded and pay above that, therefore leading to differences in payments between projects. EPWP is considered to be a last resort employment opportunity to increase job opportunities and reduce unemployment and therefore is strategically implemented to not displace permanent jobs.

Mr Buthelezi explained that DSD made a commitment in the previous financial year to develop the Social Welfare Index. There has been quite a number of composite indicators that already exist such as the United Nations Human Development Index and the Gender Development Index. Currently, DSD has concluded a report which is a concept document for the development of the tool. The concept document does two things. First, it assists DSD on academic and policy perspectives, with a particular focus on how these indices or composite indicators are constructed. Second, it assists DSD in detailing proposals for South Africa by providing options which DSD would like or want to take.

Mr Buthelezi said that the State of the People report has been finalized and was first drafted in the previous financial year. It has been used to develop the Annual Performance Plan because it provides an important section for the plan which is the situational analysis. It covers a number of aspects about what is happening to poorer people who are the sole beneficiaries of grants and depend on these much-needed services the state provides. The only disappointment DSD had was being unable to include in the report the 2022 Census data which has not yet been published.

Mr Buthelezi said that the monitoring and evaluation system has been a three-year project which included determining the scope and developing the pilot of the system. The pilot project in areas such as KZN, Northwest, Gauteng and Eastern Cape assisted DSD to revise and review some areas of the system. He is excited about the system and the project received an overwhelmingly positive response from provinces and districts. The system is focused on collecting data from a service delivery point of view and particularly seeking to collect data from NPO and non-governmental organisations. A major advantage of the system was it is easily customisable and flexible to fit the needs of provinces, allowing provinces to fulfil their own functions. The potential and need for the system was reiterated. DSD department heads are meeting the following week to discuss and present the pilot reports, the lessons and options obtained throughout the pilot project.

Ms Siza Magangoe, DSD Chief Director: Families and Social Crime Prevention, explained that the target of the anti-gangsterism strategy is an expected deliverable needed by various departments and therefore this target does not overshadow the responsibility of SAPS, but rather works at a much lower level. As departments are expected to develop their own strategy, these strategies are made within the lines of the DSD mandate, which is focusing on schools that are struggling with gangsterism, as well as underperforming schools which have shown a high prevalence of gangsterism. DSD and the Department of Education are working together to pinpoint schools which have not been performing due to gangsterism and substance abuse. For the last quarter, DSD has targeted three districts: Capricorn in Polokwane, Vhembe in Biba and Gert Sibande in Secunda. The performance throughout 2022/23 indicated that DSD has managed to reach all its annual targets as planned for the year, which was a total of nine districts. For monitoring and evaluation, the Department of Education becomes the sole entity responsible for monitoring of the plan. Thus reports will be obtained from the Department of Education once training and placement have been implemented.

On rehabilitation treatment centres, Ms Magangoe highlighted that DSD has 13 treatment centres in the country with each province having at least one. These are besides the ones handled by NGOs which are being subsidized by government. DSD has done a lot of work to better the treatment centres, which included providing a standardised treatment programme; capacitating social workers providing treatment programmes that have been proved to work based on evidence-based studies, and introducing programmes which reduce relapse. More than 300 social workers have been trained to do assessments and facilitate programmes at treatment centres that are of quality service to promote and ensure that DSD is building a capable state. Additionally, the training provided to social workers is an internationally accredited programme called the Universal Treatment Curriculum (UTC) for Substance Use Disorders based on the Colombo Plan.

Ms Magangoe explained that the purpose of the Alcohol Harm Reduction Fund is to support the policy through a strategy of fundraising to deal with substance abuse. DSD has consulted both public and private sectors and it was identified that DSD does not have a mechanism or tool to increase funding to fight against substance abuse. Further input was provided by the public and private sectors on the strategy and the policy which has been finalized for sending to Cabinet.

Mr Mchunu explained the DSD oversight measures. The current DGs have similar regular engagements as the Ministers through the establishment of a Technical Committee. The purpose of this committee engagement is to allow DGs and Ministers to address certain challenges such as the current one on the South African Post Bank. These engagements have happened with the Department of Communications together with its agencies, such as the Post Bank, to address challenges that DSD is currently experiencing. There have been numerous occasions where DSD has had serious challenges with efficiency; however, this was not a matter for SASSA to deal with but rather for the Department of Communications and Post Bank to deal with. Currently, it has been difficult to meet and engage with these entities. However, the Minister has escalated the matter and spoke directly to the relevant Minister on this issue.

Mr Mchunu noted the SASSA challenges such as call centre issues, long queues, service delivery issues, as well as the state of offices. SASSA and DSD have clear plans for actions to address some of these areas. As part of the presentation on the SASSA Quarterly Report, there would be an indication of what has been put in place to address the challenges raised by the Committee.

On the late submission of invitations to engagements, one thing that DSD was not doing well was sharing information to the Committee such as reports. He mentioned to the DDGs on a monthly basis to provide this critical information or which has been requested by the Committee.

Mr Mchunu tackled the concern about the NPO Act. That Act was amended as part of the General Laws (Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing) Amendment Act which was signed by the President in December 2022. This one Act addressed all five Acts that required amending. The General Laws Amendment Act process for NPOs had been completed. For the Sixth Term, the Fundraising Amendment Bill was underway and the Older Person’s Amendment Bill was hoped to be concluded within the current financial year.

Mr Mchunu agreed that DSD will commit to shifting future presentations to include audit action plan progress and consequence management. This shift will be implemented across all the agencies.

Mr Mchunu expressed his deepest condolences to the families of Mitchells Plain who lost their children in the accident. He would contact the Western Cape DSD HOD to ensure that DSD provides whatever support it can. We are in Child Protection Week and DSD and Committee members should highlight the message that the responsibility for the care and protection of children is not that of DSD or Government alone, it is also the responsibility of the communities and all sectors of society but most importantly the family unit.

Mr Mchunu clarified the SRD grant underspending because even in the media the approach taken was slightly negative. They implemented the COVID-19 grant in 2020 and DSD had to implement these grants widely given the circumstances at the time. However, post-COVID, DSD wanted to continue with this grant but in a way that is fiscally sustainable and responsible over the long term. This required DSD to tighten the qualification criteria to those who are the most vulnerable but also this tightening of qualification criteria was an instruction given to DSD.

On where people could apply or register to access EPWP opportunities, Mr Buthelezi replied that the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) becomes responsible for all the recruits, and would advertise these opportunities as well. The application form could be accessed online and in some municipality offices as they work more closely with municipalities.

Mr Mchunu suggested that MPs engage more with provinces and districts to direct people to specific areas. DSD can certainly assist in helping to propose certain areas where people can get access to the applications for the EPWP programme.

Ms J Maganye (ANC) said some NGOs not registering in her area, Moretele in the North West, as they have offices that have become dilapidated and workers have started working from home. This has led to many people not being able to reach these services. She asked if DSD could provide a temporary fix for this. Her province has dropped drastically in terms of service delivery and suggested that DSD call the provincial senior managers as she does not have access to the progress reports. Currently there is a decline in morale as workers are not doing what they used to do. The drop in performance should be checked to allow everyone to benefit from government services. Results will not be achieved if the staff in these facilities are demoralised.

The Chairperson agreed and stated that DSD should motivate staff through workshops like they have done before. The concern was the shortage of staff, also leading to staff becoming depressed. DSD should assist provinces in trying to pick up the work they are supposed to do. She witnessed and was surprised about the campaign of Know your NPO Status as it was reported to her constituency office and this will be rolled out in most districts.

The Chairperson noted that she was reasonably impressed by the progress being made by DSD but was also saddened by those areas which lack progress. DSD had promised that they would move in terms of service delivery as this is the “last lap” of the Sixth Term. On the Older Person’s Amendment Bill, she shared the information she gathered from the Chair of Chairs on completing this Bill in the Sixth Parliament. He said that DSD should rather prioritize areas most in need and pilot the proposed amendments in those areas.

Ms Marais raised a concern about the visit to Limpopo the previous weekend for a public hearing on the Older Person’s Amendment Bill. Were people informed about this? She expressed her concern about the event not being formalized enough and people not knowing about the public hearing. They are required to inform their constituency about the public hearing. This had been confirmed on 24 May 2023 but they got confirmation of the venue only on 30 May 2023.

The Chairperson replied this will be dealt with at the end of the meeting during adoption of minutes.

The Chairperson mentioned that any questions that have not been satisfactorily answered can be sent to the Secretary to dispatch the questions to DSD. She thanked DSD for their presentation and excused DSD.

Mr Mchunu said that he had taken note of the concerns raised by Ms Maganye and he will ensure to converse with her offline about the challenges raised so that they can find a way to address some of the challenges with immediate effect.

The Committee minutes dated 5, 10, 17 and 24 May 2023 were considered and adopted.

The meeting adjourned.

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