Older Persons A/B: adoption; Committee Legacy Report; Committee Report on DSD Quarterly Performance

Social Development

27 March 2024
Chairperson: Ms N Mvana (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


The Deputy Minister acknowledged the Committee's efforts in finalising the Older Persons Bill and highlighted insights from the Active Aging Programme in Mpumalanga, which aligned with the proposed amendments in the Older Persons Bill.

The Committee approved its proposed amendments to the Older Persons Amendment Bill. The Parliamentary Legal Adviser guided the Committee through the clause-by-clause consideration of the B version of the Bill with its amendments incorporated that ensured alignment with stakeholders' feedback and legislative objectives. The B-List amendments addressed various definitions and transitional provisions, ultimately leading to the adoption of the Bill and related reports.

The Committee further deliberated on its legacy report for the 2019-2024 period, highlighting its response to emerging social challenges amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Areas of focus included employment creation, child protection, and NPO support. Challenges such as SASSA office queues, child abuse, and grant misuse were addressed, emphasising the need for proactive intervention and legislative alignment.

Ms Khanye, Committee Content Advisor presented quarterly performance and expenditure reports for 2023/24, covering first, second, third, and fourth quarters. Deliberations revealed concerns over delayed policy implementation, grant uptake issues, and program expenditure discrepancies. The Committee sought clarification on NPO compliance, grant payment delays, and the alignment of funding models with core mandates.

The meeting concluded with the adoption of meeting minutes and a farewell exchange among Committee members, acknowledging their collective contributions.

Meeting report

Deputy Minister of Social Development opening remarks
Deputy Minister Henrietta Bogopane-Zulu shared insights from the successful Active Aging Programme recently held in Mpumalanga. She highlighted the resonance between the aspirations and concerns voiced by older persons during this programme and the amendments proposed in the Older Persons Amendment Bill.

The Deputy Minister commended the Committee for its dedication and hard work in advancing the Older Persons Bill, emphasising the importance of integrating the voices and needs of older persons into legislative processes. She conveyed gratitude from the older persons for the comprehensive provincial hearings conducted by the Committee, expressing their anticipation for the Bill's adoption before Parliament's dissolution.

The Deputy Minister thanked the Committee for its commitment and stressed the significance of its efforts in addressing the needs of older persons.

Older Persons Amendment Bill: consideration and adoption of B-Bill

Ms Sueanne Isaac, Parliamentary Legal Adviser, guided the Committee through the B-List which incorporated the Committee proposed amendments (A-List) into the Older Persons Amendment Bill. She drew attention to issues that arose in the A-List such as:

Clause 1:

(b) The substitution for the definition of “care” of the following definition: "'care' means physical, psychological, social, or material assistance to an older person, and includes services aimed at promoting [the] and maintaining the comfort, quality of life and general well-being of an older person;".

(c) by the substitution for the definition of “caregiver" of the following definition:

"caregiver' means-

(a) a family member who provides family care; or

(b) any other person who provides care and support services at a community-based care facility, residential facility or similar facility and who possesses a qualification accredited in terms of the National Qualifications Framework, appropriate for the care of older persons;".

(e) “family care' means the provision of support and assistance by family members to an older person including one who is frail or living with disabilities;"

(j) by the insertion after the definition of "prescribed" of the following definition:

"'private residential facility' means a residential facility that is not owned by the state and that is registered in terms of any applicable law;”

(m) "special care' means customised care and support tailored to meet the unique needs and challenges faced by the older person"

"substance' means a substance as defined in section 1 of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act, 2008 (Act No. 70 of 2008)"

Clause 22: Transitional provision
Any person operating a community-based care and support service, home-based care or residential facility as a sole proprietor immediately before this Act took effect, must within 12 months from the date on which this Act took effect, convert the sole proprietorship to a juristic person.

The Committee adopted these clauses.

The Committee was taken through clauses 1 to 22 of the B-Bill. Each clause was adopted.

Ms Isaac then read the Short title and commencement:

Clause 23:
(1) This Act shall be known as the Older Persons Amendment Act, 2022, and shall come into operation on a date determined by the President by Proclamation published in the Gazette.

(2) The President may, by Proclamation published in the Gazette, determine different dates for the commencement of different provisions of this Act.

Clause 23 was adopted.

Ms Lindiwe Ntsabo, Committee Secretary, read the Long Title of the Bill.

The Long Title was adopted.

The entire B-Bill was presented to the Committee and it was adopted.

Committee Report on Older Persons Amendment Bill [B11B-2022]
Ms Ntsabo presented the Committee Report. It noted that the Older Persons Act No 13 of 2006 had faced implementation challenges. The Older Persons Amendment Bill seeks to address these by introducing new definitions, monitoring mechanisms and compliance measures. Its drafting involved extensive consultations with stakeholders and the public.The Bill was tabled in Parliament on 6 May 2022 and underwent briefings, public hearings, and consultations with certain departments. Hearings were conducted in the provinces to gather public input. The Committee received briefings from departments addressing public concerns. On 13 March 2024 the Committee adopted a motion to proceed with detailed deliberations. On 20 March 2024, it deliberated clause by clause and adopted the proposed Committee amendments. On 27 March 2024, the B version of the Bill was adopted, along with the Committee Report. The Committee recommends the adoption of Older Person’s Amendment Bill [B11B - 2022].

The Committee adopted the report.

Committee Legacy Report (2019 – 2024)
Ms Yolisa Khanye, Committee Content Advisor, presented the Legacy Report This report outlines the Committee's achievements, challenges, and recommendations for future work, reflecting its commitment to addressing critical social development issues.

The Committee adjusted its programme due to the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on interventions for food security, gender-based violence, and the Social Relief of Distress Grant. Travel restrictions impacted oversight visits. The Committee processed five pieces of legislation, engaging in extensive public participation for two Bills.

The Committee focused on employment creation, child protection, NPO support, and information dissemination. It addressed concerns about the shortage of social workers, child-targeted violence, and delayed funding for NPOs. Accessibility and responsiveness of the Department of Social Development and South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) offices were also highlighted.

Future oversight should focus on Social and Behaviour Change programmes and finalising the Femicide Watch Dashboard. Challenges include the role of the social development portfolio in responding to natural disasters and social grant payments. The Committee proposed coordinated joint oversight with relevant portfolio committees and to invite DSD MECs to account for their provincial department performance. The Committee emphasised the need for a focused oversight programme and oversight over legislation implementation. The Committee recommended processing the deferred clauses of the Children's Amendment Bill and addressing the Gauteng High Court judgment on Section 40 of the Children's Act.

Committee Annual Report 2023/24
Ms Khanye and Ms Ntsabo provided an overview of the activities of the Portfolio Committee with key focus areas of employment creation, services for persons with disabilities, food security, gender-based violence, child protection, substance abuse, and non-profit organisation (NPO) support.

In March 2023, the Committee held a workshop to receive a progress report on the Social Development portfolio's achievement of the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) targets. This workshop identified focus areas for the year, including the need for coordinated joint oversight among relevant portfolio committees to enhance service delivery.

Throughout 2023, the Committee conducted meetings including on employment of social workers, services for persons with disabilities, and child-targeted violence and protection services. These meetings involved engagements with relevant government departments to address challenges and assess program effectiveness.

In addition to oversight activities, the Committee scrutinised the financial and non-financial performance of the Department of Social Development through quarterly reports on its annual performance plan. It conducted public hearings on the Older Persons Amendment Bill and considering a Private Member's Bill on amending the Children's Act. Overall, the Committee fulfilled its mandate by engaging in robust oversight and progressing with legislative processes.

Ms A Abrahams (DA) raised several points on key challenges emerging from the Committee's work, particularly about SASSA and other concerns discussed during public hearings on the Children's Amendment Bill and the Older Persons Bill.

Firstly, she highlighted the persistent long queues at SASSA offices and the plight of grant recipients sleeping outside SASSA offices. These challenges were consistently raised by Committee members throughout the Sixth Term and should be explicitly mentioned in the Legacy Report.

Secondly, Ms Abrahams emphasised the need to include the escalating abuse and neglect of children under the list of key challenges emerging. This was urgent given the widespread reports of children going missing, being sold, and experiencing various forms of abuse.

Thirdly, the abuse of the Child Support Grant was frequently discussed during public hearings on both Bills. This included instances where the grant was misused by caregivers or family members, depriving children of essential support. Similarly, older persons faced exploitation by their family members when accessing their grant often resulting in them not receiving the assistance they desperately needed.

Ms Abrahams urged the Committee to include these matters in the Legacy Report as important issues that require attention and action.

Ms Khanye thanked Ms Abrahams for her valuable input. She would incorporate the suggestions into the Legacy Report. The long queues will be included under challenges on the payment of social grants. Child-targeted violence and abuse will be included in the section discussing increasing social ills. The abuse of child support grants and older person grants would also form part of the Legacy Report.

The Committee adopted the Legacy Report and Annual Report.

Committee Report on DSD Quarter 4 Performance Report 2023/24
Ms Khanye provided an overview of the Fourth Quarter Performance and Expenditure Report for 2023/24 of the Department of Social Development (DSD).

During deliberations, the Committee had expressed concern over the slow progress in finalising Bills, particularly the Non-Profit Organisation Bill. It also discussed challenges such as overcrowding at SASSA offices, lack of queue management, and the impact of load shedding on service delivery.

On social ills, the Committee emphasised the need for impact analysis of the Anti-Gangsterism Strategy and raised concerns about substance abuse, gangsterism, and teenage pregnancy.

Questions had been raised about child malnutrition assessments, the slow uptake of the Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD), and NPO compliance. The Department explained that budget allocations were based on estimates and that stringent regulations reduced the number of SRD beneficiaries.

Efforts to assist NPO compliance included capacity-building campaigns and collaboration with organisations like the National Development Agency and the South African Institute for Business. DSD had also developed a model for larger NPOs to support smaller ones.

The Committee had sought clarity on the Alcohol Harm Reduction Fund, which was developed as part of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Use Disorders Policy to address fundraising for substance abuse prevention and treatment.

The Chairperson invited Committee members to adopt the report and this was done.

Committee Report on DSD Quarter 1 Performance for 2023/24
Ms Khanye presented the DSD performance and noted that during deliberations, the Committee had inquired about the resolution of the toll-free number for SASSA, which was confirmed to be finalised in March 2023.

Questions had been raised on the non-capture of social grants for June 2023 and the significant increase (7.7%) in the Compensation of Employees costs. DSD had clarified that the increase was due to the government-wide wage increase agreement, and no vacancies had been filled in the current financial year.

The Committee had expressed concerns about the increasing levels of substance abuse among youth and urged for the expansion of the anti-gangsterism strategy. DSD explained that it needed to implement the strategy for several years before reviewing its impact.

On the draft Victim Support Services Bill and South African Social Security Agency Amendment Bill, the Committee sought reasons for the delay in approval by the Cabinet. DSD indicated that the bills were in various stages of preparation and review.

Concerns had been raised about the non-alignment of NDA funding with its core mandate, the tracking of child-headed households, and NPO non-compliance. The Department outlined its monitoring mechanisms and strategies to address these issues.

The Committee had sought clarity on the spending shortfall in Programme 2 which DSD explained was due to the finalisation of budget allocations only after the APP was finalised.

The Chairperson invited Committee members to adopt the report and this was done.

Committee Report on DSD Quarter 2 and 3 Performance for 2023/24
Ms Khanye presented the Committee's deliberations and observations on the Department of Social Development Second and Third Quarter Performance for 2023/24.

The Committee expressed concerns about the prolonged status of the drafting of the comprehensive social security policy, emphasising the importance of this policy for vulnerable members of society. They sought clarity on the progress and implementation timelines for this.

The Committee requested detailed reports on the R400 million shifted to Compensation of Employees and the reasons for removing reference to the National Development Agency (NDA) turnaround strategy in the NDA Amendment Bill.

Concern on the slow uptake of grants such as the Child Support Grant (CSG), Old Age Grant (OAG), and Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant had been highlighted. The Committee sought explanation for the delays in grant payments and inquired about the budget allocation for the SRD Grant increase announced by the Minister of Finance.

Concerns had been raised about the low expenditure on core programmes, particularly Programme 4, and the Committee questioned why the Anti-Gangsterism strategy was not rolled out in the Western Cape despite high levels of gangsterism.

The Committee had suggested conducting HIV/AIDS training and awareness programmes in primary schools to address the high rate of teenage pregnancy. The Department had acknowledged the proposal and outlined existing social behaviour programmes implemented in partnership with other departments.

The Chairperson invited Committee members to adopt the report and this was done.

The Committee considered and adopted the meeting minutes of 12, 13 and 20 March 2024.

The Chairperson extended farewell wishes to all Committee members, and members reciprocated by commending each other for their contributions during the term. Subsequently, the Chairperson adjourned the meeting.


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