A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
28 March 2001
KWAZULU NATAL AND EASTERN CAPE WELFARE BUDGETS: BRIEFING
KZN Social Welfare Presentation (see Appendix 1)
KZN Department of Welfare Budget
Eastern Cape Presentation (see Appendix 2)
Eastern Cape Department of Welfare Budget
KZN Budget Speech
Extract from Annual Report 2000 of KZN Department of Welfare (see Appendix 3)
The KwaZulu-Natal Social Welfare Department informed the Committee for their re-registration process, all grant beneficiaries had to have their eligibility reviewed. Members expressed concern about the 17 000 people who did not respond and had their benefits suspended as a result. The Committee however commended the Department for their diligence and thoroughness in informing people in the rural areas about this process.
The Committee expressed their empathy and support to the Welfare Department of the Eastern Cape regarding the enormity of their infrastructure problems. The Department intends to separate the functions of administering and paying grants by outsourcing the latter task to private companies. Members cautioned the Department against being too hasty and suggested that the Department examines the problems that the other provinces have experienced with this approach.
Presentation by the MEC of KwaZulu-Natal
The MEC, Prince G Zulu, said that government as a whole is faced with having to balance increasing needs with limited resources. His department has ensured that those who had been privileged continued to receive services and that those who have been marginalised were given access to these services.
Prince Zulu referred to the table dealing with the expenditure for 1999/2000 and said that the Department had spent 90% of their budgetary allocation by the end of February 2000. By the end of the financial year, they had exceeded their budget by R9m.
He then referred to a table dealing with the breakdown of expenditure per item for the period 2000/2001. The figures indicate that within eleven months, the Department would have spent 88% of their allocated budget (in the previous financial year it was 90%). There would be a saving of R19m for this period.
Their programmes are: Social Security, Social Assistance, Social Welfare Services, Social Development, Population Development, Administration and Auxiliary and Associated Services. The Department has underspent with regard to Population Development as they have only spent 29% of their budget.
The MEC then proceeded to read the document, which focuses on (a) Social Security, (b) Social Services/Welfare and (c) Social Development.
Mr M Masutha(ANC) said that in the past funds have been made available in terms of the poverty alleviation programme but the Department had lacked the capacity to use these resources. He asked if the Department had done anything about this and if the Department was still experiencing problems in this regard.
Mr Khumalo of the Department stated that the funds for the poverty alleviation programme were not included in the budget. In KZN the Independent Development Trust (IDT) is the dispensing agent. He said that the Department does have the capacity to use such resources. The problem is that funds have to be made available up front to communities and there are often delays.
Ms S Rajbally (Minority Front) expressed concern about the saving of R19m. She asked if it was possible to use this saving to alleviate poverty.
Mr Masutha suggested that there was a lack of capacity delaying the utilisation of resources at the level of the community projects. He said that the communities were experiencing the need but lacked the experience to run the projects as they did not even know where to start.
Mr Khumalo reiterated that the IDT is the dispensing agent as the funds for poverty alleviation were not included in the budget. The IDT is efficient in enabling funds to flow to the projects. He however agreed that the persons on the ground should be empowered. In this regard the Department had thought that community organisations could assist. These organisations have not been capable of running the projects at the rate expected by the Department. As a solution the Department has decided to use universities and technikons to assist with the financial management.
The Chair asked how much of the national poverty alleviation funds has the province received for the purposes of poverty alleviation.
The Department official said that this figure was dependent on the business plans received from the communities. KZN always gets the largest slice. For example, this year approximately R19m has been made available to the province.
Mr Masutha referred to the suspensions that had occurred in the Department as a result of fraud.
He asked for more detail on these.
Mr Khumalo referred to savings resulting from action taken by the Department in their attempts to alleviate fraud. Firstly officials who were found guilty of fraud were suspended. They had been dealt with both criminally and internally. Secondly, a huge saving resulted from the re-registration process.
Ms Rajbally wanted to know how far the Department is with the re-registration process.
Mr Khumalo said in terms of this process all pensions were reviewed in order to determine who no longer qualified for grants. For example, if a person was deceased and therefore no longer should claim pension. This was because many people did not report the death of a person and continued to claim pension on behalf of the deceased. Thus, in terms of the re-registration process all grants were suspended if the person did not re-register in person by the end of June last year. Approximately 38 000 grants had been suspended and of this, only 17 000 remained unreviewed.
The Chair asked what happened to people who were unable to be reviewed for whatever reason.
Ms Dunkerley, a provincial official, said that the review process had started in October 1998. Recipients of grants had had many opportunities to be reviewed. There had been an extensive advertising campaign in different communities and it was therefore impossible that anyone was ignorant of the process. The re-registration process had taken place over eighteen months. It had been a mobile process in terms of which the Department would often go to the communities. Thus, if a person were in an institution or ill, the Department would visit them.
The Chair asked if the visits extended all over the province.
Ms Dunkerley answered in the affirmative, saying that everyone had been given a chance. At the end of last year there were still 17 000 people who had not responded and whose payment had to be suspended. In the review process, more than 3000 people had been excluded, as they did not qualify in terms of the means test. Approximately 3600 were deceased. Approximately 14 000 did not qualify for their disability grants after being reviewed.
In reply to the Chair’s asking if the review process applied to all grants, Ms Dunkerley said that it did.
Ms Jacobus (Chair of the NCOP) asked until when these persons’ benefits would be suspended as one could not suspend the benefits of 17 000 people indefinitely.
Ms Dunkerley said that a person could apply for their benefits to be reinstated within 90 days of suspension. After the 90 days the application would only be considered if the applicant had a valid reason for not responding within the given time. She said that although there had been a bulk suspension, the majority had had their benefits reinstated. She added that prior to the bulk suspension the 17 000 persons who were to be suspended, had been sent registered letters. Most of these had been returned to the Department’s offices.
Ms J Chalmers(ANC) asked if medical personnel accompanied the Department when doing the mobile visits. She added that a panel of medical staff usually is responsible for determining if a person qualified for a disability grant.
Ms Dunkerley replied that there were no doctors on these visits. The person would usually be under the care of a doctor. Thus, a medical report accompanies the application. There are medical officers who assist with the assessment although there is no panel to assess the individual. People who are aggrieved at their findings may appeal to a panel. The panel will decide if the application was denied because the medical report had provided insufficient information or if the person really did not qualify for a disability grant.
Mr Masutha continued to express concern for the 17 000 people whose cases had been left unresolved. He suggested that a project be started to investigate these cases, as the number of persons affected is too large to ignore.
A member asked if there has been any litigation on this matter.
Mr Khumalo referred to cases where the Judge had found that the Department should have used other methods of informing applicants as to whether their applications had been accepted or refused.
Prof Mbadi asked how the Department has explained the fact that people who were obviously over 65 years old and those who suffered from permanent disabilities had to be reviewed. He asked how the Department dealt with the perception that the process was introduced to flush out those who did not qualify.
Ms Dunkerley replied that the system was not designed for flushing out. It was merely a way in which to update information and reflected the Department’s efforts to keep in touch with the people.
Prof Mbadi asked what method was used to reach people in the remote rural areas.
Ms Dunkerley said that they had used the media (newspapers, radios etc) and more direct methods like the Amakhosi, the Local Authorities, Pension Committees. She said that the response in the remote rural areas had been much better than in central Durban.
Ms N Tsheole (ANC) referred to the 21 000 people who did respond and were re-registered. She asked how it was possible to budget if the Department had no idea as to how many people would respond and be re-registered.
Ms Dunkerley said that the process of re-registration had ended in July 2000. This was close to the next financial year, thus making it possible for the Department to budget. The savings that resulted from this process had been used to fund the child support grant. As a result of this saving 242 000 children had benefited from this grant. A total of 748 000 persons had benefited from grants as a result of these savings. She stated that the 17 000 people should perhaps be seen in this context. She did however agree that there was a need to investigate that issue further.
Mr Da Camara (DP) said that there were entire communities where households were headed by AIDS orphans from as young as nine years old. He asked if any part of the amount allocated to HIV/AIDS has been directed toward assisting these children.
A Department official answered that grants are being made available to these families. In addition, they are examining the possibility of placing the children in foster care (especially with their extended families). It is difficult to assess if there are funds for this, but they are working with the National Department.
Ms N Tsheole noted that a large part of the budget had been allocated to grants. She suggested that the focus should not just be on giving grants but also on development programmes.
Ms T Tshivase asked whether there were rural development projects, which focused specifically on women.
The Department is encouraging NGOs to focus on the rural areas. The MEC said that in terms of the African culture women were the pillars of society and as a result the bulk of the projects focused on women. More than 8000 jobs have been created through these projects. Women were the main recipients of these jobs.
In reply to the chair asking if the programmes were ongoing, Mr Khumalo said that they were and that they were intended especially for unemployed women.
The Chair asked if there were funds for these projects. He asked whether projects were applied more broadly if the flagship programme succeeded.
The Department official said that there are five or six different projects in one programme. The National Department has agreed to increase the funding, if they are sustainable.
The Chair suggested that the Committee send people to KZN to observe these projects.
Presentation by the MEC of the Eastern Cape
Ms N Kondlo, the MEC, said that in order to draft a budget, the Department had to develop a strategic planning process to develop priority service delivery areas and an appropriate implementation plan.
Court cases- She said that there was a prominent case pending, but that she would not comment on it so as not to jeopardise the Department’s case.
The Department’s main challenge is that of infrastructure. Welfare service delivery points are grossly underdeveloped. In addition, the infrastructure at the Social Security pay points is inadequate. These pay points lack help desks, shelter, seating, first aid facilities, fresh water and sanitation facilities. In some cases, pay points can be located under trees. The fact that this is a security risk is evident in that an official was robbed and killed at such a pay point. Upgrading these facilities is not catered for in the present budget and funds therefore have to be mobilised from within and outside organs of state.
In terms of the Financing Policy the Directorate has decided to increase funding to previously marginalised areas by 10% in 2001/2002. These include (1) Care of the Disabled, (2) Care of the Elderly, (3) HIV/AIDS.
In order to facilitate poverty relief, the involvement of NGOs is vital. When programmes emerged, their business plans determined whether or not they would obtain funding for projects. There were 625 projects throughout the province. There has since been a shift from projects to the concept of programmes. The many projects have been incorporated into programmes which number 25.
IDT is a national competence and is aimed at poverty relief. The Department is of the view that these funds should go directly to the provinces as provinces are better able to monitor the funds and what they are being used for.
The Department also needs to improve the capacity of service delivery. When officials have to pay grants, they have to close the offices in order to go to the various pay points. If the task of paying grants is outsourced to a private company, this will free officials and make them more available to the public.
Public hearings are being held on the role of public participation in service delivery.
There has been a move toward a district service delivery model and away from a regional approach. They are aiming to have 24 district offices and have R24m to fund these offices.
Savings have been effected through the rooting out of corruption. This was not only achieved by the suspension of many officials, but also by taking action against the broader public who had defrauded the department. The Assets Forfeiture Unit has seized approximately R75 000 worth of assets. The Department believes that it is not only necessary to punish the guilty, but also to move toward the recovery of the Department’s resources. It is difficult to find out about a death where it has not been reported. By working closely with the banks on this problem, the Department has already managed to save R6.5m.
With regard to the implementation of the Public Finance Management Act, the Department has appointed inspectors to ensure that the Act is adhered to.
The following services have been rendered to children and families affected by HIV/AIDS.
(1) Counselling, (2) Support Systems, (3) Care of Orphans, (4) Community based organisations/home based care services.
Mr Masutha commented on the enormity of the challenges facing the Department with regard to its infrastructural backlog. He asked what the Department saw as the way forward.
Mr Makalima, the Head Administrator of the Department, said that this was a very broad question. There were a number of internal processes that the Department had in place. For example, to combat fraud there are a number of pay point forums. These are community based structures which serve as the eyes and ears of the Department and are able to inform it as to who is deceased or if a person under the age of 65 is claiming pension.
Mr Masutha asked how the Department deals with aggrieved beneficiaries in order to discourage litigation.
Mr Makalima said that the Department was able to pre-empt court proceedings by virtue of their public participation programmes. The Department is working toward the policy in terms of which communities are called on to participate in Welfare Forums, Pension Committees and Pay point Committees. People can then communicate their problems to these bodies. Often court proceedings result from the fact that officials are absent from their offices for more than three weeks at a time in order to be at the various pay points. If outsourcing takes place, officials will be alleviated of these duties and this would decrease the number of court cases.
Ms Chalmers referred to the phasing out of state maintenance grants. She asked how the Department deals with single mothers and persons who had previously relied on the grant. She wanted to know if the child support grant and the poverty alleviation programmes were alleviating some of its effects.
Although the state maintenance grant is being phased out, women who are affected by this step would still be able to benefit from the poverty alleviation programme. Children are still able to benefit in terms of education and nutrition programmes. He said that it is possible to look at people from more than one angle.
Prof Mbadi expressed concern about the accessibility of the payout points. Very often there were no roads and facilities available. He asked if the Department thought a private company would be able to reach these people. He said that the extended family looked after children and that this alleviated the need for childcare facilities. He suggested that this money could be used for increased access to pensions and to step up security at the pay points.
The MEC agreed, saying that in terms of their white paper, the Department wishes to do away with institutions (like childcare facilities) and rather focus on building capacity in the communities.
Ms Jacobus said that before the Department rushes into a decision to outsource, they should look at other provinces where this has in fact taken place. In Gauteng the Department had previously used pensioners to assist with the administration of grants. When the private companies took over, the senior citizens were devastated since they were no longer needed. She suggested that even if the Department does decide to outsource, they should find a way to include the pensioners.
Ms M Ramotsamai (ANC) said that the Eastern Cape should also look at the Western Cape where outsourcing has been implemented. Where private companies have replaced Department officials at the pay out points, problems have occurred. When a pensioner’s name failed to appear on the computer, the company would simply not pay the person. She asked how much the Department has budgeted for outsourcing.
The MEC replied that the Department ensures that there is a budget for every step taken that affects Welfare. Capital grants fund the pilot projects after which it is up to the Department to find innovative ways of obtaining funds.
Ms E Gandhi (ANC) said that when pay points are reduced, the result is often longer queues. She also doubted that a private company would pay for mobile toilets each month.
A department official said that as far as infrastructure is concerned the Department is communicating with the various stakeholders.
Ms Gandhi asked what action is taken against persons collecting pensions on behalf of someone who is deceased.
The MEC said that family members are usually the persons drawing the deceased’s pension. This can continue for years if the death remains unreported unless the Department finds a way to trace it. She said that the participation of the public is vital here. In addition, the re-registration process will be of great assistance and the department is working closely with the banks.
Ms Gandhi suggested that poverty relief projects in the rural areas should focus on agricultural projects that are valuable and sustainable in these areas.
The MEC agreed, saying that there is a shift from projects to programmes focusing on poverty.
KZN SOCIAL WELFARE: 2001/02 BUDGET REVIEW
28 March 2001
The Honourable Chairperson, Hon. Members present may I take this opportunity to thank the decision to invite Provincial Welfare Departments to present their plans and also how we intend utilising the Social Development (as we are now known) budgetary allocation for the ensuing financial year. I was, however directed by the invitation to limit our presentation to the Social Security and related aspects only.
Hon. Members let me hastily take this opportunity and state and acknowledge that Government as a whole is faced with difficult challenges of having to balance the ever increasing needs with the available limited financial resources. KwaZulu-Natal Welfare Department, in particular, as has been recorded in the media recently, is amongst others expected to maintain and increase benefits to Welfare Organisations operating in privileged communities. I am aware of the concerns raised by this Committee on some aspects of the ‘new’ Welfare Financing Policy. In fact I supported the concerns raised as I believe they are not intended to continue the disparities of the past and condemn our rural impoverished to perpetual poverty.
The Provincial Department of Welfare, in line with South Africas’ paradigm shift of re-prioritization and of decentralising services, has likewise attempted and ensured that those who were privileged do continue receiving services and also that those who were marginalised are afforded with the opportunity to have access to Welfare services. I wish to stress that it is the same cake that we have to share with everyone in the country and in particular in our Province.
Therefore 2001/02 budget split has been informed primarily by this ethos (decentralisation and focusing on the poor) and a shift of the mind set.
2 2001/02- Welfare Budget
2.1 SOCIAL SECURITY
The Department will commence the financial year 2001/2002 with a budgetary allocation of Four Billion, Five Hundred and Eighty-Three Million, Five Hundred and Fourteen Thousand Rand.
As will be known by the Committee, 92.6% of the total budget has been allocated to Social Security, leaving only 7.4% for the remaining programmes which include Social Assistance (which caters for the funding of the private partners in the delivery of services), Social Welfare Services which caters for the services rendered by the Department to our communities and Social Development by which the Department is seeking to empower our communities, especially women and the youth residing in the highest poverty pockets of the Province.
The ensuing financial year’s budget is just 3.9% more than the current year’s revised budget. This budgetary increase mainly caters for the growth in the number of beneficiaries, the 5.5% increase in the value of disability, old age and war veterans as well as the 10% increase in the value of the child support grant.
The phenomenal uptake rate of the Child Support Grant will undoubtedly continue to strain my Department’s budget. If one takes into account that 23.8% of the population of the Province is made up of young people aged between zero and nine years, this phenomenal uptake rate is understandable.
2.2 SOCIAL SERVICES/WELFARE
Despite the limited budget available at my Department’s disposal, efforts will be made to address the scourge of HIV/AIDS in some way. Through negotiations and integration of services the Departments of Welfare and Health have agreed to pull together their allocation for HIV/AIDS, an amount of R3,5 million to target the following projects in KwaZulu-Natal:-
Moyeni - Gingindlovu R 700 000
Bhambayi - Durban R 500 000
Mpendle - Pietermaritzburg R 300 000
Nseleni - Empangeni R 500 000
Khanyiselani - Port Shepstone R 700 000
Ndumu - Ingwavuma R 300 000
Nduduzweni - Lower Tugela / Stanger R 500 000
An Integrated HIV/AIDS Plan has also been recently adopted by my Top Management meeting, in consultation with Health Department and Provincial AIDS Action Unit.
The plan focuses on the following Priorities:
FOCUS ON DEPARTMENTAL EMPLOYEES
TRANSFORMATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY
2.3 SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (Policy shift)
Up to the current financial year the Department of Social Welfare is spending 94% of its budget on transfer payments, i.e. social grants.
This is apparently creating a lot of dependency on the state. In terms of the White Paper on Social Welfare, there must be a shift from the current scenario to Social Development to ensure that people are empowered and begin to realise their full potential.
Some poverty alleviation grants have been allocated by the National Welfare Department. The Provincial Welfare Department accesses these funds via business plans compiled by Welfare.
The objective of this allocation was to reduce vulnerability to poverty of families, groups and communities through sustainable social development strategies and institution capacity building.
The Province received an allocation of R 19 138 600.00, which was used to 206 projects and distributed as follows:
- Applications for funding in respect of 177 community based structures (R 11 805 500.00)
- Implementation of the HIV/Aids Strategy - R 1 500 000.00
- Implementation in respect of a Provincial Programme targeting those affected by Social Security - R 1 000 000.00
- Infrastructure Development - R 973 100.00
The Survey in respect of households living below various minimum living levels as illustrated by the Human Sciences Research Council is being used to assist in managing the different projects and in building the necessary capacity. In all these cases, sustainability is emphasised.
Two Flagship Programmes per region, targeting unemployed single women who have children up to nine years have been funded. There are two pilot projects, one in Bambanana (Ingwavuma) and another project set-up in Azalea in Pietermaritzburg which was terminated and replicated at Impendle, fully functional.
There has been, however, few limitations which if unattended will pose serious challenges. One notable one is the reliance on other agencies to perform certain functions on behalf of the Department. Welfare Department had planned to build a number of Office accommodation during the current financial year. The Capital projects item has been slow and not delivering according to plan.
There are a number of factors cited in this regard and one of them being changes in the KZN Tender Board to a Tender Committee style and as such there are a number of projects which had reached the now defunct Tender Board requiring attention. The Department has been told that as soon as the Committee commences business, it will attend to those items left pending by the KZN Tender Board.
Hon. Chairperson and members I am proud to conclude my submission and state that with our successes in the year 2000/2001 performance I am certain that we will be able to achieve even more this coming year despite the challenges mentioned above. In ending, as can be expected, the budgetary allocation had and will never be adequate to meet our constitutional mandate to fighting poverty and empowering our people. As indicated earlier on, about my concern on the increasing CSG uptake, we will soon be knocking at the Provincial Treasury’s door for more funds to match the increasing demand.
EASTERN CAPE PRESENTATION
The exercise of putting together the Department's budget is preceded by a strategic planning process aimed at identifying priority service delivery areas and developing an appropriate implementation plan. This was an inclusive process in which the provincial, regional as well as district departmental spheres of managing service delivery participated.
The plan of action to which the various budget allocations are attached is underpinned by the mission of the department which is :-
'To provide a comprehensive, integrated, equitable, accessible and developmental social service in partnership with all welfare stakeholders for the improvement of the quality of life of the people of the Eastern Cape making use of all appropriate resources of the country"
The department refers court cases against it to the State Attorney.
In their turn the State Attorney briefs Counsel on behalf of the Department to represent the department at Court hearings. The State Attorney re-imburses the Department of Justice the costs incurred and submit a claim to the Department.
Counsel appointed by the State Attorney consults with relevant officials in the department for the purpose of receiving briefing, documentation , etc. The department attends court proceedings in order to be available should pertinent information be required by Counsel.
IMPROVEMENT OF PAYMENT CENTRES AND NEGOTIATIONS
WITH LOCAL AUTHORITIES
In areas where, the department needs office accommodation it has been possible to obtain vacant sites/erfs from the Municipalities.
The challenge facing the department is with erecting the kind of structures that will provide for suitable shelter, water , ablution
facilities that will enable the department to access facilities belonging to district councils in the form of community halls for the purpose of paying out social grants where these are available.
The challenge is to provide these in areas where they are not available.
IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES IN UNDER RESOURCED AREAS
In line with the financing Policy the Directorate has taken a resolution to increase the funding to the previously marginalised areas by 10% in 2001/2002 financial year. This is specifically intended to address equity . The following projects were approved during this financial year 2000/2001. These projects are located in the previously marginalised areas:
CARE OF THE DISABLED:
* Nolitha Special school for the and after Care in Mt Ayliff
* Ubuntu Training and activity centre in Umtata
* Quadriplegic Outreach programme in Mdantsane. This is a community based programme for the day care of the disabled.
CARE OFTHE ELDERLY
* Ngangelizwe day Care Centre for the elderly
* Golden Age Service Centre Stutterheim
* Middledrift Service Centre in Middledrift
* Nomzamo service Centre in Ginsberg
* Vukani service Centre in Zwelitsha (KWT)
The community based Hospice in Umtata received approval for the extension of the programme by 40 people.
Two HIVIAIDS community based projects for the care of HIVIAIDS infected people have been approved, these are in Umzimkhulu and Mt Ayliff.
HOW HAS THE FINANCING POLICY IMPACTED ON FUNDING
The current outgoing funding method confines subsidisation to the
programmes outlined in the funding criteria.
The welfare financing Policy relaxes the funding criteria. However, the delayed development of the administrative tools of the welfare financing policy has frustrated the effective implementation of funding programmes from the emerging communities.
IMPROVEMENT OF THE CAPACITY OF THE PROVINCIAL DEPARTMENT REGARDING SERVICE DELIVERY
The following improvements have been prioritised for implementation in the financial year 2001/2002.
-Outsourcing of the payment of the social grants
This will have the effect of freeing up Social Security staff to perform their core-functions of receiving and processing of grant applications, attending to queries, marketing the social security service in the communities and servicing welfare/pension forums.
Outsourcing will introduce segregation in the performance of Social Security functions of processing grant applications and paying the grants. This will eliminate non-segregation of functions as a potential and real source of fraud and related irregularities.
A policy document on the participation of the public in the service delivery processes of the department has been developed and is currently being consulted with communities. Its implementation should assist the department in establishing with a measure of certainty the perceptions of the public regarding the quality and quantity of our services in relation to their own priorities
This will have the indirect but important consequences of democratising society through democratising decision making processes.
-District Service Delivery model
In close association with the social needs departments in the province, a district rather than regional service delivery model will be implemented. This will make a contribution to bringing services as close as possible to communities.
SAVINGS EFFECTED THROUGH ROOTING OUT CORRUPTION
The rooting out of corruption is a major priority of the department and is in line with the Provincial Policy slogan of "turning words into action" with regard to fraud and other malpractices.
A major breakthrough has been made in that convictions have been made of officials of the department and others who were involved in corruption on the basis of finger print evidence.
In one case alone a potential recovery of R750 000.00 will be made. Through the assistance of the Asset Forfeiture Unit property which was acquired through fraudulent means has been attached and turned over to the government.
10 Officials have recently been sentenced to long terms of imprisonment for fraud involving social pensions to the value of approximately R11 million.
1. A Financial Manager from Deloitte & Touch is assisting with strengthening the financial capacity in the department.
2. A training module has been developed and implemented to :-
· Raise awareness in the whole department about the
· Familiarise the financial practitioners with principles of internal control; managing expenditure, asset management and reporting requirements.
· Enhance the capacity of financial practitioners in the department.
3. Delegation of authority has been done to the level of Programme Managers. A process is in progress to determine staffing gaps which will affec4 lowering of delegations to levels as required by the PFMA.
4. The appointment of a Chief Financial Officer is treated as a priority and the possibility of nominating from the existing financial managers is being explored.
5. Internal control systems are being designed and the selection process to set up the inspectorate/internal audit section is in progress. This is expected to be finalised by the end of April 2001.
6. The PFMA implementation plan has been drawn by the department with specific tasks, methodology, participants, stating responsible officials and deadline dates for the accomplishment of the tasks.
PROVISIONS MADE FOR THE SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ASPECTS OF CARE FOR PERSONS INFECTED AND AFFECTED BY HIVIAIDS
The Department of Welfare-Eastern Cape is rendering various services to children and families infected and affected by HIV /AIDS. Such services include the following.'
This is made available on referral of persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS as they are mostly in contact with the Primary Health Care Services. Counselling is offered to the person infected and affected as well as to his/her family on approval by the client concerned. Counselling includes talking to a person about his/her status and ways of coping with the illness. Where there is need for referral to other resources for further health, such referrals are done promptly.
The people living with HIV/AIDS need a lot of support in term of their psychosocial needs and ways of coping in life. Support groups for people living with H/V/AIDS have been formed in Regions A &B by Districts Co-ordinators for HIV/AIDS. It is quite proper though to stress that is not easy to sustain such groups as most of the members lose interest in the process due to the death of other group members. They get so emotionally disturbed and begin to have fears of death. A lot of counselling is offered to curb such fears and bereavement therapy is also offered.
One of the support groups in Uitenhage has been merged with a community group with a view to engage people infected by HIV/AIDS in income generating projects. The group members are still actively involved and have been referred to the Poverty Alleviation Program to access Funding in the period 2000/2001.
CARE OF THE ORPHANS
The Province is presently faced with an escalating number of orphans especially in the E.G/Kei regions (near Kwa -Zulu Natal) where some form of statistics has been submitted. Children in distress are assisted by being offered counselling sessions and placed on alternative care.
The Department has embarked on the recruitment of Volunteers to look after persons infected by HIV/AIDS. Persons are washed and dressed up in their respective homes and assisted with household chores. They are referred to the local clinics by volunteers when they need arises.
The Department is also involved in a pilot at Mhlakulo Administrative Area-Tsolo (20kilometres away form Umtata for children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. This pilot focuses on Home/ Community Based Care Programmes.
The project is targeting 50 families of children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Such children will be identified by structures and task teams identified in the area. This project has received funding from the National Departments of Health, Social Development and Education on the Cabinets approval.
COMMUNITY BASED ORGANISATIONS/HOME BASED CARE SERVICES
There are community based organisations which are rendering awareness Campaigns through educational talks, distribution of IEC material and condoms, radio talks and road shows. There are volunteers who pay visits to homes of the infected and affected persons and make referrals to relevant offices through the Social Worker co-ordinating HIV/AIDS program in the districts.
The Department of Welfare - Eastern Cape has planned to focus on implementing Home/ Community Based Care Programmes in all districts by 2004. This is so is there are already many people suffering from HI V/AIDS in the Province. The question of confidentiality need not be overlooked though as it results to people not disclosing their status. Children infected and affected will be placed on alternative care with the assistance of NGO's like Child and Family Welfare, Churches and the Business sector as they are our major stakeholders.
Extract from Annual report 2000 of KZN Department of Welfare
4.2 Achievements / Developments
This Department, on 1 September 1999, entered into a 3-year contract with Cash Paymaster Services (KwaZulu-Natal) Pty. Ltd for the payment of all grants in the Province. Once the new contract is operational, no Departmental officials will handle cash for grant payments - a significant improvement over the current situation.
Included in this payment contract are all payments currently being made by the South African Post Office. This will result in a great improvement with regard to reconciliations, as the current system of voucher payments means that reconciliations from the Post Office are completed between two and three months in arrear. This impacts negatively on this Department's ability to accurately account for the money used for grant payments. The new contract will also result in a greatly improved service for our beneficiaries. The payment system is based on a banking concept - that is, all beneficiaries will have an individual bank account into which their money will be paid. The service which this contract provides in addition to a normal bank transfer system is the cash delivery service. This means that, once the money has been deposited into the beneficiary's account, the contractor provides a cash delivery, mobile service. The beneficiary is enrolled onto this system through the electronic "registration" of his/her fingerprints, photograph and personal details.
The beneficiary, once enrolled, receives a smart card, which contains his personal information, as well as fingerprint details. At the pay point, which will include the existing pay points and the post offices, the beneficiary has his fingerprints matched to those contained on the card. If positive, the money in the bank account is then loaded to the card. The beneficiary then has the option of withdrawing the total amount, or only a portion thereof, leaving the balance on his card.
As the Prosperity network expands, so the beneficiary will be afforded more choices. There is another contractor using the smart card system of payments in the Free State, but that system is purely a cash payment system. It is not a banking system, and is not linked to additional services such as the interest-bearing account or the Prosperity network. In addition, the smart card used is only a memory card, not a transaction card, as is the case with the card to be used in this Province.
It must be noted that interest has been shown in these developments by the other Provinces a number of which are currently in the tender process for cash payments. In addition, a delegation from the Eastern Cape, comprising the Premier, the MEC for Welfare, the Head of the Department of Welfare and the Director: Social Security, visited this Province on the 5th November 1999, to see the privatised payment of grants at the Umlazi and Umbumbulu sites, as well as to be exposed to a demonstration of the new system this Province is currently implementing. All the delegates were most impressed with both the security of the new system, as well as the potential benefits for the beneficiaries.
4.3 Re-registration of Beneficiaries
The Department embarked on a process of cleaning-up the grants payment system. This was as a result of problems experienced by both the department and beneficiaries alike. The process involved re-registration, conducting of a means test (to determine financial status of beneficiaries) and revamping the payment system itself.
Good progress is recorded, hence the Department has weeded a number of illegal beneficiaries. The process has not been an easy one and where bottlenecks are experienced the Department speedily attends to the problem.
Re-registration of pensioners was" cutoff' at the end of May1999. Pensioners who could not re register were given until 30 November 1999 to do so.
The re-registration project was essentially a review of each current beneficiary in the Province, in terms of the legislation. The end result of the project will be that each beneficiary has a current, complete file, as stipulated in the legislation; the information on the national grant data base is updated and current; and that all beneficiaries in the Province receiving payment from this Department are in fact entitled to both the grant and the amount they are receiving. The project had four main focus areas, namely:
New application processing
Communication posed a huge challenge for this project in the sense that the project team had to communicate with approximately 600 000 beneficiaries, spread across a large geographical
area, both rural and urban. This was necessary to ensure that all beneficiaries understood the purpose of the project, and the requirements for re registration. This involved supplying all supporting documentation for each application.
As noted, the re-registration project involved a full review of each beneficiary. Contract staff were employed to undertake this task, under management of this Department. As at 31 October 1999, a total of 568 542 interviews had been conducted, with files being received for these beneficiaries. This represents a total of just more than 97% of the targeted number of 584 859 beneficiaries - an achievement which has not been matched in other Provinces.
4.3.3 Data Processing
Once the interviews had been completed, the files were forwarded to the data processing section set up in Durban for capturing onto the centralised grant system - Socpen. Of the files received to date, 356 129 have been completed, and the information on the system updated. Of the files completed, 13 327 have had payment suspended, for the following reasons:
applicants younger than the required age to qualify for the old age grant; applicants not qualifying in terms of the means test applicants not qualifying in terms of the medical assessment applicants getting multiple grants applicants identified as deceased (per register in Home Affairs)
4.3.4 New Application Process
Simultaneously with the re-registration process, a controlled process for taking new applications at the district offices was introduced.
Ensuring that all beneficiaries had an opportunity to complete the process; not compromising on the standards set, e.g., accepting a bar coded identity books only;
recruiting additional medical officers to complete the assessments needed for disability and care dependency grants; and
capturing the applications onto the centralised main frame system, which presented a host of problems, including frustratingly slow response times, and frequent down time.
However, it must be noted that the re-registration process could not have been completed without support and assistance from a number of bodies, including the AmaKhosi, who assisted the Department with ensuring that their communities received the relevant information, and were ready for the re-registration teams when they entered the areas; the Department of Home Affairs for both the initial fingerprint training of the temporary and Departmental staff and the verification of the fingerprints within very limited time frames; the private welfare organisations with helping to spread the message to their clients; the Provincial Cabinet and Treasury for allowing the Province to fund the project on the basis that it would be self-funding in the long run; amongst others.
Achievements that have been made through this project go far beyond only the initial goal of updating the beneficiary information. As a result of the information supplied to the Department of Home Affairs, it has been confirmed at National level that the beneficiaries in this Province will be the first in this country to receive the new identity card once these are approved and issued.
4.4.2 The Model For Other Provinces
A number of delegates from other Provinces, including the Free State and North West, the Eastern Cape, as well as the National Department of Welfare have visited this Province to see the re-registration project in action, and to learn from it for their own projects. The Eastern Cape is due to embark on a similar exercise, and this Province has assisted them with advice, as well as copies of the training manual used to train the contract staff to equip them for the work. In addition, the re-registration project as undertaken by this Department was acknowledged as a 'best practice' model for social security at the National social security 'bosberaad' held in Midrand on 25 and 26 October 1999.
The suspension of 13 327 beneficiaries through reasons supplied earlier, represents a projected saving for the Welfare Department in the current financial year, of in excess of R52 million.
4.4.4 Child Support Grant
A child Support Grant is a grant of R100 per month payable to a primary care-giver in respect of a child or children under the age of seven. A primary care giver is any person who takes primary responsibility for the daily care needs of the child or children and is not necessarily related to such a child or children.
4.4.4 The Statistics
The CSG uptake rate is visibly increasing each month as it appears in the summary of statistics - starting from the month of April 1999 to November 1999. Therefore the Provincial uptake per number of children stands as follows: April = 2277, May = 2445, June = 1961, July = 4830, August = 5704, September = 6043, October = 7372, November = 10965. However, the Province of KwaZulu-Natal has got 37030 children in payment as of the 21/12/99.
4.4.5 Marketing Strategy
The evident increase in the CSG uptake is as a result of the effort undertaken to implement the marketing strategy. The marketing strategy being implemented includes the following: The Ministerial launches, the radio Ukhozi announcements, the involvement of Regional Councils and Regional Authorities, the involvement of health clinics and community health care workers and the involvement of individual creches and associations. All the above endeavours are done with distribution of pamphlets with the requirements and conditions for applying for the CSG. Thus, the above undertaking is proving to be effective as our uptake is improving.
4.4.6 Home Affairs
The Provincial Welfare Department had made an arrangement with the Home Affairs Department to make mobile teams which went out on a project to the communities to take birth certificates. This project showed a great success and it was one among other strategies which effected the increase in the CSG uptake. The Home Affairs has provided a progress report showing 39799 certificates taken for the months of September, October and November 1999.
4.4.7 Action Plan
The marketing of CSG has been taking an approach of involving the Regional Offices and the District Offices to the maximum of their effort. The involvement of District Offices includes the development of action plans per each district according to its locality. The planning for the district launches has started. These launches happen per Tribal area in rural areas or per unit or section in urban areas. The involvement of the Regional Councils has also started and it is a successful communication because the Regional Councils 1,11 and Ill have started to invite us to do CSG presentations to their local communities. The following sectors are also part of our strategic plan: The involvement of extension officers from the Department of Agriculture, the involvement of Community Health Care Workers, the School Principals, the Agricultural Unions in the case of farm workers, the Church gatherings, the Local Councils, the Creches and the Tribal Authorities