Welfare Budget: briefing

Social Development

29 February 2000
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Meeting report

BUDGET BRIEFING

PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WELFARE & POPULATION DEVELOPMENT
1 March 2000
BUDGET BRIEFING

Documents Handed Out:
Presentation by Department of Welfare (email info@pmg.org.za for copy)
Slide Presentation by Director General (attached to end of minutes)
Welfare Budget: Vote 35
National Expenditure Survey 1999: Welfare
National Expenditure Survey 2000: Welfare
Department of Welfare Annual Report 1998/99

Website:
Welfare Department

SUMMARY
The session focused on Poverty Relief Funds, specifically the allegations that only a very small percentage of the allocated funds from the 1998/99 year had been spent.

The Director-General of the Department clarified the allegations stating that R203 million had been allocated to poverty alleviation, but that an initial R50 million had been spent inappropriately, after which the Department decided to delay more spending until discussions had been held with the Independent Development Trust to find better methods of allocating the funds. She stated the delay was why it appeared that only a small percentage of the funds had been used.

It was further noted that to date R205 million had been deposited into IDT accounts. R81 million of that total was being held in a suspended account, while R124 million (67%) had been given directly to the poverty relief projects.

The Committee Chairperson was dismayed when told that the Department had no measures in place to account for how the funds were being utilized, and strongly urged that a detailed report be made available as soon as possible. The Chair called for a full day to be scheduled to deal specifically with poverty relief and asked that IDT come before the committee.

MINUTES
Budget Presentation and the allocation of poverty relief funds
Ms Angela Bester, Director-General of the Department, briefed the committee on the 1999/2000 Budget, with special attention to the allocation of funds to individual programs, approved roll-overs, and the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for both the national department and the provinces, and the Department's progress to date.

Priorities for 1999/2000 year were outlined, which included a complete transformation of welfare financing policy, a more comprehensive social security system, and a focus on poverty reduction and special development areas for older persons, children and persons with disabilities, the abused, and persons affected by HIV/AIDS.

The committee was also briefed on the Departments priorities for 2000-2005, which included the continued development of existing programs, as well as, among others, the implementation of an integrated poverty eradication strategy, a National Strategic Framework for Children affected by HIV/AIDS, and a National Youth Strategy.

Discussion
(Q) The Chair asked what was the allocation of funds to each province from the Poverty Relief fund?

(A) Ms Bester replied that the breakdown was as follows:
Eastern Cape (653 projects) R16,332,781, Free State (142 projects) R7,864,804, Gauteng (108 projects) R8,890,067, Kwazulu-Natal(388 programs) R21,402,656, Mpumalanga (134 projects) R9,335,871, Northern Cape (121 projects) R10,612,550, Northern Province (164 projects) R16,078,357, North-West Province (117 projects) R8,147,210, Western Cape (106 projects) R11,455,000.

Ms Bester stated that 40% of these funds was given to the provinces up front in the first year, 50% was given in the second year, and the remaining 10% was given in the third year.

(Q) Ms Ghandi (ANC) asked why when people apply for Child Support Grants (CSG) are they being told that there is no money available to them?

(A) Ms Bester replied that individuals were getting money, but that they had to wait for the registration process to be completed before the funding was released.

(Q) Ms Ghandi (ANC) asked what standards the Department used for ensuring that their social workers were properly trained?

(A) Ms Bester replied that she was aware of the problems of poorly-skilled workers, and that a skills audit was being done so that workers who did not fulfill the job descriptions would be replaced by able-skilled workers. She also stated that the Department was in great need of policy managers, project managers, and legal advisors, as they were having problems in retaining people in these positions.

Ms Cupido (DP) asked why there was no funding for children between the ages of 8 and 18, and why couldn't the money from approved rollovers be used for that purpose?

Ms Bester replied that the intention of poverty relief was to aid a broader base of the population, and that children between the ages of 8 and 18 would fall within that group. Approved rollovers could not be used, because they were already committed to other projects.

(Q) Mr Masutha (ANC) asked for clarification on what the Department did with the rollovers from the 1998/1999 year in relation to the Poverty Relief funds?

(A) Ms Bester stated that R203 million had been allocated to poverty relief in the 1998/99 year, and according to the Auditor-General only a small percentage of those funds had been spent. An initial R50 million had been spent inappropriately, after which the Department decided to delay more spending until discussions had been held with IDT to find better methods of allocating the funds. The delay was why it appeared that only a small percentage of the funds had been used. To date R205 million had been deposited into IDT accounts. R81 million of that total was being held in a suspended account, while R124 million (67%) had gone directly into the poverty relief projects. It was indicated that the "final vote" for poverty alleviation was R242,950 million, which demonstrated a saving of R37,950 by the Department.

(Q) The Chair asked what mechanisms were in place to ensure the poor are getting the money as well as how the money was utilized?

(A) Ms Bester replied that the monitoring of funds was the sole responsibility of the Department of Welfare, and that the Department ensured that the funds got to the people. An audit was being done to see if the funds reached the people, but that the report was not specific on how the money was utilized.

The Chair asked if he was clear in understanding that there was no measure in place to account for how the money was utilized. Ms Bester admitted the Chair was correct, but that the Department was currently working to implement mechanisms to track where funds went.

The Chair strongly urged Ms Bester to provide a detailed report as soon as it became available, stating that he was unhappy that the Department was unable to answer the questions put forth by the committee. He also called for a full day to be scheduled to deal specifically with Poverty Relief, and asked that IDT come before the committee.

(Q) Professor Mdabi (UDM) asked why there was an unequal distribution of funds to the programs in each province?

(A) Ms Bester stated that each province submitted reports on their programs, and that specific criteria were used to determine the amount of funding each program received. She was unaware of what the exact criteria was, but said emphasis were given to the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal as they were the poorest provinces.

(Q) A committee member asked why not use the rollovers to increase pensions?

(A) Ms Bester stated that it was best to look at pensions and poverty relief as one program, which would include children between the ages of 8 and 18, as well as HIV/AIDS. She said that the Department of Finance could better answer the question.

(Q) Ms Chalmers (ANC) asked if the Minister would be asking Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to implement the poverty relief programs?, and if any subsidies would be given to them?

(A) Ms Bester replied that the government would be asking for assistance from NGOs, stating that they were key in all areas of development. It was expected that the new cluster formations for Departments would help improve the relationship between both parties. There was no response to the question of subsidies.

(Q) A question was also raised asking for clarity on the disbursement of funds for the poverty relief programs?

(A) Ms Bester stated that a business plan must be submitted in order to qualify for the first year's allocated funding, and that funding would continue in the second and third year, if it was evident that the business plan was being implemented, and progress was evident. She noted this method was problematic for two reasons. One, the reports are not always accurate, and two, identifying progress was based on assumptions. It was suggested that an inspectorate be appointed, but it was concluded the position would be too labor-intensive.

(Q) The Chair asked if social security took Aids orphans into account since social security would be declining in the next two years, while the number of AIDS orphans would increase?

(A) Ms Bester noted the Department was aware of the number of AIDS orphans, and she believed that FosterCare Grants would account for them.

The meeting adjourned.

Appendix 1:

PRESENTATION TO THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WELFARE, POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT

Department of Welfare

1 March 2000

Priorities - 1999/2000

  • Poverty reduction focus
  • Grants to older persons, children and persons with disabilities
  • Allocation of Poverty Relief Funds
  • Co-ordinating social services aspects of Integrated Rural Development Strategy
  • Transformation of welfare services
  • Welfare Financing Policy
  • Comprehensive social security
  • Special Development Areas
  • Transformation of services to persons with disabilities
  • Support for persons affected by HIV/AIDS
  • Flagship programme for women
  • Services for abused women and children
  • Crime and crime prevention (youth)
  • Services to older persons
  • International obligations
  • Copenhagen Declaration Country Report
  • SADC and social development issues
  • OAU

Departmental Budget 1999/2000

Amount voted: R 185 429 000

Adjustments
Estimate: R 340 483 000

Total allocation: R 526 877 000

Allocation by Programmes

1 Administration: R 28 344 000

2 Social Security: R 191 473 000

3 Social Assistance: R 4 735 000

4 S Welfare Services: R 41 032 000

5 Social Development: R 250 817 000

6 Population Unit: R 9 557 000

7 Auxiliary Services: R 919 000

Approved roll-overs

Child Support Grant: R 15 418 000

Improve social security: R 87 068 000

Management development: R 1 817 000

Flagship programme: R 2 700 000

Secure Care: R 7 701 000

Victim Empowerment: R 4 000 000

Criminal Justice: R 14 895 000

Poverty Relief: R 202 950 000

Disaster relief: R 8 000 000

Other: R 934 000

Projected expenditure

 

Surplus/Shortfall

 
 

R'000

%

Administration

(2 1270)

(7.5)

Social Security

59 476

21.1

Social Assistance

2 418

51.1

S Welfare Services

1 716

2.9

Social Development

37 985

12.1

Population Unit

1 064

11.1

Auxiliary Services

(101)

(11.0)

TOTAL

99 891

19.0

MTEF Provinces (Total Welfare Allocation)

 

R'000

% increase

1999/2000

18 459 325

 

2000/2001

19 919 595

7.9

2001/2002

20 789 881

4.4

2002/2003

21 394 719

2.9

MTEF Provinces-Social Security

 

R'000

% increase

1999/2000

16 713 406

 

2000/2001

17 875 564

7.0

2001/2002

18 608 701

4.1

2002/2003

19 095 014

2.6

MTEF Provinces-Welfare Services

 

R'000

% increase

1999/2000

1 745 919

 

2000/2001

2 044 031

17.1

2001/2002

2 181 180

6.7

2002/2003

2 299 705

2.6

MTEF-National Department

 

R'000

% increase

1999/2000

185 429

 

2000/2001

341 906

84.4

2001/2002

276 297

(19.2)

2002/2003

76 509

(72.3)

  • Decreases reflect end of special allocations for poverty relief and conditional grants

Departmental budget 2000/2001

 

R'000

% change 1999

Administration

34 286

20.0

Social Security

73 110

-3.6

Welfare Information

4 184

-23.7

S Welfare Services

11 806

9.9

Social Development

211 641

266.2

Population Unit

6 560

-1.2

Auxiliary Services

319

-

Progress 1999

  • Poverty focus - progress
  • grants to 2.9 million per month
  • over 200 000 CSG beneficiaries
  • re-registration process completed in six provinces
  • SOCPEN Y2K
  • operations centre established
  • initial research on Welfare Payments and Information Service
  • Poverty Relief
  • 1933 projects in provinces
  • 15 national programmes
  • estimated beneficiaries: 11 197 women, 2904 men, 2055 youth
  • pilots in KZN, EC, NP for Integrated Rural Development Strategy
  • Financing Policy - Progress
  • Workshops in provinces to prepare for implementation
  • Persons with disabilities
  • R20 million of poverty relief allocated for programmes including transformation of protected workshops and school to work transition
  • HIV/AIDS
  • draft National Strategic Framework for Children Infected and Affected, developed with Health and Education
  • Flagship programme:
  • 15 pilot projects implemented
  • Youth:
  • One-stop justice centre pilot
  • Abused women and children:
  • 60 one-stop service centres established
  • Training of professionals for domestic violence legislation
  • Directory of service providers drafted
  • Training of child protection workers
  • Resource manual for child protection workers
  • Older Persons:
  • Assisted living programme designed for piloting in Mpumalanga and Free State
  • Operation Dignity launched in NP
  • International
  • Signing of OAU Charter on Rights and Welfare of Child
  • Hosted UAPS Conference
  • SADC Consultation on Social Development

Welfare priorities & programmes 2000-2005

  • Rebuilding of family, community and social relations
  • integrate into various programmes
  • attention to Older Persons (regulations, legislation, implementation of pilot programmes in assisted living)
  • Design integrated poverty eradication strategy
  • Evaluate current Poverty Relief Programme
  • Design integrated strategy
  • Continue input to Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Strategy
  • Develop comprehensive social security system
  • review existing systems and develop policy framework for comprehensive social security
  • design Welfare Payments & Information Service
  • continue improvements to SOCPEN
  • establish monitoring and audit capacity
  • Respond to brutal effects of violence against women and children
  • strengthen Victim Empowerment
  • Domestic Violence Resource Directory
  • training of counsellors
  • Child Care legislation
  • campaign to highlight role of men in preventing abuse and violence
  • Support services HIV/AIDS
  • Develop and implement National Strategic Framework for Children affected and infected by HIV/AIDS
  • National strategy on youth
  • evaluate pilots
  • develop strategy
  • Make social welfare services accessible to people in rural, peri-urban and informal settlements
  • refine and cost Financing Policy
  • establish system for monitoring and evaluating implementation of policy
  • Redesign services to persons with disabilities
  • develop welfare sector strategy
  • review social assistance
  • review protective workshops
  • Commitment to co-operative governance
  • with provinces develop framework for monitoring implementation of priorities
  • strategies for partnerships with NGOs, CBOs, business and civil society
  • strengthen population units
  • Train, educate and redeploy and employ a new category of workers in social development
  • HRD plan for welfare sector
  • strengthen capacity building initiatives in national and provincial departments
  • re-orientation of social service workers

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