Voting on Prevention & Treatment of Drug Dependency Amendment Bill & Adoption of Budget Vote Report

Social Development

14 March 1999
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WELFARE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

WELFARE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

15 March 1999

VOTING ON PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF DRUG DEPENDENCY AMENDMENT BILL AND ADOPTION OF BUDGET VOTE REPORT

Documents handed out:

Draft Report of the Portfolio Committee on the Welfare Budget vote 1999/2000: Vote 36

Amendments to Prevention & Treatment of Drug Dependency Amendment Bill (Clause 2)

Report emanating from meeting:

Final Report of the Portfolio Committee on the Welfare Budget Vote 36 (Appendix)

Appendix : Final Report of the Portfolio Committee on the Welfare Budget Vote 36

1999/00 Budget: report

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Welfare on Budget Vote 36: Welfare, dated 15 March 1999, as follows:

The Portfolio Committee on Welfare, having considered and examined Budget Vote 36: Welfare, reports as follows:

This being the last budget Report of the Committee in the present Parliament, the Committee has taken the opportunity to reflect on the activities and expenditure over the past five years.

A. Overall Welfare expenditure

The Committee notes with encouragement that Welfare expenditure is the fourth largest functional area of government expenditure, totalling approximately R18 610 million in 1998-99 increasing to approximately R18 721 million in the 1999-2000 financial year and increasing further to approximately R20 315 million by the end of the 1999-2000 - 2001-02 Medium Term Expenditure cycle.

The Committee further wishes to highlight that while the budget of the national Department appears to have been decreased by 22,8% from approximately R175 million in 1998-99 to approximately R135 million (excluding R2 million in donor funds) in 1999-2000, these figures include R100 million and R50 million in 1998-99 and 1999-2000 respectively, as conditional grants for the improvement in the financial management of social security systems. The national Department's budget has therefore been increased by 13,3% in 1999-2000 compared to 1998-99 (see Table below).

Table National Department of Welfare expenditure

YEAR VOTED

CONDITIONAL GRANTS BALANCE

1998-99 1999-2000 % 1998-99 1999-2000
1998-99 1999-2000 %
(1-3) (2-4)

R'000 R'000 R'000 R'000 R'000 R'000

-

175 397 135 429 -22,8 100 000 50 000

75 397 85 429 13,3

Furthermore the consolidated provincial Welfare budget has been increased by 0,8% from R18,43 billion in 1998-99 to R18,58 billion in 1999-2000. This includes an increase of 0,4% in expenditure on social security grants and an increase of 5,5% in expenditure on other welfare services amongst provinces.

Total Welfare expenditure has therefore been increased by 0,6% from R18,61 billion in 1998-99 to R18,72 billion in 1999-2000. The Committee notes with concern that total expenditure on social security still represents 91% of the total Welfare budget, with only 9% of total expenditure for other welfare services. It is, however, encouraging to note that the shift in expenditure towards the 80%:20% principle with regard to social security expenditure as opposed to other welfare services is being effected in most individual provincial welfare budgets.B. National Welfare programmes and expenditure

The Committee acknowledges that the nett decrease of R5755 000 in Programme 1 (Administration) of the national budget represents the mindset that the government may not be the best deliverer of services and that allocations to NGOs should rather be increased for this purpose. It is pleasing to note further that despite this decrease, the financial management of the Department has been reorganised and integrated. The Committee applauds the improvement in internal auditing and the establishment of a budget committee in December 1998, but would urge the Department to consider obtaining funds for the post of Director: Internal Audit as an urgent priority in respect of this programme. The Committee also commends the Department for initiating the establishment of an audit committee for external control and looks forward to the completion of this initiative.

The Committee also proposes that the budget of Programme 6: Population and Development be supplemented by transfers from other departments serviced by the Population Unit in order to implement the policies contained in the White Paper for Population Policy or that the Department motivate for the removal of this function from its programmes and that it be regarded as a separate vote.

The Committee acknowledges the attempts of the national Department of Welfare to transform the welfare sector, including the following:

1. The amalgamation of the 14 different social security systems.

2. Substantial clean-up of social security beneficiary data and the initiation of the re-registration process.

3. Implementation of the Child Support Grant.

4. Piloting of several development-oriented programmes.

5. Implementation of poverty alleviation programmes.

6. Legislative reform.

7. Policy developments.

1. Amalgamation of 14 different social security systemsThe amalgamation of the 14 different systems in one computer database was completed in March 1997. This marked an essential advance for the improved management and administration of social security grants.

2. Clean-up of social security beneficiary data and initiation of re-registration process

The data clean-up, which included the removal of 70772 deceased (ghost) beneficiaries and the suspension of 18801 temporary disability grants,

29096 children older than 18 years and 120 invalid grant combinations, resulted in savings of R281,9 million in 1998-99. The re-registration process was identified by MINMEC as a priority programme to ensure clean and accurate data of all beneficiaries. While this represents an encouraging result of an essential process, the Committee expresses concern that the process must be effectively managed in order to minimise undue inconvenience to beneficiaries and avoid the erroneous suspension of legitimate beneficiaries.

3. Implementation of Child Support GrantOn 1 April 1998, the Child Support Grant was introduced and the Department began the phasing out of the racially discriminatory State Maintenance Grant. The Child Support Grant of R100 per month targets the poorest 30% of children below the age of seven and is expected to reach three million children within five years. The Committee notes with concern that to date only 25 696 children nationally are benefiting from the grant and would urge the Department to improve efforts to extend the grant, including public awareness campaigns and the re-examination of the means test and official documentation for application. To this end, the Committee acknowledges the Department's programme of provincial visits to assist provinces with implementing the Child Support Grant and the collaborative efforts being undertaken with the Department of Home Affairs to increase the accessibility and delivery of identity documents and birth certificates.

4. Piloting of several development-oriented programmes

The welfare sector inherited by the government in 1994 was a fragmented system based on inequality and disparity. The White Paper on Social Welfare provided a new policy framework, giving clear policy direction to the sector and addressing issues of efficiency and sustainability in service delivery. One of the main thrusts of the White Paper is to transform expensive institutional models of service delivery to a developmental model which empowers individuals and communities to become self-reliant. The allocation for developmental social welfare services (all welfare services excluding social security) increased by 5,5% in the consolidated provincial welfare budget and by 2,8% in the global welfare budget between 1998-99 and 1999-2000. This represents 9% of the total Welfare budget. Subsidies are currently administered to 1 400 NGOs and include the areas of child and family care, care of the aged, care of the disabled, drug dependent-care, care of the offender, HIV/AIDS care and various other programmes.

The Committee urges that the Department allocate adequate funding for the employment, training and development of social workers and other relevant staff in the social services professions.

(1) Child careChild protection continues to be a focal point in social welfare services. The Committee notes the Department's initiatives to implement the National Plan of Action for Children. These include, amongst others, the amendment of the Child Care Act to provide for measures to protect children at risk through a National Child Protection Register, registration of street shelters and a broad definition of marriage to include customary marriages; the National Strategy on Child Abuse and Neglect, which provides a clear inter-sectoral framework to transform child protection services; and the Child Care Amendment Bill, 1999, and the 1998 Action Plan to Prevent and Combat the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. The Committee looks forward to considering further policy documents and legislation being drafted by the Department, including Child Pornography and the Internet, Policy Issues and Strategic Guidelines on Street Children, Transformation of Early Childhood Development Services, Foster Care Guidelines and the Transformation of Adoption Practice.

(2)Care of aged The 1996 population census recorded that 2,8 million South Africans were older than 60 years. This represented approximately 7% of the total population. In 1998-99, 56% of the total Welfare budget was allocated to care of the aged (including social security grants). In the old system, old-age homes catered for mainly white citizens, and as a result facilities for the care of the aged were located mainly in white residential areas. In addition to the inaccessibility of such services to the majority of the population, the institutional care models were expensive and unsustainable. The Department's policy on the aged now clearly reflects a shift towards more cost-effective, sustainable, community-based methods of care, treatment and prevention. The new policy clearly states that only frail older persons who cannot be cared for by their families or community, should be accommodated in old-age homes. The finalisation and piloting of new admission criteria and the passing of the Aged Persons Amendment Act, 1998, mark significant achievements in this regard. The Aged Persons Amendment Act provides for, amongst others, the criminalisation of elderly abuse, the establishment of a register of incidents of abuse, measures to combat racial discrimination in admission to old-age homes, democratic participation in managing institutions and the proper use of subsidies. While these are commendable advances, the Committee impresses on the Department the need for more concerted efforts in the establishment of community-based care and support facilities, service centres and housing schemes for the elderly, particularly in previously unserviced and underserviced areas. The Committee further expresses the need to integrate services for the elderly with the inclusion of the poorest of the poor elderly in urban areas.

(3) Care of disabledPolicy development with regard to people with disabilities is geared towards facilitating integration of the disabled into the mainstream of society by empowering caregivers and providing training and skills development to both care-givers and the disabled. The development of a viable model for community-based rehabilitation still requires substantial work.

(4) Drug-dependent careIn 1998 the Cabinet approved the Drug Master Plan, which promotes a multi-dimensional and inter-sectoral approach to combating drug abuse and drug trafficking. The Committee passed the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Amendment Bill this year in order to facilitate the implementation of the Drug Master Plan. The Committee urges that the Department develop its mini-drug master plan with a focus on children and youth (particularly street children), prevention and rehabilitation, and that sufficient funds be allocated for the effective implementation of such plans.

(5) Care of offender and child careThe Committee acknowledges the advances made with regard to the transformation of the child and youth care system through the implementation of the recommendations of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Young People at Risk. The completion of six IMC pilot projects and plans for national roll-out of the Durban Reception, Assessment and Referral Centre and the One Stop Youth Justice Centre in Port Elizabeth in 1999 are encouraging. So too is the fact that 4000 children and families have benefited from these projects and that through the efforts of Project Go 4 609 reviews have been completed, 2 270 children have been diverted from the criminal justice system, 898 children have been moved out of prison through developmental assessment, 234 children have been diverted via family preservation, 377 children have been prevented from moving deeper into the system, 1 187 children have been returned to their families, and 419 children have been moved out of places of safety into less restrictive care. The Committee is hopeful that the effective implementation of the Probation Services Amendment Bill will facilitate the transformation of the Child and Youth Care System. The creation of 38 new probation officer posts since January 1998 speaks to the Department's commitment to meet the provisions of this Bill. However, the Committee expresses concern at the fact that, although 77% of the original RDP allocation of R33 million has been spent on the building and upgrading of secure care facilities in all nine provinces, only two such facilities are currently operational (Walter Sisulu Child and Youth Care Centre in Gauteng and the Molehe Mampe Secure Care Centre in the Northern Cape). The Committee urges that the Department improve its efforts to operationalise all secure care facilities with the inclusion of trained, suitably qualified personnel.

The Committee notes that, despite the efforts of initiatives such as Project Go, the continuing number of children awaiting trial or sentence in prisons and police cells is cause for deep concern, but notes that this situation is being monitored by the Department.

The Department is also the lead department for the Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP), which forms part of the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS), launched in May 1996. In addition, the Department serves as convenor of the Committee on the Management of Juveniles Awaiting Trial (COMJAT). The Committee applauds the establishment of a number of new 24-hour services and the expansion of existing services for the victims of crime and violence through funding from the VEP.

(6) HIV/AIDS care At present South Africa has approximately

500 000 orphans. The effect of AIDS-related deaths could increase the number of orphaned children to between one million and two million within the next 10 years. This, together with the care of people with AIDS-related diseases, will have a severe impact on social security through increases in disability grants and child support grants. The Department developed a Social Welfare Plan on AIDS in 1997. This plan focuses on reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS through targeted preventative interventions, managing the impact of AIDS on social security, developing affordable community-based care and support models, forming strategic alliances, and developing appropriate policy to enhance service delivery. During 1998-99 and 1999-2000 the focus will be on developing policies on children suffering from HIV/AIDS. The Committee commends the Department on the implementation of two pilot projects, the Children in Distress (CINDI) project in KwaZulu-Natal and the Kerux Care and Intervention Programme for Children and Families affected by the AIDS Epidemic at Kalafong Hospital and Pretoria Academic Hospital. The Committee further congratulates the participants of the Kerux project for the recommendation in the National AIDS Review of the project being an ideal combined hospital/community/NGO model of care for people living with AIDS. At the end of 1997, Kerux provided a wide range of care interventions to 2 000 HIV-positive children and over 4 000 infected adults and their families. The Committee urges the Department to move speedily with the expansion of these and similar projects throughout the country.

The Committee also congratulates the Department on the success of the first campaign of the Women's Partnership Against AIDS, "On the Right Track", launched on 4 March 1999.

As an adjunct to such initiatives, the Committee urges the Department to improve collaborative efforts and programmes between the Department of Health and other relevant departments.

C. Poverty alleviation

The Committee commends the Department for the procurement of R50 million in 1997-98 and R203 million in 1998-99 from the Poverty Alleviation Fund. In 1997-98 1 133 development projects reached 93 090 poor people throughout the country. The Committee looks forward to considering the report on the developmental impact of these allocations, which is currently being undertaken by the Department.

The Committee is pleased to note that of the R203 million allocation for the 1998-99 financial year, R20 million will go to the disability sector, including R8 million for the economic empowerment of people with disabilities.

The Committee also notes with interest the piloting of new initiatives in Micro Saving as a community resource (four projects) and Community Empowerment to improve service delivery (three projects) to the value of R18 million.

R44 million has been allocated for the transformation of social services.

The Committee acknowledges the results of the 15 projects under the Flagship Programme for Unemployed Women with Children Under Five, launched in 1996. More than 1 300 women as well as their children and other family members are benefiting from these projects. A total of approximately 133 484 person working days have been created from this programme.

R6 million of the R203 million have been committed to the Starfish 2000 project until March 2000. This project is aimed at providing work experience to graduates and matriculants by placing them with participating companies.

D. Social security

The Committee is pleased to note that the Department is to investigate the establishment of a comprehensive, integrated social security system as part of the Poverty Alleviation Programme, incorporating existing public and private schemes as well as a basic income grant collaboration with the Departments of Labour and of Finance. It is encouraging that discussions have already been held with other departments and that a task team has been set up, representing various schemes, including the Road Accident Fund, the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Fund. The Committee looks forward to considering the report, to be produced by the task team by June 1999.

Every month the provincial welfare departments distribute approximately R1,3 billion to 2 903 756 South Africans who are beneficiaries of social security grants. Old-age pensions account for two thirds of both the number of beneficiaries and the total expenditure on grants. Disability grants account for a quarter. Approximately two thirds of grant recipients are women, as they are more likely to receive grants targeted at care-givers, such as maintenance, care dependency, child support and foster care grants. Furthermore, 70% of pensioners are women, reflecting a lower eligibility age, higher average longevity and greater poverty among women.

Expenditure on social grants had an overall nominal increase of 20% between 1995-96 and 1997-98 and 44% between 1995-96 and 1998-99. A further increase of 0,4% is effected between 1998-99 and 1999-2000.

The Committee is pleased to note that, although decreases in the allocations for the administration of social security grants in four of the five provinces represent an improvement in the accuracy of budgeting, the Department will consider applying for further funds in the adjustments estimate in order to encourage provincial departments to widen the social security net in each province. This is particularly relevant in the case of the Eastern Cape, where the 2,6% decrease in the social security allocation is a result of a closer correlation between the actual number and types of grants being paid and the budget.

The Committee applauds the provincial welfare departments for the decrease in backlogs from 80 636 in August 1998 to 61 969 as at 12 November 1998, and trusts that this trend will continue speedily. It is also encouraging to note that provinces have committed themselves to eliminating all backlogs by the end of March 1999 and that the provincial allocations for social security for 1999-2000 take into account backlogs, registered beneficiaries and the further 4% increase in grant tariffs (excluding the Child Support Grant).

Note is also taken of the Department's efforts to combat fraud and corruption by provincial welfare officials: Nine cases are pending in the Western Cape, two in the Eastern Cape, 23 in the Free State, 21 in Gauteng, and one in Mpumalanga. In the Northern Cape three officials have been charged in court and in KwaZulu-Natal an official has already been sentenced by a court of law.

The Committee is pleased to note that a portion of the R50 million conditional grant for improving the delivery and financial management of social security will be used for the management of the national and provincial Y2K project. The Committee commends the Department on planning to ensure Y2K certification of SOCPEN and all other information systems by 31 July 1999.

E. Legislative reform

Since 1994, 11 welfare laws have been passed by Parliament. It is envisaged that by the end of 1999 seven or eight more welfare laws will have been passed.

Minor amendments were made to the Fund-raising Act, 1978, the Aged Persons Act, 1978, the Social Work Act, 1978, and the Social Assistance Act, 1992. In 1996 the Child Care Act, 1983, was amended to provide, amongst others, for the legal representation of children in children's court proceedings and for the registration of shelters. The Welfare Laws Amendment Act, 1996, amended the Social Work Act, 1978, by enlarging the membership of the Interim Council for Social Work. In 1997, the Non-profit Organisations Act, which provided for the creation of an enabling environment for non-profit organisations by scrapping compulsory registration, was passed. In the same year the Welfare Laws Amendment Act introduced the Child Support Grant and also provided for the phasing out of the State Maintenance Grant.

In 1998, the Adoption Matters Amendment Act amended -

1. the Child Care Act, 1983, in order to simplify the procedure for granting legal representation of children in children's court proceedings, and to provide for the rights of certain natural fathers in adoption matters concerning their children born out of wedlock;

2. the Natural Fathers of Children Born Out of Wedlock Act, 1997, in order to consolidate the law on adoption; and

3. the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992, so as to give fathers of children born out of wedlock the opportunity to record their paternity and relevant particulars in the registration of birth of the child.

The Aged Persons Amendment Act, 1998, upgraded measures related to the protection of the elderly against abuse and the racial integration of institutions for the aged.

The Social Work Amendment Act, 1998, provides for the establishment of the South African Council for Social Service Professions and for professional boards of social service professions. The new Council will convene its first meeting on 31 May 1999.

In addition to the aforementioned Acts, regulations under the Non-profit Organisations Act, 1997, the Child Care Act, 1983, and the Social Work Act, 1978, were passed during 1998.

The Child Care Amendment Bill [B 14 - 99], the Probation Services Amendment Bill [B 15 - 99] and the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Amendment Bill [B 12 - 99] were passed by the Committee during March 1999.

The Child Care Amendment Bill serves as an urgent interim measure to facilitate the transformation of the child and youth care system, by amending the Child Care Act, 1983 (Act No. 74 of 1983), by -

1. the insertion of a section to provide for a right of appeal against any order or refusal to make an order in terms of certain sections in the Act;

2. the insertion of a section to provide for the establishment and maintenance of secure care facilities for the reception and care of children awaiting trial or sentence;

3. revoking the power of the Minister to transfer certain pupils and children from less restrictive to more restrictive institutions, custody or supervision through a mere administrative procedure;

4. the insertion of a section to provide for the prohibition against and criminalisation of commercial sexual exploitation of children;

5. providing for the estimation of a person's age in proceedings where a person's age is relevant but where insufficient evidence thereof is available.

The Probation Services Amendment Bill serves as an urgent interim measure to facilitate the transformation of the child and youth care system, by amending the Probation Services Act, 1991 (Act No. 116 of 1991), by -

1. amending and inserting certain definitions;

2. introducing assessment, support, referral and mediation services in respect of victims of crime;

3. introducing crime prevention strategies through the provision of early intervention programmes, including diversion services and family group conferencing;

4. providing for the establishment of restorative justice programmes, including appropriate sentencing and diversion options;

5. providing for the competency of a probation officer to recommend an appropriate sentence or other options to the court and for the mandatory assessment of every arrested child within 48 hours of his or her arrest;

6. providing for the establishment of assessment and referral services and centres with regard to children.

The Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act, 1992 (Act No. 20 of 1992), in order to implement the Drug Master Plan by providing for -

1. the establishment of a Central Drug Authority (CDA);

2. the powers and duties of the CDA;

3. the establishment of committees of the CDA;

4. the establishment of the Secretariat of the CDA.

The Committee notes further that it is envisaged that the Minister for Welfare and Population Development will introduce five other Welfare Bills in Parliament in 1999. These are the Status of Older Persons Bill, the Non-profit Organisations Amendment Bill, the Social Assistance Amendment Bill, the Developmental Welfare Governance Bill, and the Disaster and Emergency Fund Bill.

The Committee notes with concern that a revised Child Care Act emanating from the work of the South African Law Commission is not envisaged for 1999.

The Committee expresses its appreciation to the Director-General of the Department of Welfare for her comprehensive briefing on the national and provincial Welfare budget for 1999-2000.

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