Disability Policy and Strategy: briefing by Department

Social Development

19 September 2006
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Meeting report

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
20 September 2006
DISABILITY POLICY AND STRATEGY: DEPARTMENT BRIEFING

Chairperson
: Ms T S Tshivhase (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Presentation on Development’s Disability Policy and Strategy

SUMMARY
The Department of Social Development made a presentation on its Disability Policy and Strategy and focused particularly on the progress made with implementing policies, the goals and objectives of the strategy as well as challenges in implementation. The Department required more funding to properly discharge its mandate. The Committee was particularly interested in the department’s role in relation to other players such as the Office on the Rights of Children and the United Nations. The Committee also asked for clarity on the department’s arguments that it needed more funding to fully implement its programmes, as well as whether it was largely a research entity. It was noted that in some instances, the department was unable to supply detailed information on Members’ questions and requested another opportunity to brief the Committee in detail. The Committee agreed to this request, but voiced its disproval at the lack of reliable and accurate data provided at the meeting.
 
MINUTES
Presentation by the Department of Social Development (DSD)
The DSD was represented by Ms N Kela, Chief Director, and Ms M Molamu, Director: Disability. Ms Molamu briefed the Committee on the progress the department has achieved of late. In her presentation she talked about the disability programme goals and objectives which included research and a policy framework on disability. She dealt with implementation strategies, intergovernmental structures and the challenges they were facing. Ms Kela added that it was important the Committee remember that the department was formally established in 2004 only and they had already managed to have two disability policies approved. She emphasised that the department required more funding as currently it only had a director, deputy director and assistant director that were doing all disability-related work

Discussion
Mr M Waters (DA) asked who was responsible for the unreliable data and why they thought having better information management systems would help to accumulate more reliable data.

Ms Molamu replied that the unreliable data came from service providers who would not list as providing services to the disabled thereby providing gaps in the data. They were advised by the Treasury that they needed to engage the provinces if they were to acquire more reliable data.

Ms Kela added that without proper information management systems it would be hard to acquire the required data and to evaluate it as well.

Mr Waters asked about the costing of the model.

Ms Kela replied that on national level, the total cost would be about R2.8 million, split equally between personnel and operational costs.

Mr Waters asked about the gap between the funding the department needed to facilitate the services and what was actually available on the ground.

Mr Waters asked about the number of social workers that were going to be needed to implement the policies.

Ms Kela replied that before they would have a rough estimate on the number of social workers required they needed to do research in the provinces after which they would inform the Committee.

Mr Waters requested clarification of the department’s statement that they had inadequate resources.

Ms Molamu replied that insufficient resources referred to the need for more partners and a more concentrated effort to provide a comprehensive service for disabled persons; for example transport from the Transport Department.

Advocate T M Masutha (ANC) asked what the role of the department was in transformation, especially whether they concentrated on their own programmes or were they co-coordinating between departments.

Ms Kela replied that they were not usurping the role of the Office on the Status of Disabled Persons which dealt with coordination between departments; their role was to create a disability sensitive environment and to look at the social services at the disposal of the disabled knowing that they were not the sole providers of the services.

Advocate Masutha asked whether the disabled unit in the department was only a research entity because it seemed that they were leaning heavily towards research.

Ms Kela replied that research was only one of the many projects that they were undertaking.

Advocate Masutha remarked that he did not see any situational analysis that was crucial when developing strategies and if the Committee were to do oversight properly they needed more information on what the services were and who benefited from them.

Advocate Masutha asked the department to “unpack” the detailed analysis on age cohorts.

Ms Kela replied that the briefing was an overall progress report on the policies the department had created. They apologised that it did not contain a situational analysis or the answers to all Adv Masutha’s questions. She asked for another opportunity to brief the Committee in detail.

Advocate Masutha asked how they were interlinked with other departments and what these departments would be doing to assist them.

Ms Kela replied that this was problematic because in the provinces people who offered services to the disabled also offered services to older persons. Since the services were not focused they needed more funding to roll them out.

The Chairperson asked for the number of disabled persons in rural areas as these were notorious for hiding their disabled.

Ms Kela replied that they did not have the statistics with them but would make it available to the Committee.

Mr L Nzimande (ANC) asked who would be funding the proposed workshops and what was being done to prevent people from manipulating the workshops in order to get funds under the guise that they were providing employment to the disabled.

Ms Molamu replied that they were aware of the need to transform the workshops. Funding came from provincial Departments of Social Services, but they hoped that in the long run other key departments would also render services that would enable the beneficiaries to enter the economic world. The workshops were registered as Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) and therefore were governed by the NPO Act which prohibited them from acting as employers.

Mr Nzimande requested to know the amount of reliance the department was putting on Rotary International (RI) and what their role was in relation to the United Nations (UN).

Ms Molamu replied that concerning the UN there were conventions that laid down the processes that have to be followed to implement policies. As for RI, it was a group of voluntary organisations that they obtained information and experience from.

Mr Nzimande asked what their relationship with the African Rehab Institute was like at the movement.

Ms W S Newhoudt- Druchen asked if the department’s policies and strategies would incorporate children with disabilities and exactly what sort of research had they done in this area.

Ms Newhoudt-Druchen asked what the input of the Inter-departmental Collaboration Committee on Disability (IDCCD) was and about the role of the Office on the Rights of the Child (OCR).

Ms Molamu said because the OCR wanted to combine the roles of children’s stakeholders they were both advocating developmental strategies that needed to link grants with sustainable livelihoods. Moreover they needed to register the children in developmental programmes whilst they were still young so that they would not only be able to get grants but to have developmental opportunities as well.

Ms Kela added that the roles of the IDCCD and the OCR were to assist the department with identifying key departments needed for implementation of the policies and to discuss fundamental issues. The IDCCD sat in on the meetings of other departments that might not fully understand disability.

The meeting was adjourned.



 





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