Department & National Development Agency: briefing on 2007/8 Strategic Plan

Social Development

06 March 2007
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Meeting report

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
7 March 2007
DEPARTMENT & NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY: BRIEFING ON 2007/8 STRATEGIC PLAN:


Chairperson:  Ms T Tshivhase (ANC)

Documents handed out
DSD Strategic Plan 2007-2010
Social Development Vote 17
Presentation to the Portfolio Committee on the Strategic and business Planning methodology and processes 2006 – 2011
South African Social Security Agency Strategic Plan 2007/08 – 2009/10

SUMMARY
The presentation by the Department of Social Development outlined the strategy as well as the predicted outcomes. The challenges were outlined and the Department stated that there were mechanisms in place to combat them. It had created five new programmes: The budget breakdown gave a comparison over the years to justify the need for more funds.

The Committee members raised queries on policy implementation and whether the Department had the capacity to deal with control of spending in each of the nine provinces. Further questions related to the correlation of Workmen’s compensation lists and how the roles of each differed, the difference between community practitioners and community development workers, whether there were problems of capacity, whether it was intended to move into a comprehensive social policy framework, elaboration of the role in the public works programmes and the control over the equitable share, and payment of NPOs fully from government funding. The Chairperson stated that DSD would have to be available at a later date for more discussion

The presentation by the National Development Agency linked their goals, strategies and their mandate. Their goals were Organisational Transformation, Partnering for Development, Community Empowerment for Sustainable Development and Communication of Credible and Relevant Researched Developed Information. The budget breakdown was not at the meeting but would be made available at a later date; instead the presenter gave a brief overview on fund allocation to each province, and how this had been calculated on the basis of statistics of the most needy provinces.  The Committee asked how the Agency were going to address the issues raised by the Auditor-General, whether the forensic report was available, how there would be roll out of focus areas, how it had allocated funding for poverty. Great concern was expressed over previous projects that were unsupervised and resulted in major loss of funds, but Members were reassured of mechanisms put in place to guarantee such occurrences would not recur.

MINUTES
Department of Social Development (DSD) briefing

Mr Vusi Madonsela, Director-General,DSD, presented the Strategic Plan 2007 – 2010. He began by placing the strategy into two perspectives, assisting society and dealing with the factors that seemed to be sustaining the poverty. It was further challenged by the fact that the development of welfare services were labour intensive and depended largely on skilled social workers and community development practitioners both of which were in short supply. The priority of the Department was the development of policies, legislation and systems to ensure that the provision of a range of social services met the socio-economic needs of the poor, marginalized and most vulnerable, within the constraints of the available budget.

The Director-General listed eight priorities on the strategic plan. An enabling environment for social and human capital investment had to be created, and there needed to be a promotion of social integration. Social protection initiatives must be built to capacitate the vulnerable groups, and there must be provision for a comprehensive social security system. There was a need to create a strong leadership in social development to ensure the discourse of social policy and evidence-based decision making, effective and efficient management of social development programmes, good governance and steering from international frameworks and agreements with respect to socio-economic development.

The five programmes were outlined, with their functional areas highlighted. Programme one,  administration, provided for policy and strategic direction by the Ministry and top management and for overall management and support services to the Department. The Comprehensive Social Security Programme ensured that the development of norms and standards  facilitated financial and economic planning and monitored compliance with regard to social assistance policy. The third programme of Policy Development, Review, and Implementation Support for Welfare created an enabling environment for the delivery and accessibility of integrated social welfare services. Community Development was developed to monitor and facilitate the implementation of appropriate policies, strategies and programmes, aimed at strengthening the potential of communities to sustain and improve their livelihoods and further human development. Strategy and Governance, the fifth programme, led the strategic management component of the Department and it also provided strategic guidance on social policy development, guidance and maintenance.

The major performances areas were seen as developing appropriate regulatory mechanisms for promotion and protection of rights of the poor, vulnerable and marginalized, for contribution to human capital investment by developing skills in social development, and for improved institutional performance and coordinating expanded public works programme in the social sector.

There were strategic outputs for each of the programmes. The comprehensive social security programme objective was to enhance human well-being through measures that addressed income poverty. The outputs predicted for this programme were the progressive realisation of all social security rights, and the re-engineering of the social relief funds and social insurance. This  required draft legislation to effect reform of retirement provisions. The Social Welfare Services programme outputs were to transform welfare service delivery, review and implement relevant legislation and policies, develop norms and standards, develop capacity for the delivery of social services, and implement support for welfare services. The outputs predicted for the Community Development programme were development of  community policy, improved conditions of service for community development practitioners, improved governance and institutional capacity of non-profit organisations, registration and compliance of registered organisations, enhanced institutional capacity of the sector, and development of a framework to link DSD programmes with sustainable livelihoods and promote and support youth development. There should be an increase of the National Youth Programme. Special programmes with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) within the social sector had predicted sector coordination, implementation of EPWP with the Early Childhood Development programme (ECD) and Home and Community Based Care programmes (HCBC). The Strategy and Governance outputs were improved governance and oversight of public entities, strategy development, monitoring and evaluation, social policy development and coordination, and promotion and implementation of population policy.

Unfortunately there were still strategic debates that represented challenges to the DSD. On the one hand it was suggested that social security developed a dependent people while the other argument realised the plight of the poor and the aim of ensuring a better life for all. Another challenge was the historical under-funding of developmental social services. Added to this was non-compliance with the Non-Profit Organisations Act (NPO). The slow process of filling posts, and the administration of finances for social assistance could pose a problem due to the dual responsibilities between the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and DSD which affected accountability, and the lack of effective management information systems for social welfare and community development programmes which limited the DSD’s capacity to monitor and evaluate.

Mr Coceko Pakade, CFO, DSD presented the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). the main focus was largely on the National Department budget. National Treasury (NT) was helpful and a revised calculation projected that there would be an increase of R683 million. The total budget grew at an average of 8.3% per annum. The MTEF growth trends could  be noted through seeing that the additional allocations were largely for social development policy implementation for support, oversight and support for key institutions, and implementation of the integrated welfare services and social worker scholarships.

Discussion
Mr K Morawamoche (ANC) stated that he was impressed with the budget plan of the DSD. He enquired about why all nine provinces had different regulations models concerning Disability grants.

Mr Madonsela replied that perhaps in future SASSA could deal with uniformity. The Department was working closely with the Department of Justice for guidance and capacity. Through successful litigation the DSD, has managed to oppose certain allegations of fraud.

Ms H Weber (DA) asked whether the Workman’s Compensation list correlated with the Department’s regarding the delivery of services.

Mr Madonsela responded that the Department of Labour was responsible for compensating occupational injuries. The Department of Labour has a rehabilitative service that related to the benefits that could be received. The DSD only dealt with delivery when the person could no longer work and required service delivery by way of a social grant. The DSD then would try to find out ways to keep the person economically active.

Ms Weber wanted to know where and how were community practitioners different from community development workers.

Mr Madonsela replied that both the local and provincial government employed community development workers. They were attempting to distinguish between community practitioners and community development workers because they did different work.

Ms Weber asked if there were capacity problems.

Mr Madonsela stated that on the whole they had had good capacity in place but their priority was to fill certain posts.

Mr T Masutha (ANC) asked whether there were any concrete moves to move into the Comprehensive Social Policy Framework.

Mr Madonsela replied that there was a programme focusing on consolidating services and on profiling of beneficiaries finding out what access they had to certain facilities. It was discovered that there was an overwhelmingly large number of beneficiaries who had access. That list would then be provided to the Department of Education to monitor the children; this would be ideal as the DSD was considering moving into conditional social grants.

Mr Masutha wanted further elaboration of the role that the DSD was playing in the public works programmes.

Mr Madonsela replied that DSD had become the focal point and the channel through which development plans coordinated with the Department of Health, Department of Education and the Department of Public Works. All the departments involved participated in the implementation of the plans. The Department of Education was currently the lead in the ECD programme with the DSD only falling in when it came to implementation.

Mr Masutha wanted to know about fiscal federalism and how the DSD was managing to control how the money allocated to provinces was being spent.

Mr Madonsela remarked that this was a big issue. Once the equitable shares went to the provinces it was effectively out of the DSD’s hands. He was not sure what they could do to give themselves more authority over the matter.

Mr M Waters (DA) wanted to know why the NPOs were not being paid fully from government money.

Mr Madonsela stated that it would be ideal, however the DSD had not yet reached that stage. There was also a question of independence once they were funded fully by government, and the question arose what services would be expected, and if the government was paying for services or to fund the NPO’s operations. That was why the policy on financial awards was created, to determine where the services were needed the most.

The Chairperson stated that DSD would have to be available at a later date for more discussion.

National Development Agency Briefing
Mr Godfrey Mokate, CEO, National Development Agency (NDA) presented the Strategy and Business Planning Methodology. He stated that the strategy goals were interlinked and integrated with their mandate and purpose to maximise the use of the limited resources. Their strategy goals were to transform their organisation, develop partnerships, achieve sustainable development through empowering communities and communication of credible and relevant researched development information.

The NDA linked their mandate to their strategy. Their primary objectives were focused on the eradication of poverty and its causes through funding civil society. This then linked into their partnership for development that had the strategic objective of active collaboration with local and international stakeholders for poverty eradication. The output would be local, and international structured partnerships with increased resources for poverty eradication would also be fostered. Each of their goals were intricately linked in this way.

Mr Mokate apologised for not bringing along a breakdown of the budget. However, he did give a brief overview of their budget and allocations. Thus far the NDA was allocated R129 million.  R89 million was spent on projects. The NDA subscribed to a specific formula when allocating money to provinces. They used R3 million as a baseline for all nine provinces, and then, using the poverty indicators compiled by Statistics SA, they decided exact amounts of allocation. For this year, based on the data they received, it was decided that Kwazulu Natal will receive R15.8 million, Eastern Cape will receive R14. 8million, Limpopo will receive R11. 6million, Gauteng will receive R8.9 million, Free State will receive R7million, Mpumalanga will receive R7. 6million, North West will receive R8. 3million, Northern Cape will receive R4million and the Western Cape will receive R5.5million.

Discussion
Mr Morwanmoche wanted how the NDA were going to address the issues raised by the Auditor-General.

Mr Mokate stated that they were focused on correcting those issues and had already dealt with 80% of them.

Mr Waters enquired about the meeting that took place on 30 November 2006, when the Board met to discuss forensic reports. He wanted to know if the report was released to parliament as stipulated.

Mr Mokate stated that those document were made public, but he could make sure that Mr Waters received his copy.

Mr L Nzimande (ANC) asked how the NDA envisaged the roll out of their focus areas.

Mr Mokate replied that they had sat down with the Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG) to discuss important areas that needed funds immediately.

Mr Nzimande then wanted to know about the extent to which the NDA were planning on working on poverty.

Mr Mokate stated that they were focused on the capacity of community based organisations. They had allocated R21million for development in leadership.

The Chairperson mentioned that some of projects funded by NDA had collapsed and wanted to know how the NDA were going to deal with this problem.

Mr Mokate responded that they had a programme formulation since most of the projects were selected through the process of calling for proposals. If, for some reason, the NDA discovered that the project was collapsing, they would then take over and establish mechanisms to try and rebuild the failing project.

Ms I Direko (ANC) stated that she hoped this meant that the NDA had cleansed itself, and hoped that after the NDA had given funding they would now continue supervision, whereas before they had not.

Mr Mokate said that they had established a monitoring process where their staff in each province were largely focussed on monitoring the projects. They had also established a programme of auditing for all projects.

The meeting was adjourned.

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