Department of Social Development Budget & Strategic Plan 2007/08

Social Development

15 March 2007
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Meeting report

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
16 March 2007
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT BUDGET & STRATEGIC PLAN 2007/08

Chairperson:
Ms T Tshivhase (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Department of Social Development (DSD) Strategic Plan 2007-10
DSD Strategic Plan 2007-2010
Social Development Vote 17
DVD on Sustainable living – Minister Skweyiya’s Programme (available at the Department of Social Development)
DSD Community Development Programme
Integrated Development Plan

Audio Recording of the Meeting


SUMMARY
The Department presented an overview on its strategic plan for 2007/08, with particular emphasis on Programmes 3 and 4 relating to welfare services and community development. It pointed out that there were a number of challenges facing its programmes and that poverty, unemployment and the lack of essential services underpinned all of these. Human resources were also a problem as welfare services and community development were labour intensive and there was a short supply of trained social workers. The Department had identified three client categories, namely the poor, vulnerable and marginalised groups. The main priority was to develop policies, legislation and systems to ensure service delivery within its financial constraints. Programme 3 on social welfare services covered prevention and treatment of substance abuse, services to children and people with disabilities, older persons, families and victims of social crimes and services and support to people and families infected and affected by HIV and Aids. The Department’s responsibility in relation to Programme 4 on community development was to develop, monitor and implement strategies on community development, youth development, sustainable livelihoods and the registration and capacity building of Non Profit Organisations

The committee asked about the time frames in which the various programmes would be rolled out and how they were being monitored in terms of service delivery. Further questions were asked about the costing for substance abuse treatment, the costing for the Childcare Bill, the shortage of social workers, children awaiting trial,  the federal systems of funding, the access to data on child headed households and some of the interventions in that regard, the orphan database, the funding of NGOs, and access to disability grants.

MINUTES
Budget overview of Department of Social Development (DSD) 2007/2008

Adv T Masutha (ANC) asked the Director General to give a composite overview on the Department’s strategic plan. He said the Committee would defer the debate on postponed programmes until the Committee’s next meeting on 28 March.

Mr Vusi Madonsela,  Director General (DG): Department of Social Development, said the Committee had received the strategic plan, but owing to an oversight on the part of the printers, the human resources projections had not been included, but would be sent on.

Integrated Development
Ms Vuyelwa Nhlapo, Deputy Director General: DSD, presented the Integrated Development Strategic Plan. She pointed out that there were a number of challenges facing DSD programmes and that poverty, unemployment and the lack of essential services underpinned all of these. Human resources were also a problem as welfare services and community development were labour intensive and there was a short supply of trained social workers. The Department had identified three client categories, namely the poor, vulnerable and marginalised groups. The main priority was to develop policies, legislation and systems to ensure service delivery within its financial constraints. The key strategic priorities included an enabling environment for social and human capital investment, promotion of social integration, social protection initiatives to build the capacity of vulnerable groups and effective and efficient management of social development plans and activities in partnership with civil society and other social partners.

Ms Nhlapo presented an overview on DSD’s strategic plan for 2007/08, with particular emphasis on Programmes 3 and 4 relating to welfare services and community development. Programme 3 on social welfare services covered prevention and treatment of substance abuse, services to children and people with disabilities, older persons, families and victims of social crimes and services and support to people and families infected and affected by HIV and Aids. The Department’s responsibility in relation to Programme 4 on community development was to develop, monitor and implement strategies on community development, youth development, sustainable livelihoods and the registration and capacity building of Non Profit Organisations. Each of these programmes was examined more fully in the presentation, with the key focus areas clearly outlined.

The 2007 Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) had been increased for the period 2007/8 to 2009/10 to meet the needs of the programmes and the new figures, and were tabled from 2003 to 2010. The Department was focused on looking at the key challenges such as a lack of resources, strengthening HR resources, information services on children, implementing legislation and capacity building. She explained that in terms of budget allocation social welfare programmes had not been adequately funded and that was the reason for the bulk of the department’s budget going to that over the next years. 39% had been allocated to welfare policy development, and it would grow from R198 million in 2007 to R400 million in 2009/10. The further allocations were 10% to social security, 27% to administration, 17% to strategy and governance and 7% to community development. The detailed breakdown for each of the programmes and sub programmes was set out in the presentation.

The medium term budget priorities included the expansion and consolidation of community development welfare programmes and services. There would be emphasis on human capital development, including social workers, and expansion of the Expanded Public Works Programme. Key challenges included the disparities in service provision and expenditure across the provinces, lack of human resources, the need to build capacity in support services, information management systems and the increasing numbers of orphans. Pressures on the future budget would arise from implementation of the new legislation, expansion of services, including early childhood development services, and the need to improve systems for monitoring and reporting.

Discussion
Mr M Waters (DA) asked about the costing for substance abuse treatment and how the Department’s mini programme was developing.

Ms Conny Nxumalo, Director: Substance Abuse, DSD, explained that there were five substance abuse treatment centres in four provinces, and in addition the department had bought beds in private facilities to meet the demands. She said that the Department’s mini programme was a natural spin off of the main programme. She told the Committee that information on substance abuse was available from the National Clearing House, which was effectively a library.

Mr Waters asked about the budget for the Childcare Act, the number of social workers that had been enrolled, and when the victim empowerment draft would be available. In regard to HIV, he said although he was excited about the formulation of a database on orphans and child-headed households, he wanted to know when research would commence and how much it would cost.

Dr Maria Mabetoa,
Chief Director: Children, Youth & Families, DSD, said that the Department had looked at a high cost/low cost scenario in costing of the Childcare Bill and what the provinces could handle. She said that the Department had opted for the low cost scenario. The Department still needed 11 000 social workers over the next five years and implementation plans were in place. The Victim Empowerment draft had been discussed by the various DGs from the social and justice clusters, and needed to be developed.

Ms S Rajbally (MF) said she was concerned about children awaiting trial and the Department’s relationship with Correctional Services, as children should not be held in such facilities. She asked about the facilities available for street children and child headed households.

Dr Mabetoa replied that the Department was working closely with the Departments of Correctional Services, Justice, South African Police Services and the National Prosecuting Authority on child justice. Only children accused of serious crimes should be held in correctional facilities. So far the number of children held in detention in correctional facilities had been reduced from 2000 to around 1000 and a number of these were placed under home-based supervision.

Mr Madonsela explained that the Department faced several complexities with children in detention. They should not be held in correctional services facilities, but in special care facilities. However in provinces such as the Western Cape, much of the crime was gang-related and gangs could rescue gang-members as there were no guards in special care facilities. In the past, the Department had based secure care on models from Sweden, but this was not entirely appropriate as in Sweden there was little gang activity. It would now be looking at models from countries such as Brazil, which had similar gang-related problems among young people.

Adv Masutha commented that the general trend with social reform seemed to have moved past planning and now needed to be developed but legislative reform had not been completed. He said the Committee had to reflect how far the process had gone and where it needed to go. He mentioned that advisory boards had been abolished. He asked what was being done to replace them. He asked about the regulation of NGOs. He further enquired when the legislation regarding development would be presented to the Committee.

Adv Masutha said there seemed to be a fiscal federalism regarding funding and that not all provinces had the same requirements, and a system needed to worked out with provinces.

Mr Coceko Pakade, Chief Financial Officer: DSD replied that the national government could not dictate to provincial government how its budget was spent as this would be unconstitutional, but could only give guidelines on grant allocations.

Adv Masutha commented there was a lack of sufficient data on how rural areas were being accessed with social development. He remarked that the population unit had to have an intelligence network for policy making.

Ms H Weber (DA) asked if there was capacity to implement the department’s programmes and whether schools had been accessed on information relating to child headed households as she was aware of one school where there were 47 child headed households, and the Head was despairing about lack of delivery.

Dr Mabetoa responded that schools were being accessed for data.

Ms C Dudley (ACDP) asked what the Department’s stance was on placing street children in shelters and the accessibility of children to shelters. She also asked about the status of the orphans' database, on which little seemed to have been done

Dr Mabetoa replied that steps had been taken on this database.

Ms I Mars (IFP) asked about child-headed households and the commissioning of research.

Ms Nhlapo said that the Department had accessed various databases on orphans and child headed households and simply had to coordinate the information.

Dr Connie Kganakga, Chief Director: HIV/Aids, DSD, added that R1.5 million had been provided by the German Development Bank into child headed household research, and tenders for the research had closed on 19 March. The Department expected the first draft in November and needed to plan how this information would be used. In terms of schools reporting on child headed households, she said that DSD had implemented a programme for reporting, but this was expensive. A pilot programme had been set up in Free State, and centres of orphan care facilitators were being set up.

Mr Madonsela said that that referral systems were in place as often children were not old enough to make decisions.

Ms Kganakga said the orphan database had been budgeted at R76 million and so far some 700 000 orphans had been identified throughout the various regions at virtually zero cost. The test came on whether the information was accurate when tested in the field.

Mr Madonsela said the Ministry had always been reluctant to place those children heading up households into orphanages, as they often had community support. However, communities were not always capable of carrying out this support in the long time. He added that there was no empirical evidence that children in orphanages performed below par in school results compared to children in family homes.

Mr Pakade commented that the national department was responsible for setting policy, but provinces were responsible for budget allocation. The challenge lay in meeting the service delivery gaps. DSD was working with the National Treasury to meet these gaps. In terms of integrated monitoring, the improved IT programmes had facilitated an electronic process of monitoring on provincial spending, which could be done quickly and easily.

Ms X Makasi  (ANC) raised several questions on the funding of NGOs.

Dr Mabetoa said the Department was investigating the funding and operations.

Adv Masutha asked about access to disability grants. He pointed out that many people would wait until they were in the final stages of illness, particularly when their illness arose through HIV and Aids, before applying.

Mr Madonsela said there was no specific grant related to HIV/Aids, and people had access to the disability grant, as long as their CD counts remained below the accepted level for the grant. If it was raised, then the grant would be stopped. However the Department was facilitating a grant for chronic illness, including HIV.

The Chairperson said further discussions would be deferred to the next meeting, when there would be more time for discussion.

The meeting was adjourned.

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