03 May 2021 - NW400
van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development
In light of the fact that her department did away with the issuing of food parcels when it became riddled with corruption and a voucher system was introduced (details furnished), what is the current status with regard to these food vouchers?
The Social Development Sector has not stopped the provision of food parcels as a form of relief completely. A number of the Provincial Departments of Social development still provide food parcels as an immediate form of relief for citizens facing severe challenges and food insecurity.
The sector has agreed to implement a hybrid model for the provision of assistance. This will entail a combination of food parcels, cash and food vouchers, depending on circumstances, and availability of service providers.
The interim decision not to continue issuing food parcels as the main form of social relief of distress by National Department of Social Development and SASSA was informed by a number of factors, including the costs, extensive logistics for the receipt, storage and issuing of food parcels as well as the lack of dignity for the citizens who receive the food parcels.
A decision was then made to explore alternative options for the provision of support for citizens who find themselves in situations of distress. The options considered include the provision of social relief in the form of cash as well as vouchers. Manual vouchers are already being utilised by SASSA and some provincial Departments of Social Development, such as KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng.
Initially the intention was to go on an open tender for an e-voucher solution as another option to be considered. However, given that some organisations, including the Solidarity Fund were piloting an e-voucher solution, it was agreed that the tender would rather be converted to a Request for Information (RFI) to determine what innovations exist in the market, and to have the opportunity to learn from the pilot implemented by the Solidarity Fund.
The RFI has been drafted and will be advertised in the new year. It will cover the entire social development sector, not only SASSA. This will then ensure that the hybrid model of support is implemented fully.
National Assembly Written Reply: 400 of 2021