Hansard: First Order: Debate on Budget Vote No 16 - Social Development: Appropriation Bill
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 30 May 2008
No summary available.
EPC – COMMITTEE ROOM: E249
Friday, 30 May 2008
FRIDAY, 30 MAY 2008
PROCEEDINGS OF EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE – COMMITTEE ROOM E249
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in Committee Room E249 at 09:05.
The House Chairperson Mr G Q M Doidge, as Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
END OF TAKE
Vote No 16: Social Development
Start of Day
Debate on Budget Vote No 16 - Social Development:
Mr M J ELLIS: Chairperson, before the hon Minister speak, may I point out that the opposition outnumber the ANC this morning and consequently I believe we should straight to a vote.
The CHAIRPERSON: Please take your seat, hon member. Mr Ellis, may I remind you that this is an extended public committee. You are a little bit ambitious very early on a Friday morning. Maybe the weather has got something to do with it.
Mr M J ELLIS: There is no harm in trying, Chairperson.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Good morning everybody. Hon Chairperson, hon Deputy Minister, MECs for Social Development here present, hon members of Parliament, distinguished guests, representatives of civil society in the public gallery, ladies and gentlemen, it has been said that poverty is the worst form of violence against humanity. In the last few weeks we have witnessed the brutality and dehumanising effects of poverty in the xenophobic attacks that have plunged our country into the heart of darkness. During times like these, we are reminded in the words of our struggle hero, Steven Bantu Biko, when he wrote in I write what I like and where he alludes to the spirit of Ubuntu: "We reject the power-based society that seems to be concerned with them perfecting, like technological know how. We believe that in the long run, the special contribution to the world where Africans will be giving the world a more humane face."
The recent attacks on foreign nationals and including some South Africans, do not project a humane society. Whatever the motives and whoever the sinister sources of this violence, we will not tolerate this onslaught meted against other African brothers and sisters in these incidents. We are inseparable from our brothers within our own continent – we are Africans and part and parcel of Africa. This compels us to ask, how far have we progressed? Have human relations improved or degenerated since the dark days of apartheid?
Budget Vote 16 affords us an opportunity to elaborate on our collective contribution towards a more humane society, most humane world, which are prerequisite to a caring society. In taking stock of this contribution, we must also remember the contributions of our fallen heroes and heroines. These veterans who have lived exemplary lives towards securing a more humane world include those who have left us in this past year, amongst them, General Masondo, Sihle Mbongwa, Kevin Qhobosheane, Zoli Malindi and Frances Schoon.
Vote 16 also offers us an opportunity to take stock of our actions towards halving global poverty by the year 2015. For us poverty remains a global priority challenge and an evil which continues in its extreme form to directly affected over one billion faceless people around the world.
The 8 January statement of the African National Congress directs us to do all that is in our collective power to ensure that our response to poverty empower people to access economic opportunities, while creating a comprehensive social safety net to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.
In 1999 we committed ourselves to renewing our call for a better quality of life for all. The objective, we believed, could only be pursued and achieved by embarking on a social transformation journey; based on an integrated and comprehensive social welfare system as a basis for a more people-orientated society.
At the time of embarking on this journey we made note of the then prevailing state of the nation, which was characterised by persistent and deepening poverty, which was accompanied by social alienations. At that time, already, violence against children, women and the elderly was an affront to our society. These issues were compounded by the objective nature of the two-way relationship between HIV/AIDS and poverty. What has happened since then?
Our social development outlook as spelt out in the Ten Point Plan afforded us the opportunity to realise and affirm the worth of the dignity of our people as critical contributors to the nation building and development projects. In seeking to harness this contribution I have attended 2065 community-based izimbizos since taking office in 1999.
The views of these very important members of our society lie at the centre of the Vision 2014. Vision 2014 is premised on the Freedom Charter and provides a framework for a more humane world. Vision 2014 places people at the centre of all our strategies and integrates economic and social outcomes. The successful implementation of this strategy promises a country with a more humane face. Vision 2014 has also guided the Department of Social Development and linked it to some of our more notable achievements. For instance, in April 1999, only 36 000 children received the child support grant, compared to 334 000 in March 2000 and 1,9 million children by April 2002. These are not only numbers, but are also an indication of government's commitment to reach the poorest of the poor without favour or discrimination.
This, along with the need to address pressing societal challenges, has been responsible for the average expenditure growth in excess of 28,8 percent between 2001-2 and 2003-4. This expenditure grew at an average of 12,1 % between 2004-5 and 2007-8, with a projected growth rate of 10,4 % over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period leading to 2010.
While the bulk of this incremental expenditure has been on social assistance grants, we remain determined to diversify our strategies. This would contribute to a more sustained human and community development trajectory.
It was President Nelson Mandela who once said: "There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." Income support to those in need will remain an important contributor to the development of our children, but, it is not the only measure. Consequently, this Budget Vote seeks to improve our empowerment, prevention and early intervention strategies which lie at the heart of our childcare, protection and development approaches.
Allow me to take this opportunity to thank the hon members of this House who have throughout my years in this portfolio embraced these fundamentals. In particular I wish to thank the previous and current chairs and members of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development. Their most recent act of facilitating the passing of the Children's Amendment Bill has indeed ushered in a new era in the protection and care of children.
For our part, we have allocated over R22 million in this financial year towards the protection of children. These resources will be directed at standardising and accelerating delivery in the areas covered by the Act.
Since our remaining challenges are the resourcing of implementation, we have also finalised a set of draft regulations for public discussions. In order to get South Africa ready to implement the Children's Act, we will increase awareness on the legislation and draft regulations whilst accelerating service delivery to children.
As we have illustrated earlier, we have faired reasonably well in the promotion of income security of our children through the Care Dependency, Child Support and Foster Care Grants. We currently distribute the CSG to over 8,6 million children. It is also our medium term aim to increase qualification age limit for the CSG up to the 18th birthday, resources willing and enabling.
However, a world with a more humane face requires us to guarantee further and sustainable employment and income opportunities for the parents and caregivers of these children. As directed by the Polokwane agreements, we would table proposals on the phased introduction of conditional basic income support. Our attention would be focussed on the most vulnerable who survive outside our social security. This will break the cycle which has made poverty an inevitable intergenerational inheritance based on the station of one's birth.
Education and health are fundamental to breaking this cycle. In pursuance of these ideals we are exploring specific conditionalities which would amongst others encourage healthy life styles and quality education for our children. Because the needs of children are ever increasing we will in the meantime increase the CSG to R220 in October this year.
The conclusions of the State of the World's Children Report 2008 direct us to strengthen local childcare and development initiatives. We have therefore launched the registration drive for Early Childhood Development centres. The implementation of a comprehensive Early Childhood Development programme is a cornerstone of investing in this country's future and we will strive to ensure an improvement in both the quality and spread of these centres so that they are accessible to as many children as possible. And we depend mostly in doing that on the support basically of the members of this House and more importantly on civil society, especially, the nongovernmental faith-based organisations.
To deepen these efforts, we must also strengthen our measures directed at orphans and vulnerable children. To date over 237 000 orphans and vulnerable children have benefited from the department's OVC programme. Our orphans and vulnerable children programme encourages children from households headed by children to remain and participate within the communities of their birth. This contributes to integrated community based care, which is in the best interests of the children concerned. It would be remiss if I did not recognise the efforts of thousands of volunteers, mainly women in the 1 700 organisations rendering Community Home-Based Care programmes nationally. Although this number might seem big, 237 000, there are still many children who are entitled to this who are not getting it because of many difficulties they face.
A humane face requires that the society treats the elderly with all the deserved respect and dignity.
This is at the heart of the Madrid plan of action on ageing; and that is what has motivated us to progressively realise age equality with regards to the qualification for the old age grant. The phasing in will be implemented as follows; 63-64 year old men in 2008 once the law is amended; 61-62 year old men in 2009; 60 year olds in 2010. I urge all eligible to wait patiently until the Social Assistance Amendment Bill is passed during the course of this year. We have, in the meantime, decided to increase the old age grant to R940.00.
A more human world is one in which the elderly; upon reaching retirement age; can secure their own livelihood. This is an essential pillar to overcome poverty among the elderly and the motive behind is to introduce a Mandatory Retirement Scheme. We will continue to explore appropriate retirement reform provisions which will address the needs of the poor together with the National Economic development and labour Council, NEDLAC. In the meantime, we have set aside approximately R8 million in this financial year in order to develop and deliver the necessary architecture.
Hon members, the Social Security measures form part of an integrated strategy to meet the needs of the poor children, youths and older persons. However, our preliminary reviews also confirm that the impact of inflation has not only eroded the values of the grants, but also those whose income has increased as a result of inflation related wage adjustment have been excluded. Consequently, it has raised a value of all grants from 1 April 2008. The old age, disability and care dependency grants increased from R870 last year to R940. The foster care grants to R650. These increases will go a towards mitigating the impact of inflation.
However, nonadjustment of the means test over the years, including, the child support and old age grants has kept many people out of the social security system. This is coupled with; beyond prediction; the higher rates which has led to the erosion of the values of these grants. Consequently, we have agreed to work towards the removal of the archaic means test on certain grant types. This will consequently remove the urban-rural qualification division whilst raising the threshold to R2 200 per month for those who get the child support, old age, and disability grants; and R9 400 per month for foster care grant.
This exercise will, however, pose a fiscal challenge which may require either a gradual phasing out of the means test or recommendation of the tax threshold levels. All these reforms in our social security system will go a long way towards widening the social security safety net and may see the entry into the system of 2 million deserving people. To effectively do so, I will promulgate the regulations to the Social Assistance Act.
In the meantime, the South African Security Agency, SASSA, has been apportioned a budget of R4,5 billion for the 2008-09 period in order to facilitate a pro-active service delivery. These initiatives include the Integrated Community Registration Outreach Programme, ICROP. This flagship programme involves the participation of the Department of Social Development, DSD, the Department of Home Affairs, Department of Education, and the Department of Health as well as the South African Police Service. The programme has also revolutionarised turn around times for the processing and application. It is now possible for an application to be approved on the same day.
To complement this work and provide a direct assistance to poverty and vulnerability in the context of rising food prices, we will do whatever we can to ensure that every qualifying and vulnerable citizen receives the Social Relief of Distress Grant; irrespective of having the appropriate documentation. The Social Relief of Distress Measures is designed to address temporary provision of assistance to those in dire situations. An amount of R124 million has been allocated in this financial year to meet these needs and to complement our integrated response to these crises.
To improve our capacity to develop policy and deliver services, we will be embarking on a number of measures to improve our institutional coherence. These include: The streamlining of various boards of management that govern social relief environment; the implementation of the recruitment and retention strategy for Social Services Professionals; the strengthening of corporative governance in the department and agencies through introducing amendments to SASSA and the National development Agency, NDA, Acts. This will be accompanied by the strengthening of our Social Grants Appeal Tribunal processes.
In the next three years, we are going to embark on our youth development programme which seeks to inform and transform young people from passive recipients of services to active agents of social and developmental change. This programme is known as the Masupatsela Youth Programme. In the next coming months, we will have our first intake of 1 950 Masupatsela youth. They will be our foot soldiers as we deliver the various programmes targeted at energy efficiency, poverty eradication and early childhood development. This programme will also complement our National Youth Service Programme, wherein, we are already train young people to be social service support personnel.
The promotion of a more stable and cohesive society, is a priority for government and the department. Our unique contribution is through programmes aimed in preventing social crimes and improving the skills and roles of parents, guardians and others who take care of children. In this regard, we have published the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse Bill for public comment. The Deputy Minister will reflect more on this, as well as other attached initiatives.
Together with other department in the Justice Crime Prevention and Security, JCPS, Cluster, the DSD has enhanced measures to tackle family violence and child abuse, by facilitating the establishment of shelters and intensifying the Victim Empowerment Programmes. These will be complement actions and programmes emanating from the Victims' Charter and the minimum standards on service for Victims of Crime.
We cannot reverse the negative consequences of social crime and development, unless we strengthen community organisation and the civil society sector. In this regard, the National Development Agency continues to play a critical role in ensuring cohesive communities. Since the year 2000, the NDA has received an amount of R787 million to undertake this enormous task. Despite these modest resources, the NDA has managed to support 2 100 Community Based Organisations, Non-governmental Organisations, and Faith Based Organisations thus directly benefiting over 414 000 beneficiaries.
This year, the NDA will receive R136.6 million. If we are to build cohesive communities through the NDA, we must do everything in our power to support the NDA in its effort to uplift poverty. In contrast, corporate South Africa reaches three billion rand milestone of total annual Corporate Social Investment Spend. Although, we thank and note the contribution of that sector, we also take this opportunity to invite the private sector to explore further strategic partnership opportunities with the public sector through the NDA. The task of eradicating poverty and give this world a more human face cannot be undertaken by one sector only.
We have pursued all these above measures because we remain firm in our belief that a country with a more human face is the critical foundation for our world that cares. In order to promote continental peace and security amongst the most vulnerable, we hosted the International Conference on Comprehensive Social Security for Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Livelihoods in Africa, from 10-14 March 2008. This confirms that our country is becoming a centre of excellence and the destination of choice for many social service professionals. Consequently, we will co-host the 34th Biannual Congress of the International Association of Schools of Social Work from 20-24 July 2008; and the International Social Security Association on the 30th International Conference during 2010.
In pursuance of lasting peace and sustainable development we will continue to work with our brothers and sisters in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, Sudan and Zimbabwe. This work cannot be possibly undertaken without the support of local and international organisations.
Chairperson, I want to conclude by extending my heartfelt appreciation to our Deputy Minister, Dr Jean Swanson-Jacobs, the Members of the Executive Committees for Social Development, the Director General and the Heads of Social Development, the Chief executive Officer, CEO, of the Public Entities, and all staff in the national and provincial departments for their hard work and support.
I want to remind you of the utterances of Chris Hani that; a new South Africa will be meaningless if the problems of the millions of poor were not tackled. The perks of a new government are not really appealing to me. For me what is important is the continuation of the struggle and we must accept that the struggle is always continuing and we'll continue.
Today, I stand proud and firm in our belief that the social development has contributed towards this struggle for a world with a more human face. A feat, we could have not achieved if it wasn't for the millions of our dedicated officials and volunteers in local authorities and organisations. I've been honoured to walk the journey of welfare to social development with them.
Qinani Maqabane, ndithi nangomso. [Be strong, comrades. I urge you.]
Your contribution have ensured that South Africa and the world have a more human face. All hands should continue to be on deck. I thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]
Mr T M MASUTHA
END OF TAKE
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr T M MASUTHA: Mutshama wa xitulu, Holobye Dokodela Zola Skweyiya wa nhluvukisa wa rixaka na mpfuneti wa yena Dr Jean Benjamin, ndzi hlaya kambe na n'wina hinkwenu swirho wa yindlu leyo hlonipheka, na varhangeri vakulukumba va ndzawulo ya National Development Agency na va Social Security Agency lava va nga kona. Ndzi ri eka hinkwenu, xewani, ndza mi losa.
Mhaka leyi hi nga hlengeletana hi yona namunthla leyi yi nga mayelana na kavanyisiwa ka timali ka na n'wanaka ku langutana na timhaka ta nhluvukiso wa rixaka i mhaka leyi kulukumba swinene hikuva i mhaka leyi fambisanaka na nyimpi leyi hi ngas ka yona yo lwa na vusweti, ndlala na ku pfunela ku hlukisa rixaka ra hina. Loko ndzi nga si ya emahlweni, ndzi lava ku katsa ra mina rito, eka marito lawa ya nga rangisiwa ku sola ku xanisiwa loku ku nga va kona eka mavhiki mambirhi lawa ya nga hundza eka vanhu lava humaka eka matiko ya le handle, na ku katsa ku xanisiwa ka vanhu va tiko ra hina, hi vanhu lava ngari ki na ku xixima, vutihlamuleri, lava nga onha nhundzu ya vanhu, va vavisa no dlaya vanhu lava ngariki na nandzu. Swilo swi a swi fambelani na ndlela leyi hina maAfrika na laha Afrika Dzonga hi hanyisaka xiswona. A yi fambelani na xintu xa hina.
Hina hi ri va ANC hi nkhensa swinene vanhu lawa nga na malwandla va koteke ku pfuneta vanhu lava nga xanisiwa.
On behalf of the ANC I wish to join the overwhelming majority of our people in condemning unreservedly the callous and wanton attacks on people and the destruction of property that the nation and the world witnessed in recent weeks, resulting from xenophobic and criminal attacks on many innocent lives.
These attacks were clearly orchestrated by a group of people who were organised and who with malicious intent exploited legitimate concerns of our people and the innocence of our youth, spared neither life nor limb as they visited untold human suffering, not only upon people of foreign descent but on local people as well.
It is times such as these that must remind us of who we are; what we stand for and of our vision of an African Renaissance, so aptly articulated by our President Thabo Mbeki in his famous speech, "I am an African"; and many other great leaders of this continent - which I will not list at this point in time.
As the ANC, we wish to express our most sincere appreciation to all the people of goodwill for their sterling work in responding swiftly to the plight of the thousands of victims and affording them sorely needed relief in the form of shelter, blankets, food and clothing.
Fourteen years into democracy the ANC and the ANC led-government remain committed to upholding the ideals of the Freedom Charter towards creating a better life for all our people.
In working to achieve this goal, in particular the provision of security and comfort for all, government has followed a path that sought to ensure the provision of comprehensive social protection services against vulnerability and poverty to as many people who are in great need as possible.
In December 2007, the ANC took the opportunity at its National Conference to evaluate progress in the implementation of government's social sector programmes of action. It acknowledged that much progress has been made in the area of social development but cognisant of the fact that much work still needed to be done to ensure sustainable development for our people.
In the area of the first pillar, that is basic noncontributory social security, we have made significant progress as the Minister has just outlined. Currently over 12 millions South Africans, for example, receive social grants, ensuring direct income support and social protection to millions who otherwise would have continued to be marginalised and poor.
The vast majority of the beneficiaries of social grants are children. This is in line with one of the critical resolutions adopted by the conference in Limpopo namely that of addressing child poverty as a priority. Numerous research studies have confirmed the poverty alleviation impact of our social assistance program.
In addition, research commissioned by the department into the social and economic impact of the social security system showed that grants increase people's capacity to engage in the labour market and access gainful employment.
We therefore welcome the increased allocations set aside in this financial year of R6,9 billion and an additional R19 billion over the Management Term Expenditure Framework period for the further extension of Child Support Grants to children up to 14 years and the phased in expansion of the grant to the children between the ages of 15 and 18.
As the ANC we wish to express our most sincere ... sorry I am repeating myself.
As announced earlier this year, government has increased the old age, disability care dependency and foster care grants in line with inflation which also deserve an applause bearing in mind the ever rising costs of living particularly for the poor and low income sectors of our society.
In this regard we want to congratulate the department for putting systems in place to address capacity challenges due to the acceptably low ratio of staff to beneficiaries amongst other things. We call on the department to continue to enhance its capacity in areas where there have been substantial inadequacies. These include administrative and institutional reform human resource development and fraud prevention and detection.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Order! hon members, you are not using the head sets. Can you switch them off because they are causing feedback into the system that is what is causing the whistle sound. So can you please turn them off if you are not using them. Comrade Mike can you speak little bit more into the microphone. The sound system here is not as good as the one in the Chamber.
Mr T M MASUTHA: I was trying to face the Chair as I speak.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Okay, I understand. I know the opposition is not as good-looking as I am, but it is alright. [Laughter.]
Mr T M MASUTHA: And I hope you will allocate me more minutes following this interception. Are you going to initiate a crash course for members to learn to use these sophisticated gadgets?
Chairperson, may I also take this opportunity to acknowledge that in a number of areas the department has improved the capacity of the grant system to ensure that the right person receives the right amount, at the right time and in a manner that respects their dignity. This goes to SA Social Security Agency in particular.
The integrity of our grant administration system is a critical success factor, authentic documentation of the identity of beneficiaries, however, remains and ongoing challenge as the Department of Home Affairs is responsible for the integrity of the population register, close collaboration between the two departments and Sassa is crucial in this regard.
To those persons who have used the opportunity and have come forward to request that the payment of grants be stopped for which they are no longer allegeable, we express our gratitude. This had resulted in savings that as result more people deserving benefiting.
With regards to those public servants and syndicates behind the fraud, Minister, we applaud the efforts of your department, Sassa and other state agencies to interrogate key government personnel databases in partnership with the state information technology agency, the government employee pension fund, the government's employee salary system, Persal, and the Departments of Home Affairs, Justice and Correctional Services.
In accordance with our people's expectations, the South African Social Security Agency Act, which this Parliament passed, ushered in a new era of social service delivery. We must, however, ensure that we have the quality of cadreship to deliver and monitor social security to ensure that appropriate services are delivered in an efficient way. We therefore call on the department to continue to train and recruit staff in social security to enhance capacity and improve service delivery at all levels.
The ANC's Polokwane Conference reiterated that central to the success of a viable and sustainable social protection system is its ability to enable those functioning in the peripheries of the second economy to take advantage of opportunities in the first economy whilst promoting less dependence on the state.
The acceleration of government's social sector plan for the Expanded Public Works Programme that seeks to build on a compressive social security system, whilst providing appropriate skills development and work opportunities is therefore critical.
Now more than ever more attention should be given to the needs of those who find themselves in the second economy in all our efforts. The work conducted in the context of the Expanded Public Work programme has enhanced the work done in the department's HIV and Aids programme which has supported over 60 000 orphans and vulnerable children.
I take this opportunity to salute the efforts of the thousands of caregivers who continue to care for those affected by HIV and Aids. However, partnerships with the partners with the private and civil society sectors which seek to co-ordinate national efforts for the care of orphaned and vulnerable children must be improved. Through these partnerships better co-ordination of inputs for the care of these children can be achieved. We must address the challenges confronting us and create and environment that protects and promotes the rights of children.
Last year, the portfolio committee passed comprehensive child care legislation and as we are celebrating Child Protection Week, various stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors, as the Minister announced earlier in his speech, converged in Boksburg over the past three days to discuss strategies for the effective implementation of this law.
Social development services have largely been delivered by civil society organisations operating in what has generally been called the third sector. Funding for this sector remains a challenge and more attention from both the national and provincial spheres of government.
Let me conclude by expressing our sincere gratitude for the tireless efforts of many volunteers amongst our people who continue to provide solemnly needed services to the poor and the vulnerable to ensure that they too are able to survive and develop. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms J A SEMPLE
END OF TAKE
Mr T M MASUTHA
Mr D V BLOEM: Don't disappoint us!
Ms J A SEMPLE: Chairperson, what can I say to hon Bloem? The DA joins the hon Minister and hon Masutha in expressing our shame and horror at the recent xenophobic attacks. I, personally, would like to thank the Gift of the Givers, the Methodist Church, the Red Cross, and other nongovernmental organisations who have worked tirelessly at the people camping outside the Primrose police station - I am sure my sister, Dorothy, knows what I am referring to – for their efforts in making life a little more comfortable for the victims of these attacks.
It is well known that the Department of Social Development spends about 93% of its budget on social security grants for the most vulnerable South Africans: the elderly, the disabled, and children in need. In the current financial year this will amount to over R70 billion to be spent on approximately 25% of the population. Clearly, there will always be South Africans who need state support to survive and, like all those who believe in a more humane society, the Democratic Alliance supports this concept.
However, the Human – this is the however, Dennis – however, the Human Rights Development Report, released last week, found that the number of South Africans living in poverty has substantially increased and it is this growing number of people, who often do not qualify for social grants, that we must address with urgency.
Steeply rising food prices have put a huge burden on the budgets of most South Africans, but it is the poor who spend a disproportionate amount of their meagre income on food, so it hits them the hardest. South Africa needs both short and long-term creative solutions to deal with the crisis and to protect the poorest of the poor.
Contrary to recent suggestions from the likes of Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who maintains that a statutory cap on food prices should be considered – the Democratic Alliance believes that targeted safety nets such as food vouchers are preferable to regulatory interventions as they support the purchasing power of the poor without distorting domestic production incentives and are sustainable in the short term.
According to the World Bank, cash or near-cash transfers to vulnerable groups are the first best policy options to adopt when addressing food insecurity, as these options boost the purchasing power of the poor without distorting the incomes of food sellers.
Food-based safety net programmes are designed to support adequate levels of consumption and assure the livelihoods of recipients. They are tied to the provision of food, either directly, or through the provision of cash-like instruments such as food vouchers which can then be used to purchase food. Food-based safety net programmes contribute to a household's purchasing power and free up income for other uses.
The most common types of food-based transfers are supplementary feeding programmes, food for work programmes and food stamp programmes. Food stamps or voucher programmes provide stamps that may be used to provide food – or particular foods. The stamps may either be denominated in value terms or in terms of specific food quantities. As food stamps can be used in local stores, they strengthen local retail outlets.
In light of the current crisis, and its detrimental effect on the poor, near-cash transfers in the form of food vouchers must be distributed. The DA believes this to be an appropriate response to the prevailing crisis as it would neither distort the market, nor would it have the perverse effect of regulated prices as we have seen in Zimbabwe. In addition, it is reversible: once the need for the assistance moderates, it can either be reduced or withdrawn.
Given the destabilising effect of rising food prices, Minister, a sense of urgency is needed. As such, we propose that food vouchers be given to both the narrowly defined unemployed and the so-called discouraged jobseekers to the value of R50 per month. The vouchers will not be redeemable for the purchase of alcoholic beverages or cigarettes, Deputy Minister.
It is important to note that the function of the food voucher differs from that of the Basic Income Grant. In our alternative budget, the DA budgeted for a BIG of R120 per month for all South Africans earning less than R7500 per annum who are not receiving another state grant. The role of the food voucher is to replace the purchasing power that has been lost to vulnerable groups due to rampant food price inflation.
One of the groups most vulnerable to rampant food price inflation is the unemployed, particularly because these individuals do not receive social security assistance from the government in the form of an unemployment grant. We propose that the voucher programme will run for 12 months only. At the end of the 12 months, government must reassess the need for the vouchers.
Finally, the DA proposes that the vouchers be issued through post offices, the various offices of the Department of Social Development and multipurpose community centres.
The DA also supports the idea of childcare grants being linked to immunisation and school attendance, hon Minister, as this would enable health, education and grants to be linked – as you have already mentioned – and these are all essential components of the fight against poverty. We urge you to put this into practice as soon as possible and we look forward to hearing your recommendations.
We also urge that school feeding schemes be expanded to extend beyond primary school up to, and including, Grade 12. In addition, the scope of the schemes should be extended to make sure that the most disadvantaged schools are included.
Minister, Programme 3 of the Department of Social Development is to ensure that nonprofit organisations, known as NPOs, are adequately funded to improve welfare service delivery. South Africa is indeed fortunate to have many hundreds of nonprofit organisations which do incredible work in making our country a better place for its entire people.
It is well known that organisations such as these struggle to raise funds and so the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund was established by government to distribute funds rose through the national lottery to needy organisations. Research conducted by the DA shows that this body is not functioning effectively.
The result is that many ill, hungry, illiterate, disabled and poor South Africans are not receiving the care from these organisations that they would otherwise receive. Hon Minster, we would ask you to please find out why these organisations are not receiving the funds from the NLDTF that is needed for their essential work to be done for the poor and disadvantaged. I thank you.
Mrs I MARS
END OF TAKE
Ms J A SEMPLE
Mrs I MARS: Chairperson, hon Minister, Deputy Minister, colleagues and guests, we are very proud that South Africa has an effective social assistance programme, injecting desperately needed cash into our disadvantaged communities, and this assistance has escalated in 14 years from 2,5 million recipients to over 12,7 million and it does assist approximately 28% of our fellow citizens.
Let me take this opportunity to agree with responsible international research, that most people would prefer to work to free them from the bondage of poverty, and that social transfers do not necessarily result in promoting a dependency culture so often stated by its critics.
People's self-worth is much greater when able to pursue a career path however humble, to be able to take care of their responsibility towards family and communities. This party has always promoted self-help and applauded efforts to better the lives of the individual and the community, whilst supporting the current need, resulting directly from our recent past and current global uncertainties, for social transfers.
We have already indicated in the debate of the Social Assistance Bill that we are pleased that steps have finally been taken to fulfil our constitutional responsibility of equalising the pensionable age for all South African citizens. We thank the Minister for his commitment to dealing with the issue of the means test and await his proposals with interest.
The Minister will recall that we were very supportive of the report of the committee of inquiry into a Comprehensive System of Social Security for South Africa published and debated in 2002, and it is assuring that the matter of contributory social insurance systems is under consideration, and the assurance given by the Minister that the proposed national security fund does not pose a threat to existing retirement funds. It is good to deal with wrong perceptions and speculation in this pre-emptive manner.
Now I would like to deal with a matter of great concern to me and I am sure, everyone in this House, by speaking about the lack of documentation of many entitled to social grants. We understand, of course, that this is a shared responsibility between the Departments of Social Development and Home Affairs. There are a number of us from different parties who serve on both portfolio committees and as such, have not been able to figure out what needs to happen to ensure delivery of grants to all those entitled to them.
Surely there must be a way of ensuring that all South Africans, and especially children, have access to the required documentation. We need to find an answer to this.
In the matter of access to grants, let me refer to a recent research document and I quote: In our region in the Eastern Cape, only about 55 out of 300 eligible children receive the Child Support Grant. The reason for this is that most people in our community - the poorest district in South Africa according to Statistics SA 2002 - can't afford the R100 taxi fare to get to Home Affairs in Mthatha. This trip has to be done a number of times to get a death certificate, birth certificate, identity document, etc. So, what we are dealing with here, is that Social Development has lived up to section 27(1) of our Constitution. However, Social Development is frequently unable to deliver to our most vulnerable citizens, because another department is failing to document our citizens and our children in particular.
We believe that a task force, involving NGOs working in these areas, is required to solve this ongoing problem. Our children are our future but, despite child-friendly legislation, we are still recording exceptionally high levels of child poverty, which correlates with poor health outcomes and reduced access to education.
We also note that clients of the South African Social Security Agency are still experiencing problems and I list a report just from one area. The problems listed are: insufficient money at payouts, necessitating service delays as more money is procured; and long queues, with old people waiting without shelter, chairs and basic sanitation, for example portable toilets.
We are asked: where can we lodge complaints? What are the minimum requirements for a paypoint? What is the maximum number of clients per paypoint? How many SASSA staff should there be per paypoint? What is the maximum time allowed to complete servicing clients per paypoint?
With this information on hand, MPs would be able to monitor paypoints in their constituencies and ensure a reasonably pleasant environment for our clients.
Much progress has been achieved under the leadership of the Minister and the Deputy Minister and we thank him, the chairman of the portfolio committee and the department for all efforts to ensure a better life for the most vulnerable people in South African society - the aged, the children, and the physically challenged. I thank you. The IFP supports the Budget Vote.
Mrs H BOGOPANE-ZULU
END OF TAKE
Mrs I MARS
Mrs H I BOGOPANE-ZULU: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to take you on a journey of a number of vulnerable children in this country. Before I do that, let me also add my voice to what the Minister and all the other members have said with regard to the experiences that we have seen happening in South Africa to a point that these experiences also displaced, amongst the most, vulnerable children. As a disabled person, I think this also increased the number of disabled people because some of the people who have been injured acquired permanent disabilities. It is very sad that it is the Department of Social Development that, to an extent, might have to pick these people up because this department deals with the effects of what everybody else does somewhere else. They tend to have to pick up the emotional and physical scars that are left.
We have done a lot in terms of supporting children in this country. We have ratified the required UN conventions and the required regional conventions.
But we have also gone a step further to domesticate these laws. In having done so, we have continued to commit ourselves to putting the children first and also creating a better South Africa for children. But as we take this journey, we need to ask a number of questions so that we are able to answer and evaluate ourselves whether we have arrived where we are going. One of the questions that I want to ask this morning is: What have we done? Let us look back to determine whether we have implemented effectively to the best of our ability the National Plan of Action for Children that we are all committed to. The Department of Social Development plays a significant role in the success of this plan. Have we ensured that the Office on the Rights of the Child, even though it's placed in the Presidency, plays the role it is supposed to play to ensure that all our departments, including the Department of Social Development, are monitored to ensure that they improve the lives of children? Have we ensured that those in the department tasked with the responsibility to improve the lives of children do so with all the passion as if they were doing it for their own children? I have mixed feelings in answering all those questions.
Let me start by painting a picture of an orphaned child. Hon Minister, whether you read the paper or listen to the members of this House sometimes, you will hear about Aids orphans. I sit there every time and ask myself what colour that child is. An orphan is an orphan irrespective of what took the parents of that child away. [Applause.] By calling children "Aids orphans" we further put a cross on them. We further make them carry a heavy burden and make them pay for something they don't know about. So, hon Minister, it is important that your department assists by starting with a nice booklet that explains to hon members why we should not label children - the terminology we use to describe them. I think we all agree that the children that are given to us are blank. Whatever they know, they learnt from us. So, it is important that in the urge to create a caring society, we take note of the language we use when we talk about children.
We also need to take cognisance of the basket of services we need. As the hon Semple said, we are faced with a challenge of a gap for children who do not qualify for a grant. What are we doing with these children? We need to create a basket of services. We have actually created that basket of services. The only challenge we have is how we co-ordinate it. I hope and pray that Social Development will play the role of ensuring that they call on all other departments to consolidate these services so that they reach a child in a package. Some of these services have already been sent - the nutrition school programme and the subsidy of school fees. At the end of the day, if Social Development can find a way of packaging these as a basket of services to children, we will all go home smiling and then create a better South Africa for the children.
But we have a lot of stigma and discrimination that happens in the process of service delivery. We find that children in urban areas tend to get better services of good quality than our children in rural areas. Children in rural areas are already discriminated against on the basis of their geographical location. Maybe it would really help if the services provided by the Department of Social Development could take a detour – what they say is "sho't left" in tourism – to rural areas and prioritise rather than find ourselves packaging more and more services for urban communities.
It would also be helpful if we could ensure the full participation of children so that they can tell us what they need because we can hear them better. They don't know the ANC or the DA or the IFP. All they want are services. So, to an extent, if we all come together to listen to them, they will be able to tell us what it is that they need, and we will be better informed to be able to package the services to respond to their needs.
I must say, hon Minister, I'm very happy as a parent of two disabled children that this budget has actually doubled the provision of services to children with disabilities - ending a long isolation process in which parents of disabled children found themselves carrying this burden of lack of services alone. [Applause.] I'm proud to say that this budget empowers parents of disabled children. I hope, practically at programme level, parents of disabled children will become partners in providing the services that their children need. I believe that nobody knows a child better than its parent. So, I hope that the professionals tasked with the responsibility of providing these required services are going to ensure that they partner with parents because parents know their children better. They might be illiterate, but they raised the child, lived with the child and can tell more about the child.
Hon Minister, when the committee passed the Children's Act, we left out a number of areas. As Social Development, whether we like it or not, we tend to be the once on whose doorstep everything that has a particular impact on society lands. We did not do justice to the services required by refugee children. I know that refugee children end up on the doorstep of Home Affairs. But the truth is that we said in the Children's Act that when a child is in need, you respond to the need of the child and ask questions later. [Applause.]. But that did not actually do justice to refugee children. So, I would hope that with the able leadership of the Minister's team, Social Development is going to play a significant role in pushing Home Affairs to draw up a legislative framework that will do justice to refugee children. Such a framework will enable that when Social Development jumps in and provides an immediate emergency intervention, somebody will then be able to follow it up so that that child does not remain in Social Development or in an emergency setting longer than it is required.
Let me talk about children in conflict with the law. Even though they belong to Correctional Services and Justice, we all know the realities of those children ... [Interjections.]
Can I have some water please?
Mr D V BLOEM: Here's some water, mama [ma'am]. [Laughter.]
Mrs H I BOGOPANE-ZULU: Thank you, hon Bloem. Unfortunately, whenever children are in conflict with the law require access to Justice, they still end up on the doorstep of Social Development. The social workers that need to write the required reports end up liaising with Social Development. So, I hope that we all acknowledge the reality that we do not have enough social workers. Therefore, we are all going to come together and look at innovative ways to ensure that we defer children away from the justice system as much as we can. We must make the Child Justice Act a reality so that finally, after so many years, we can get it through Parliament so that Social Development can get into action and develop systems that they need to ensure that these children access Justice.
As I am talking about children in conflict with the law, what is also sad is, that I am asking myself: What it is that happened to South Africa? Some of what occurred in our communities was led by children. As I visited those areas, sat and interacted with those communities, what saddened me was that most of these children were younger than 18. The question thus is: Where does so much hatred come from? The only conclusion I could come to was that it came from our homes. The way we adults talk when we watch TV; the comments we make in front of our children; and the hatred we display – we pass these things on to our children. Maybe the Department of Social Development, in its attempt to implement family reunification programmes, should also include parenting programmes because parents tend not to take seriously their responsibility to raise the leaders of tomorrow.
We have a challenge of child-headed households - and I hate the term even though I use it. What has happened in South Africa that children should be heading households? What happened to the notion that your child is my child? What happened to our collectiveness, where a neighbour would always be interested in what happens next door? Is it as a result of the high walls that we build around our houses? Even though they say better fences make better neighbours, in the fight against HIV and in raising our children in the context of the present challenges, I am not sure if we need them any more.
In the Children's Bill, we raised the point that it should be recognised that a child is only supposed to head a household at the age of 16. Obviously it was one of the most painful decisions that I, personally, had to support. The truth is we all know that families no longer provide the traditional safety net. Extended family systems have fallen apart and the very aunts and uncles that previously supported children are the first ones to grab what they can when these children lose their families. The question is: What can we do, and how does this budget empower and enable us to begin to go back and support these children? Once the house has been grabbed, once the Master's Office delays the pension payouts of the parents and once the lawyers argue about the estate, it remains the Social Development's challenge to find solutions and create a better life for those children. What can we do and what are we expected to do collectively as a society to ensure that we really minimise the notion of child-headed households. We have to put our heads together to come up with an alternative so that we can have children supported in the environment that they live in without us grabbing their inheritance and without us having to beg magistrates to fast-track the Master's Office. Let us find a way to create a South Africa that responds urgently to the needs of children so that we can then deal with the issue of child-headed households in that way.
The Minister and other members have spoken about the issue of social security. So, I am not going to talk about that, except to say that it is urgent that the issue of the Foster Care Grant policy review is finalised. We all know the challenges that go with what we have in the legislation and the realities of what happens on the ground. So, it will really be helpful if by the end of this financial year the department has concluded the foster care review because that will assist a lot of children.
We also need to find a way of simplifying adoption without, of course, leading children to being trafficked. How do we find a balance? At the moment, the only other way in which people are able to bring children in and thus minimise the number of child-headed households is by registering the children for foster care and by finding a way to access grants. A lot of families want to adopt these children. But our system does not allow them to do that because once a family adopts a child, irrespective of how poor that family is, the child loses the little support the state was giving. So, we need to review the system so that we can find permanent homes for these children - not two years here and then two years there as it is happening with the foster care system. We must make it possible for these children to be adopted and get permanent homes with love, and that the state would continue to support them.
I also need to say that one of the most important things that I personally think we need to acknowledge and applaud ourselves for is the Child Support Grant that we have extended to not only South African-born children, but also to those children whose parents have acquired permanent residence. That is a step ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): You have one minute left, hon Bogopane.
Mrs H I BOGOPANE-ZULU: Okay. That is all I need, hon Chair.
Let me conclude by saying that the ANC supports this budget with the understanding that Early Childhood Development services will go a long way before they are sufficient. As we indicated in the Act, priority will be given to those who are in need and also ensure that access for disabled children will be guaranteed. I believe that as we place these children in these ECD centres as we go to work, it will be another way in which government will ensure that we respond and minimise abuse and the tension where parents would go to work not knowing where their children are. Let us build a caring society of South Africa and raise the leaders of tomorrow - not a society of angry citizens. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mrs C DUDLEY
END OF TAKE
Mrs H I BOGOPANE-ZULU
Mrs C DUDLEY: Chair, Ministers, early childhood is a very important time for laying a foundation of values. Many of the challenges we face today need to be addressed by teaching our children solid values that are ingrained from very young.
Greed and self-gratification are basic instincts just as fear and jealousy are very natural emotions. But children taught from a very young age to value life, respect other people and exercise discipline, will be better equipped in their struggle with these powerfully destructive forces.
As we grapple with the horrors of xenophobia, substance abuse, violence against women and children and rampant criminal behaviour, our search for instant easy solutions often only exacerbate the problems. While urgent interventions are necessary at every level, it is important to look long-term and realise that solutions lie largely in training our future generations of children who have learnt to respect life and consider others.
Research shows that the early years of a child are critical for the development of human potential. In fact, from before birth to 7 or 8 years, a child experiences rapid physical, intellectual, emotional, social and moral development. Between birth and 6 years, a child is said to acquire 50% to 80% of their intellectual capacity. We also know that physical, mental, social and emotional development are interrelated and that progress in one area affects progress in the others - just as when something goes wrong in one area, it can affect all other areas. For example, children who are malnourished are not able to learn, and children with learning problems have low self-esteem. Early development also impacts on future development, and the lack of access to ECD programmes in many communities is a major concern.
The ACDP supports this budget which does, to some degree, anticipate the much needed roll-out of ECD programmes throughout provinces. The recent amendments to the Children's Act which require provinces to prioritise funding for ECD, especially in disadvantaged communities, will be invaluable and must be used in holding provinces accountable in this regard. Of course, civil society, churches and community involvement in these initiatives will be critical to their success.
The ACDP continues, however, to be extremely concerned that street children are still being ignored, An immediate and appropriate response to any and every child on the street in need of care and protection in terms of the 2007 Children's Amendment Act must be a departmental and multisectoral priority.
The continued dedicated focus on human capital development is, in the view of the ACDP, critical as child protection is just wishful thinking without trained and dedicated social workers. According to the department, there are presently 4100 social workers employed by the department, and a further 11721 will be needed this year alone in order to implement the Children's Act. There is a lot to be done. We must intensify efforts and keep moving forward. Thank you. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Mrs C DUDLEY
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Chairperson, hon Minister of Social Development, hon Members of Parliament, MECs for Social Development, distinguished guests, representatives of civil society and members of the community present here today, ladies and gentlemen, the aim of the Department of Social Development is to ensure the provision of comprehensive, integrated sustainable and quality social developmental services against vulnerability and poverty, and to create an enabling environment for sustainable development, in partnership with those committed to building a caring society. Budget Vote No 16 reaffirms the commitment of this government to build a South Africa that cares for all those who are vulnerable, including women, children, unemployed youth and the elderly.
Yesterday, in celebration of Child Protection Week, I was invited to speak at the launch of a campaign by Childline and the SABC, aimed at encouraging boys to speak out about abuse. I want to commend Childline and the SABC for this initiative, which recognises the reality that the protection of the rights of children is indeed a national challenge, which cannot adequately be dealt with only by the state. The campaign is informed by research, which confirmed that boys are subjected to very abusive behaviour, such as sexual violence and emotional and physical abuse. It aims to dispel the myths that boys should be macho and should not cry or speak out about their pain. It is a positive campaign meant to celebrate our freedom generation and the ways in which many South Africans have embraced the equality concept where race, gender, sexual orientation, class, and now we have to add national origin, do not feature in their relationships. This campaign served to remind me, that, in spite of the recent outbreaks of violence perpetrated by young people, many born free, against our brothers and sisters from the rest of Africa, that the majority of South Africans have been shamed by this behaviour and have actively shown their disapproval through peaceful mass demonstrations. In this regard I want to state categorically that nothing justifies violent and criminal behaviour towards fellow human beings.
Many fingers have pointed towards government's failure to deliver to the poor. However, those in civil society and the private sector who work closely with government in delivering social services will attest to the fact that, although we will continue to face the challenges of poverty, a major part of the policies and programmes of this government, at home and on the continent, are geared towards combating poverty. I want to express my heartfelt sympathy with the families of those who have lost their lives and possessions in the recent violent attacks on fellow Africans in our townships which have left many people homeless, and vulnerable. In this regard, government in partnership with civil society and private sector organisations is co-ordinating relief efforts and providing essential welfare services to ensure the welfare of those affected remains a priority. I want to commend all the volunteers who have opened their hearts and continue to work endlessly to bring our communities back to normality.
Budget Vote 16 under the theme: Giving the world a human face, reflects the seriousness with which government has set about addressing poverty in this country. Expenditure trends indicate that total expenditure grew at an average annual rate of 12,1% between 2004-05 and 2007-08 and is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 10,4% over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, period. The provision for social assistance makes up the largest portion, as has been said before. Other large transfers in 2008-09 include R4,5 billion to the South African Social Security Agency, SASSA; R136 million to the National Development Agency, NDA; R105 million for social work bursaries; and R41 million to Love Life.
In our endeavour to improve developmental welfare services, expenditure for Programme 3, policy development, review and implementation support for welfare services grew at an average annual rate of 71,3% between 2004-05 and 2007-08, and 2010-11. The strong growth is mainly because of the introduction and rapid expansion of the social work scholarships in 2007-08 and more personnel to do policy and legislation work and to provide oversight and leadership to provinces on welfare service issues.
Welfare programmes create an enabling environment for the delivery of integrated developmental social services in partnership with all relevant stakeholders. The adoption of the White Paper for Social Welfare signalled the dawning of a new era, the shift from a welfare to a social developmental approach.
Let me highlight achievements and challenges with regard to welfare services: Results of the census data, 2001, indicates that the majority of older persons predominantly reside in the three provinces that are classified as poor and largely rural areas, namely: KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Eastern Cape provinces. Consequently, the socioeconomic conditions within which most of the older persons live are highly unacceptable. To most of them, their old age pension is their only source of income.
The Older Persons Act 13 of 2006 acknowledges and addresses the changing roles of older persons in families and societies. The Act, among other things, promotes the status and wellbeing, and protection of older persons, combats abuse of older persons and regulates residential facilities and services to older persons to ensure they enjoy quality of life. You will agree with me that the provision of old age pension on its own is not adequate. This needs to be complemented by the provision of developmental social services. In this regard, we have developed regulations to the Older Persons Act, which will be proclaimed during the course of the current financial year.
The department is leading a multisectoral team to finalise the South African Plan of Action on Ageing. This plan is informed by the Madrid Plan of Action. To kick-start the implementation of the plan, we have allocated R7 million to fast-track provision of services. I am concerned that this budget allocation represents only a fraction of the resources needed to adequately address the challenges that I have mentioned.
Substance abuse is an ever-increasing challenge facing families and communities globally and within the South African context. The complex nature of this phenomenon requires that we move beyond the traditional approach of focusing on treatment only and more on promoting early intervention, prevention and healthy lifestyles. In this regard we have intensified the Ke Moja Anti-Drug Awareness Campaign, to include cultural, sport and religious programs which target in and out of school youth and divert them to programmes that will explore their talents. To ensure effective interdepartmental co-ordination, a national steering committee, chaired by the National Youth Commission and made up of key government departments and partners was established by the Central Drug Authority. The campaign is intended to target 900 primary school learners and 25 000 parents and youth. Accordingly, we have allocated R13 million to tackle the scourge of substance abuse. This allocation represents a significant increase of 57,2% and is commendable.
Crucial to the successful implementation of the National Drug Master Plan is the development of the mini drug master plans of each department and the finalisation of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill, which is being processed as I speak. To this end, we hope the Portfolio Committee of the National Assembly and the Standing Committee of the NCOP will move swiftly and decisively to finalise the process before the end of the current financial year. I take this opportunity to thank all those who have made submissions on the Bill and call for more community-based inputs as we strive to finalise the process.
People with disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable members of our communities. Data from the community survey of 2007 indicates that they constitute 4% of the total South African population. In our quest to give the world a human face and ensure the integration of people with disabilities in the mainstream of society, we have finalised a policy on disability. The ultimate goal of the policy is to ensure universal access and removal of all cultural, physical, social and other barriers that prevent people with disabilities from entering, using or benefiting from the various systems of society that are available to other citizens.
During the course of the current financial year, we will roll out training on minimum standards to ensure the provision of quality services that respond to the needs of people with disabilities in residential facilities. For this purpose we have put aside R4 million to speed up the process. The total emancipation, empowerment and provision of developmental social services to people with disabilities requires the concerted efforts of government, civil society, communities and the business sector.
The need to retain the current pool of social service professionals and recruit more is imperative in light of the new pieces of legislation that have been promulgated. Central to the effective implementation of this legislation is the training and employment of a cadre of child and youth care workers who play a significant role in the lives of orphans and vulnerable children. In 2006 I had the opportunity to address delegates at the National Association of Child Care Workers Biennial Conference and I witnessed their valuable contribution in communities.
The South African Council for Social Service Professions submitted the regulations regarding the registration of child and youth care workers to the Minister of Social Development for consideration and approval. The regulations will allow for the registration of child and youth care workers at auxiliary level with the Council. I am well aware of some concerns raised regarding this issue and I am convinced that the proposed consultative process that the Council will be embarking on will address these concerns and bring the matter to finality.
We have strengthened our interventions to mitigate the spread of HIV and Aids. There are 1 700 home community-based care organisations that render psychosocial support to children and families affected by HIV and Aids. The Department played a critical role in the National Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS, 2007-11, and we have since developed an implementation plan specific to our mandate. We will transfer R41 million to Love Life to implement prevention programmes targeting young people, including those in rural and farming areas. In addition, we will strengthen the implementation of Home Community-Based Care programmes, especially the provision of psychosocial support services and the roll-out of the monitoring and evaluation system. Recognising the need to address gender dynamics in our interventions, we will finalise and implement prevention programmes that recognise the gender aspect of HIV and Aids.
With regard to gender, South Africa is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Cedaw. I am concerned as a woman, that 14 years into democracy we still constitute a large percentage of people infected and affected by HIV and Aids, who are victims of domestic violence and the majority of people living in poverty are women. On a positive note, women form the backbone of social development. We are making significant inroads in ensuring the mainstreaming of gender into our intervention programmes, such as the Victim Empowerment Programme, Home Community-Based Care and Early Childhood Development. Part of our strategy is to develop and implement prevention programmes that recognise the gender aspect in HIV and Aids.
Development is about improving the wellbeing of our people. It is about understanding the experiences of the people behind the statistics on poverty and HIV and Aids and responding in a humane way that affirms their dignity. Our programmes have restored the dignity of millions of people in this country, from the remote rural areas of Idutywa in the Eastern Cape to the dusty streets of Makwarela village in Limpopo.
Budget Vote 16 is the confirmation of our commitment to address the issues at the core of development. Government would certainly not be able to deliver the services, if it were not for the compassion and efforts of civil society with whom we have formed partnerships. Let me take this opportunity to express my gratitude to members of civil society for their tireless efforts in addressing the needs of vulnerable South Africans. I salute these unsung heroes and heroines in our communities who work tirelessly in the endeavour to ensure that no child goes to bed hungry and uncared for.
Let me conclude by extending my heartfelt appreciation to my colleague, Dr Zola Skweyiya, members of the Executive Committee for Social Development, members of the portfolio committee, the director-general, the CEOs of SASSA and NDA and all the staff of the Department of Social Development and public entities in their respective units and provinces for the positive contribution they have made to our work. I wish to express my thanks for their support in ensuring that our policies make a meaningful contribution to the lives of all our people. I thank you.
Mr J B SIBANYONI
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr J B SIBANYONI: Sihlalo, Ngithokoze Skhosi. Kunz'akogwazana eyagwaza yazinikina, bathi igwaz'ithuli kanti igwaza amadoda. Musi kaMhlanga! Ngilotjhisa uNgqongqotjhe neSekela likaNgqongqotjhe, namalunga woke ahloniphekileko wePalamende begodu nabobaba nabomma abakhona kulekulumopikiswano.
My speech will focus on building social cohesion. Our government continues to work hard to strengthen our democracy and the acceleration of the programme to improve the quality of life of all the people. We recognize that we are at the beginning of a long journey to a truly united, democratic and prosperous South Africa, in which the value of all citizens is measured by their humanity without regard to race, gender and social status.
Inspired by the Freedom Charter and the principles enshrined in the Reconstruction and Development Programme, we continue with our social transformation programme informed by the democratic principles of the people-centred, and people-development state and a value system based human solidarity.
These pillars are the attributes of a caring society and it beckons us to forge a social compact made up of all races that has, as its central objectives a social policy, the preservation and development of human resources and ensuring social cohesion.
At the ANC's Polokwane conference in December 2007, the emphasis on quality in education and health was recognised in the context of our continued resolve to challenge underdevelopment and eradicate poverty, and against the background of the huge investment in infrastructure and its attendant possibilities. We need educated and skilled citizens who are healthy and therefore productive to benefit from the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative and the diverse economic opportunities and possibilities that are now available to our citizens. Education and health are prioritized as the core elements of social transformation.
Chairperson, our attack on poverty must seek to empower people to take themselves out of poverty while creating adequate social nets to protect the most vulnerable in our society. A combination of policies around social wage, social grants as well as programmes aimed at engaging people in the reconstruction of our communities can make a meaningful contribution towards the eradication of poverty.
On attacking poverty and the comprehensive social security, government must continue with its plans to towards a comprehensive social security system through consolidation and on-going review of all social security measures such as Unemployment Insurance Fund and social grants. Government has taken bold steps in establishing a national health insurance scheme and must finalise its plans within the next twelve months.
Huge strides have been made in the delivery of free basic services and continued support through Project Consolidate and other mechanisms must be strengthened to ensure delivery, especially in municipalities that serve the rural poor. Noting the expansion of the child support grant for children up to 14 years, steps must be taken to support vulnerable children above the age of 14 years. We must all continue to campaign to ensure that all children eligible for grants, to access it and assist in the removal of obstacles including nonregistration and the lack of proper documents.
However, the huge strides that have been made in this regard must be accelerated as some 8 million children are currently the beneficiaries of grants. We must continue to deal with the effects of unemployment through the Extended Public Works Programme, which is linked to the Urban Renewal and Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Strategy. The implementation of the National Youth Service Programme creates a huge opportunity for our unemployed youth and must be efficiently expanded.
The Expanded Public Works Programme and the Setas pay particular attention to the skilling of practitioners in the Early Childhood Development and the Abet sector. We must continue with the significant implementation of the Integrated Food Security Strategy to ensure food security at all times, especially during the times of vulnerability as a consequence of natural disaster, price hikes etc, and which directly impacts on food prices for the poor with a specific focus on women, the elderly, people with disability and children.
Hon Chair, as a caring state we have to support our poverty alleviation programmes with efficient and effective welfare services. We have to ensure that the destitute and vulnerable in our society find refuge and comfort in the state until they are able to survive on their own if they are young and able-bodied.
We must explore the possibilities of using the local government sphere in the provision of welfare services as municipalities are closest to the people. Among the welfare services that remain a priority is the development of children and protect them from malnutrition and poverty. In addition to the Child Support Grant over 300 000 children access the Foster Care Grant. We must further explore the expansion of Alternative Care services for example, children's homes.
A lot has been said about crime and its impact on our society. As the ANC, we have stated our belief that the ANC government and society in general should respond to crime vigorously and practically based on a clear understanding of its causes. The abuse of drugs, alcohol and other substances are common denominators in many criminal activities and are a symptom of other underlying social challenges in our communities.
The Portfolio Committee is currently dealing with the prevention and treatment of substance abuse. We hope that this inter-sectoral effort will go a long way to deal with this matter meaningfully.
Sihlalo, ngivumela nami bona ngiphose lobubodlhana malungana nomraro wokunina amaphandle, i-xenophobia. Umraro wokunina amaphandle imulandu namkha bulelesi. Ukubetha, ukubulala namkha ukuthatha ipahla yakhe kubulelesi okufanele umthetho uthathe amagadango.
Ngikhuluma nje, labobantu ababetjhwako abanye babo babantu bekhethu.
Kunesehlakalo esenzekileko, njengombana ngikhuluma isiNdebele nje, kutholakale umuntu okhuluma isiNdebele wathatha bona mumuntu obuya eZimbabwe ngombana neZimbabwe kukhona amaNdebele laya akhamba noMzilikazi e-Matebeland, KwaBulawayo. Ngifuna ukutjho bona sisitjhaba sangesewula ne-Afrika into eyenzekako le iyasithunaza thina. Sisitjhaba esinobuntu. Ukunina iphandle namkha umuntu wakosobantu kuyinto esingayaziko. Kwangathi boke abadosi phambili, abafundisi, abotitjhere nabadosi phambili bezombusaphasi singahlangana sibambisane ekufundiseni abantu besewula ne-Afrika ekusizeni isipholisa nomthetho bonyana into le iphele. Ngiyathokoza. [Iwahlo.]
THE HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Before I call the next speaker, in case members were wondering about the poetic rhyme in the beginning. It was simply about me and my social roots. Thank you. The hon Rajbally.
Ms S RAJBALLY
END OF TAKE
Mr J B SIBANYONI
Ms S RAJBALLY: Chairperson, hon Ministers, this department's drive to eradicate poverty and pave the way for the Department of Social Welfare is met by a number of challenges, but all resort under the exact same blanket category of poverty. As marked in the state of the nation address, a war room has been established, that is, a war on poverty through co-operative governance.
We have people living in the poorest areas of South Africa still with no access to basic service or basic needs, such as portable water, electricity and proper sanitation. The Minority Front acknowledges the department's efforts to reach every end of South Africa to stamp out poverty and its harsh consequences.
Social grants are set at a rate not enough to compete with the scary inflation rate and cost of living. Pensions are often split amongst many mouths and are still not enough. Parliament's oversight visit has been extremely real in portraying the reality of so many of our citizens and it is this reality that instruments policies and projects that our budget will serve to address.
The MF is extremely curious to know the progress introducing the new social security and its efficiency. We however, are more eager to see the outcome of the December Polokwane conference being materialised with the new pension, age and grant allocations. We find it crucial to maintain child grants up to the age of 18 and to work with the Department of Education to advance the feeding scheme to secondary schools.
The MF is most concerned with the welfare of our women and children with regard to the recent spread of xenophobic attacks. We think of those families with parents who are foreigners and how this shall further displace our people. Our love and thoughts go with them.
We pray that our department may involve itself in bringing peace and stability in South Africa and educating our people on the qualities and values of our Constitution promises our Rainbow Nation to be. I thank you, Chairperson. The Minority Front supports the Budget Vote.
Ms I W DIREKO
END OF TAKE
Ms S RAJBALLY
Ms I W DIREKO: Hon Chairperson, hon members and our guests in this room; it is my belief that the elderly are the bearers and transmitters of the true values of our society.
In our fast ageing world, older persons are increasingly playing a critical role through volunteer work, transmitting experience and knowledge, helping their families with caring responsibilities and increasing their participation in the paid labour force. Already now older persons make major contributions to society, for instance, throughout Africa and elsewhere, millions of adults AIDS patients are cared for at home by their parents.
On their death, orphaned children left behind are mainly looked after by their grandparents. Currently there are over 14 million under the age of 15 in African countries alone.
The World Health Organisation reported that over 60% of double and single orphans who are not living with a surviving parent live in grandparent-headed households in South Africa.
There is recognition that the potential of older persons is a powerful basis for future development, enabling society to rely increasingly on the skills, experience and wisdom of older persons not only to take the lead in their own betterment, but also to participate actively in that society as a whole.
The role of older persons in economic and social development should be a major focal point as is promoting democracy and the rights of older persons through their participation in all aspects of society.
Chairperson, our democratic South Africa continues to make great strides in improving the quality of the life of the elderly. Again this year, government has granted more resources to improve social welfare and service delivery by implementing the Older Persons Act of 2006.
We therefore welcome the allocation of over R1 million this year for the implementation of the Act and training service providers and personnel in the Public Service and civil society.
One of the main areas of focus of the Act is the protection of the elderly from all forms of abuse and in the province such as Limpopo where the aged are often accused of witchcraft. The Act provides for anyone caring for the elderly to take steps to ensure their safety. The Act aims at stopping once and for all the slaughtering of elderly women and men who are accused of witchcraft.
We must therefore seek to ensure that where there are such actions we utilise the correct institutions of justice, including traditional courts and processes under the leadership of our traditional and religious leaders.
Coupled with halting abuse, is a serious matter of care, support and contributions of elderly.
The countrywide launch of the Older Persons' Forums is welcomed. These forums will ensure the active and meaningful participation of the elderly in the national and social development policy.
Chairperson, I was surprised to learn that while some 80% of the world's population is not covered by social protection in their old age. South Africa is one of the only three African countries that provide non-contributory Old age pension to over 2 million people. [Applause.]
Nevertheless, many challenges remain. Older persons in South Africa have been through a lifetime of hardships, malnutrition, poverty, and in old age. When they require to be rewarded for their resilience, the HIV and the AIDS pandemic is posing an additional burden on them.
They are ably complying in their new roles. Even so South African communities' still describe ageing in terms of cost factors or the burden of the future- we are not, and portrayed as requiring more and more help and support which neither the family nor the state will be able to afford.
We must change our perception of ageing. The pressing need and demands of the older persons are often viewed from the country's economic point of view. This leads to a complicated and depersonalised system of social services. It tends to replace rather than complement family policy. This preoccupation has led to the creation of a relatively passive and disenchanted sector of the population.
More over, older persons carry a rather negative image than the rest of the population which in turn tends to marginalise them in various ways. Unfortunately, older persons have become the victims of professional models of care. This approach must change starting now.
Our children need to recognise the skills and wisdom that lie within older persons. We need to start making use of the resources that are accessible within our homes.
There is a dire need for radical change of perspective, breaking the policy of segregation of older persons and replacing it with a strategy of participation and involvement.
We should have faith in older persons giving them greater responsibility and this is not only in marginalised decisions or those affecting older persons but in central decision-making. Any form of discrimination must not be tolerated. Policies for older persons should directly concern the present population of young and middle aged persons within every population.
The ageing population constitutes a valuable and important component of society's human resources. It is high time that more attention be given to utilising invaluable resources of older persons to the fullest extent possible.
And in conclusion, as my time is up, I'd like to say on behalf of the ANC, that we cannot find words adequately to express our deep shock, resentment and disgust at xenophobia going round some townships in South Africa. This is not a time to engage in the blame game, it is a time for all of us to hold hands and root out xenophobia because it is not good for this country and its image.
I thank you. [Applause]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, hon member and I did consider old age when it comes to allowing extra time. [Laughter.] I did honour you with a few seconds for old age consideration. [Laughter.]
Ms H WEBER
END OF TAKE
Ms I W DIREKO
Ms H WEBER: Thank you, Chairperson. I hope you will consider old age for me as well.
An Hon MEMBER: Hon Hilda, you are still young at heart.
Ms H WEBER: I have just been told by my colleague that I am young, but I am old.
Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, colleagues and all the people from the department, we are almost like family now and Social Development relies heavily on the co-operation and capacity of many other departments. It is like a chain, and we all know a chain is as strong as the weakest link. Unfortunately, there are many weak links, which I will highlight with examples. Firstly, to obtain any grant, one needs some sort of an identity document. Until Home Affairs gets their turnaround strategy working, an old man in Mpumalanga of 93 years, who has worked hard, has no prominent finger prints. He is denied an ID document. He is therefore a nobody and cannot access a grant. Mrs Chabalala is 2 years older than her biological son after having her ID document stolen and being replaced with a wrong number. Mrs Smit has Mr Nkosi's photo in her new ID document. [Laughter.]
Let us look at the distribution of grants. The Post Office, which has branches in many rural areas, would have been an ideal outlet for the distribution of grants. But the service is so bad that even Home Affairs has contracted a courier service to distribute documents. Why not privatise the Post Office to do away with the expensive "All Pay" service which seems to be enriching the chosen few. What is paid to "All Pay" could give every old person a loaf of bread or two per month.
A further problem, which I highlighted last year, is the endless problem of old people still being robbed at pay points. Information given to me is that the police in some areas are actually doing a better job of protecting the old people.
The disabled of the country continue to be marginalised. State doctors are mandated to decide who is disabled and who can thus obtain a grant. But they have a problem as to who is permanently disabled and who is to be reassessed every 6 months. If a person has been paralysed on one side for 2 years, believe me that there is no way that person will suddenly become able-bodied. It is cruel that such a person must be taken off to a hospital or clinic every 6 months in the hope that a state doctor may arrive to reassess them so that they can get a grant for the next 6 months. Surely a state doctor should be able to ascertain who is permanently disabled and who is temporarily disabled.
Hon Minister, in your speech on the Social Assistance Bill on 16 May, we welcomed the statement granting males access to grants from the age of 60, phasing it in over 3 years. You stated that after 1 April 2008, grants will be available to all from the age of 63. There is one drawback. By the phone calls I get, no one in the Department of Social Development has knowledge of this. Arguments form the department are that this has not been budgeted for. Yet, hon Minister, you stated that in conjunction with the National Treasury, R1,2 billion has been allocated during this financial year to accommodate these recipients.
The DA welcomes the finding by the Economic Policy Research Institute that the means test acts as a deterrent to retirement saving among the not so affluent aged. Your forthcoming announcement on this issue will be awaited with great expectation.
Over the next few months, there will be more and more empty mouths as South African families feel the effects of rising food prices. This department needs to become more proactive in responding to the consequences of the very poor. The DA believes we need to make sure that food parcels are distributed to those in dire need to get them through this crisis. Regarding ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, you have one minute left. But since this is a season of the aged, I will honour you with a few seconds to conclude.
Ms H WEBER: Thank you, Chairperson. Regarding the shortage of social workers, which I am very passionate about, we appreciate the effort of the department by supplying bursaries. But there is still a problem of getting foreign social workers registered. Once more, can I use the well-known cliché: "If you could eat red tape, there would be very little starvation in the world." I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr B M SOLO
END OF TAKE
Ms H WEBER
Mr B M SOLO: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister and hon Deputy Minister, ...
... Malungu ahloniphekileyo ePalamente nabantu abaze kumamela le ngxoxo-mpikiswano ibaluleke kangaka ekuphileni kwabantu, ndiyabulisa.
The Budget Vote we are debating today attempts to respond to a human condition characterised by the sustained or chronic deprivation of the resources, capabilities, choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living.
This is what we experience today. Abject poverty is a reality that we need to confront head on, lest we forget where we are coming from. It is necessary, as claimed in a developing country and society where about 80% of South Africans were deliberately and structurally denied quality development and social services. We can talk of education, sports, health and welfare services, people were denied these services.
The department has listed about eight strategic priorities in its strategic plan, amongst those are, I quote:
Engaging in the effective and efficient management of social development programmes; an active partnership with civil society and other social partners, as well as creating an enabling environment for social and human capital investment; establishing social protection initiatives to build the capacity of vulnerable groups.
People, particularly black people, are desperately impoverished, and we should not pretend as if we do not know how this happened. This is not of the black people's making. Lest we forget, remember forced removals, influx control, job reservation, separate amenities and Bantu Education. I can go on and on and illustrate how black people were impoverished, but because of time I can't do that.
As we support the Budget Vote, we need to see that the war room against poverty, as perceived by President Mbeki, does not just become an illusion, but a real instrument to deal with these social problems in real practical terms.
So, where are the affected people and where are they located? They are found in rural areas, in the townships, on the farms, - njengaseKaladokhwe, unyanisile ... [such as in Cradock, you are correct] - in informal settlements and other terrible places ... endingenakuzibiza [that I cannot name here].
When we talk of enabling environment, social protection and social development, we talk about such people. This budget, indeed, has to align itself with such communities. That is where we need to start putting much more attention and focus.
Our programme must be influenced by the realistic situation in those areas and not only by big books - I repeat, not only by big books - written in fancy English and with some Eurocentric theories. We note the role played by civil society, such as a whole range of nonprofit organisations that currently assist government to fulfil its obligation to provide social services.
The work done by NGOs is appreciated. However, in my view, most of these are traditional NGOs with a particular perspective and located in areas that do not correspond to areas they are supposed to service.
We do need to step up our community-based organisation approach. I believe in existing CBOs and other community-driven social organisations, such as oomasingcwabane noomasiphekisane [burial societies and catering clubs]. Properly utilised and empowered, these would be able to assist in the creation of a better life for all. We need a paradigm shift; we need a new mindset.
Our faith-based organisations remain a very important partner in the fight against poverty. The relationship we have with them needs to be strengthened further. Without going to the issue of amagqobhoka namaqaba, [the believers and nonbelievers,] we do need to pay particular attention to those indigenous churches where amaqaba are found; that is, where the poor of the poorest reside.
I agree, Minister, that you are working hard and closely with bishops, such as Archbishop Tutu and Bishop Dandala from the mainstream churches. I don't underestimate their contribution, but in the context of abject poverty, there are other bishops, such as Bishop Ngada and our Bishop Tolo here [Laughter.].
Kunye nomfundisi uMabena, njalo njalo, abaphuma kwezi cawe sendizibizile apha.
I think we need a closer relationship with them, go to their services and see what they are doing, ...
... le nto kuthiwa ngesilungu yi-participatory democracy, Mphathiswa. Ndicela amagosa akho enze le nto kuthiwa ngesilungu yi-participatory research, aye kuhlala phaya phakathi kwaba bantu baphanda ngabo bakhe babone kakuhle. Mhlawumbi ngolo hlobo singayiphumelela le mfazwe.
Nonbelievers are those who are found in the areas mentioned above.
Amaqaba ahluphekayo agcwele kwiinkonzo zamaziyoni nezamapostile. Ndifuna ukuzichaza ezi nkonzo, hleze sidideke iingqondo. Amaziyoni uya kuva ebizwa ngokuba ngama-St Johns, ama-IPCC, ama-ZCC, amaPostile, abanye ngooShembe, amaPostile akwaMasango njalo njalo. Makhe sisondele pha kuwo.
Uya kuwabona ngeempahla ezimhlophe ezingathi ziidyasi, eziluhlaza neziluhlaza njengesibhakabhaka, nemibhinqo apha esinqeni. Wonke umntu unombhinqo phaya. Ngekhe bamyeke omnye umzalwane ahlupheke. Ukusukela ngoLwesihlanu kude kuye kuba ngeCawe babamba imilindo, kusiziswa ukutya nezipho ukuze umzalwane aphile okwexeshana. Abafumani ncedo kwisebe kwaye abazi nokuba lufumaneka njani. Futhi zange khe baye kuthetha-thethana nesebe. Abayazi nokuba indawoni, kanti nesebe alibazi nokuba baphi.
Baneenkqubo zabo ke, Mphathiswa ...
... of mitigating poverty. Is there anything to learn for us? I say, yes, ...
... ngoba ndihlala nabo, ndiyaya kweza cawe zabo xa bendibizile.
Ndifuna ukubuya ke ndibuyele kwi-NDA ezama ukulwa nentlupheko. Na njengo sisazi ukuba yakhiwe ngurhulumente necandelo lezoshishino labucala, i-private sector. Ligama elimnadi eli, u-"private sector". Siyalibona igalelo likarhulumente phaya kwi-NDA.
Sifuna ukulibona kakuhle igalelo lecandelo lezoshishino labucala. I-NDA inomsebenzi omkhulu, ikhupha iimali inike abantu, ithenga noomatshini. Kodwa iswele iqhinga, kuthiwa ngesilungu yi-marketing strategy. Uza kuzithengisa njani ezi zinto uzenzayo xa ungenalo eli qhinga? Apha esilungwini kufuneka iincutshe, ii-marketing managers. Xa ke ngoku kungenziwanga indlela yokuba zibe khona, uza kuzithengisa kanjani?
Siyabona ukuba kukho iyunifomu enikwa abantwana abahluphekayo liSebe lezeMfundo, kanti amanye amasebe akhupha iiovalolo phantsi kwenkqubo yemisebenzi yoluntu. Kodwa ezi zinto azihlangani neenkqubo ze-NDA, ezizama ukunceda abantu abahluphekileyo.
Aba bantu bayazenza iiovalolo; bayazenza ezi yunifomu. Xa kufuneka bezise ezikolweni, kuthiwa: Hayi, kufuneka wenze isicelo. Phaya eRhawutini kuthiwa kufuneka uye kwiziko elithile. Abanamali yokuya kwela ziko kwaye abakwazi ukubhala. Into abanayo yile yunifomu bayenzileyo. Yintoni ngoku eyenza ukuba kube nzima ukuba bathengise ezi zinto zabo?
Bendicela ke ukuba ngokubhekisele kwintsebenziswano phakathi kwamaziko akumacandelo awohlukeneyo, siliSebe lezeMfundo neSebe leMisebenzi yoLuntu makhe sihlanganeni neSebe lezoPhuhliso lwezeNtlalo ukuze sithi xa sinika olu ncedo kubantu abahluphekileyo, sithi: "Uyabona ke, iyunifomu yesikolo uza kuyifumana phaya; wena le yunifomu yesikolo uyenzayo, uza kuyinikezela phaya.
Masingazenzi zonke ezi zinto zenza ukuba abantu bethu kube nzima ukuba bazikhuphe ebuhlwempini. Bendifuna ukubeka ngesilungu ndithi:
Empowering individuals through NDA and communities involves developing their capacity to make informed choices and to act on their own behalf, protecting people from threats; creating political, social, environmental and economic condition. [Interjections.]
Bayandiphazamisa, Sihlalo. Ndithetha ukuthi ke ngokufutshane sendifikelele esiphelweni, Mphathiswa. Intle lento uyenzayo yokuhamba phambili uququzelela uluntu neecawe njalo njalo. Kungakuhle kakhulu ukuba ungakhe usondele phaya kuBishop Tolo namabandla wabo. Bahlanganise aba Bantu. Kungakuhle kakhulu into yokuba singakhe sisondele phaya koomasiphekisane noomasingcwabane neminye imibutho ekhoyo phaya ekuhlaleni.
Kungakuhle kakhulu ukuba singabona namagosa akho mhlawumbi bekhulule ezi zinto sizifakileyo namhlanje, behamba ngeenyawo besebenza nabantu, besenza lento bayaziyo kuthiwa yi-participatory research. Bayayazi loonto leyo, kodwa asibaboni beyenza le participatory research. Ndiyazi, Mphathiswa, kuzothiwa ziyenziwa ezi zinto, kodwa kutheni siphambana nazo?
Ndingabala apha amaLuntu ePalamente angatsho ukuthi i-NDA siyibonile sisebenzisana kunye nayo. Ndingabala apha aMalungu ePalamente angathi kwiiprojekthi esizaziyo siyazibona ukuba ziyaqhubeka aziwi.
Ngokuba kuthiwa xa kufuneka uthengisele iDepartment of Public Works i-ovalolo, xa basenza lento bayisebenzayo, akutshiwo ukuba gcwalisa ifomu, kuthiwa - thendarisha. Le nkathazo isixabanisayo "nguThenda."
UThenda uyasixabanisa kakhulu. Ngoko ndizama ukuthi makubekho unxulumano phakathi kweDepartment of Education neDepartment of Social Development ukwenzela ukuba ezi zinto zenziwayo zikwazi ukuba xa abantu bezenza, la maqaba - abantu bahluphekayo bakwazi ukuthi sizisa endaweni ethile. Ndiyabulela kakhulu, enkosi.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr B M SOLO
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you. I do not want to bore hon members with answers that you know. There are no questions that were put before us on which we differ. We do agree. We don't take this as sort of a match, but as something on which we have sat together in order to resolve some of the problems that are facing this country. The spirit and environment that has been created in this debate is very pleasing and welcome. It is very contributory and advisory in general, and I thank you all for that. But let me start with the hon Mr Tolo here. [Interjections.]
An HON MEMBER: Bishop. It is Bishop Tolo!
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Your excellency; honourable. The bishops we are talking about today, coming from the other churches, are the ones who have been going on and I have been working with since I assumed this portfolio in 1999. If you see some of the 12,8 million children that are receiving this grant, they have been able to do that simply because of the work that was done by those churches and all the other churches and civil society as a whole. We as government are unable to do that and we appreciate their work.
In principle, I don't want to bore you with too many of the issues that have been raised, but there are a few I do want to mention. In fact, for the past two years we have been working closely with international organisations to build food banks here in South Africa. It's mostly the private sector, and we are working together to ensure that this does take place. It basically requires the support of everybody, especially of Members of Parliament. [Interjections.] Yes, and I think that is very necessary.
I thank the hon Semple for raising the issue of cash payments, because the DA asked me why I was travelling up and down the country when I was supposed to be sitting here. It is an issue that we have been advocating. We have been able to convince the World Bank that it is a good thing to do. We convinced them abroad and here in Stellenbosch, as well as in the North West, telling them that it's the best thing because the money goes straight
to the individual. It does not go through other bureaucratic channels and the people are able to get that.
On the question of school feeding schemes, it is quite necessary for MPs to participate in that process, ensuring that these schemes become a reality. As South Africans we should, in fact, be able to provide at least two meals per day at school. The majority of black children who failed in Matric, did so simply because most of them are hungry when they go to school, they have been hungry all their lives, even on the day when they were writing their Matric exams. They are unable to cope in general. If all the departments concerned, our MPs and basically broad civil society can work together to ensure that it does become a reality, I think we will have done a lot for South Africa and for our people.
Regarding the National Lottery, we would love to get that money as well, but it falls under the DTI. We have to negotiate as much as possible in order to get it.
I agree with the hon Mars that the best thing to do would be to ensure that everybody is employed. That is the best thing we can do to eradicate poverty, but we should never forget that the question of social security is a constitutional right of each and every person in this country. All of us have to work together, as we have done so far, to ensure that it becomes a right to which everybody has access.
There is a problem with the issue of documentation. We are talking about 12,8 million people who are currently receiving grants. Personally I believe that there are 2 to 3 million people who are also entitled to this grant, but who up to the present moment still haven't been able to access it. Hence we have relaxed the requirements of documentation whereby to access the grant, so that we can assess if we can somehow improve the situation. But there is a very big risk involved here. We must be able to prevent the unwelcome fraudulent activities of people who are not entitled to these grants. [Interjections.] And, hon Bloem, we believe that MPs can play a big role in that process. We are all commissioners of oath. We must ensure that we have the stamp from Parliament which identifies each one of us as a Member of Parliament and, as such, as a commissioner of oath. We can enable that child, old man or disabled person to gain access to their grant without having to stand in a long queue. You can just write to the MEC or director-general concerned, or to me, stating that you, as an MP, have signed and stamped this application. Then the public servants will not have to run around trying to establish who that person is.
I remember, when I was Minister for the Public Service and Administration, how the DA was haranguing me to cut away and throw away all those many public servants, and to make the Public Service as small as possible. I still maintain that the number of public servants is not enough. South Africa is in a crisis, and continues to be in that crisis, because of the poverty that we are living in. We should be able to employ many young people, so that they can get a job and at least have something to eat without having to beg or rob people, as in the past.
I agree with the hon Mrs Mars regarding the pay points, that clearly there is a lot that needs to be done in this regard.
I agree with almost everything the hon Zola says. We have been tackling the issue of refugee children, not because of the crisis, but for a long time. We read the Children's Act in a completely different manner. Not, as you say, that it doesn't cover some children, but we say it is an Act around children, and every child who is in this country should be treated equally if he or she qualifies to get a grant. Being a child, one does not have to ask where he or she comes from. If you think she is in a situation where she needs to get the grant, we musts all work together to ensure that it does happen.
On the question of dealing with the Department of Correctional Services and children who are in conflict with the law, hon Bloem, we are dealing with this issue. I hope you will be able to deal very co-operatively and friendly with my department. We will be able to work with you as we have been working all the time. [Laughter.]
So the question of the ECD is a provincial issue. The budget for the ECD is in the provinces. We all come from a province and it is there that all of this has to be done. It is in our constituencies that we must ensure that this happens. We don't want to find out next February that that money has not been used. It is not only the duty of the executive. It is not a question of the separation of powers, but of South Africanness, of citizenship that we should encourage that this budget is used for the benefit of the children. One of the issues that arose from our research through Safsa, is that the majority of children under the age of three do not get the child support grant. There are many reasons for this, but most of the time it is a question of tradition and the suppression of women and they cannot get there until the child is strong enough to be able to go out.
Psychological support is one of the things we have been dealing with. We are working with the psychology department at Wits University. One of the projects they are dealing with is the social impact of HIV and Aids especially on families, but more on women and children, and their psycho-social development. It is in Alexandra and we hope to be able to assist them and provide the necessary support. We are going right through the whole world, asking for money for that project by Wits University.
The point that has to come out very clearly is that no child should go to bed without food. Here in South Africa there is money for that. We are at the present moment championing the social relief of distress. It has been there right through from the apartheid days, but it was mostly known by the white community. For the past three years we have been demanding this money from this budget, so that each and every person knows. But the majority of the people who are entitled to it, especially in the rural areas, don't know it. So it might be very necessary for MPs to meet as soon as possible to find ways to popularise and distribute that information.
On the question of food stamps, we quite obviously support this programme and, yes, we would like to ensure that it does take place. But that is not our job as Social Development. That is an issue for Agriculture. About six or seven years ago there was a lot of enthusiasm for that project in my department when it was put to us. It is a question of …
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Order, hon Minister, you have two minutes left.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Yes I know, Chairperson. I'm just finishing off. [Laughter.]
So we are finishing that and we want to make these issues clear to hon members. That's why I said that we don't have to meet during this time. We should sit down and I'm sure Parliament can organise a disco and we … [Laughter.]… can talk about this and eat and dance.
Once again I thank you, your Excellency. I thank you, hon Chair. I hope we will be able to work together and resolve all these issues for the benefit of all people.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): I thank you, hon Minister, and I didn't want to cut you short. You still had a few moments left. I was simply warning you.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Yes, but I think you have also passed the threshold of urgency. I would have honoured you.
The Committee rose at 11:34.
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