Hansard: Appropriation Bill : Debate on Vote No 16 – Social Development
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 02 Jul 2009
No summary available.
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Friday, 3 July 2009 Takes: 196 & 197
FRIDAY, 3 JULY 2009
PROCEEDINGS OF EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in the Old Assembly Chamber at 09:01.
House Chairperson Mr M B Skosana, as Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
START OF DAY
Debate on Vote No 16 – Social Development:
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Chairperson, hon Ministers who may be present here, hon Deputy Minister of Social Development, and other Deputy Ministers, our MECs for social development present here, my colleagues, hon Members of Parliament, all our distinguished guests, leaders and representatives of civil society who are present here, ladies and gentlemen, years have passed since Tata Nelson Mandela took the oath of office as President of the democratic Republic of South Africa.
Despite the passing of time, the theme of our government has remained the same: the creation of a better life for all. I am grateful for the honour of leading the Social Development portfolio whose mandate is to contribute to the fulfilment of the ideals enshrined in our Constitution and the commitments of the Freedom Charter.
Let me begin by thanking our predecessors, Dr Zola Skweyiya and Dr Jean Swanson-Jacobs, for their service to the nation and in bringing us closer to the attainment of the goal of building a caring society. Today we meet while the chilly winds of the global economic recession are blowing across the world, as well as across our shores, and we are determined to ensure that all South Africans have a share in the unfolding South African promise: the promise of a better life for all.
Despite the significant strides we have made in providing a social wage for our people, millions of our people still do not have the benefit of access to potable water, electricity, housing and sanitation. Of course, I must say that we have indeed made quite a lot progress in this regard, but millions still remain behind in terms of accessing these resources. Inequality is a major challenge as it is amongst the highest in the world in South Africa. The unemployment rate stands at more than 23%, that is the official unemployment rate, and about 47% of our people still live in poverty. Too many of them also live in abject poverty and squalor.
The ruling party's manifesto is the only programme that will effectively confront the challenges we face. The programmes outlined by the President in his state of the nation address are aimed at ensuring that those who have not benefited from our economic growth become insiders and also share in the prosperity. It is to these programmes that this Budget Vote speaks.
Currently, over 13 million citizens are receiving social assistance benefits. Of these beneficiaries, nine million are children. As of January this year, the child support grant was extended, as hon members may well know, to children up to the age of 15 years, and this enabled the SA Social Security Agency, Sassa, to enrol an additional 300 000 children.
As from April this year, the values of all grants were increased - just as a reminder, by the way - to ameliorate the ravages of inflation. The old age and disability grants were increased from R960 to R1 010, the child support grant from R230 to R240, the foster care grant from R650 to R680, and the care dependency grant from R960 to R1 010. In advancing our battle of pushing back the frontiers of poverty, we intend to register an additional 200 000 children under the age of 15 years by the end of August 2009.
We recognise that despite all these efforts, over two million children over the age of 15 years remain trapped in poverty. In response to this, we will soon table a plan for the phased extension of the child support grant to this category of children to be implemented over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework cycle.
With respect to tackling adult poverty, we will continue to implement our plan to bring parity between men and women who qualify for the old age grant. Now, listen to this: Since July 2008, over 70 000 men aged 63 and 64 years have received grants as a result of the age-equalisation policy, a policy we all know. As from April this year, we extended the grant to all men over 61 years of age, and we expect to register 55 000 elderly men by the end of August this year. [Applause.]
Our caring culture was also amplified last year when we responded to the rising food prices by increasing the social relief budget from R124 million to R624 million. This benefit was distributed from November 2008 to April 2009. In the context of the global recession, we will maintain the expenditure necessary to ensure that those who suffer destitution should also have access to social relief and be helped. Government, in support of the Nedlac Framework – the National Economic Development and Labour Council Framework - response to the global financial crisis, which is, indeed, a humanitarian crisis, has made a commitment to intervene at all levels. In this regard, Social Development has been asked to fast-track the registration of men in terms of the age equalisation for the old age grant, to extend the child support grant to children older than 15 years, as well as ensure the provision of social relief. Those are the three areas that we have been asked to deal with at the level of Nedlac.
To expedite the provision of social relief, we will also explore working with faith-based organisations and nongovernmental organisations, NGOs, which are in good standing, of course, to assist in the distribution of social relief. The provincial departments of social development, to which the administration of social relief will be delegated, will play a key role in overseeing and supporting these civil-society organisations.
The SA Social Security Agency remains an important institution in the provision of social assistance and has been successfully established, as we know. However, in view of its efficiency challenges, a thorough business process re-engineering initiative – BPR initiative - will be implemented. It has been established, but we realise that there are challenges. We will, therefore, implement the BPR, as it is expected to happen soon.
Amongst other things, this will improve the turnaround time for processing the grant applications we expect and all other efficiency necessities in that institution. We are working with the Post Office as well on measures to reduce the cost of grant payments and improve accessibility. We believe - and this is the picture we want to see – that in the next 10 years no beneficiaries of ours should be exposed to the terms and all the other conditions under which the pay points work in the receiving of grants.
We will continue our fight against fraud and corruption in the grants administration system in partnerships with the Special Investigating Unit. By the end of this year we will have brought to book almost 2 000 civil servants who were found to have defrauded the grant system. Sassa has now turned its attention to the people in the private sector who are defrauding the social grants system, as they have been detected as well. I want to take this opportunity to make a call on all members of our society to work with us and report incidents of fraud and corruption in the social grants system.
In keeping with our constitutional obligations, we have initiated a process to deal with appeals against potential wrongful decisions of Sassa. I have appointed a tribunal to enhance administrative justice and to ensure fairness in social-security administration. To this end the tribunal has already successfully considered 20 000 appeals, and those adversely affected will now be paid the grants for which they qualify.
We believe that employment and entrepreneurship are the best means of ensuring income security. Government, as a whole, will need to work towards the attainment of these rather long-term goals. In the meantime, we need to address the question of how best to provide an adequate safety net for every person living in poverty.
This is the time for us to give serious thought to the nature of the social protection measures needed by those between the ages of 18 and 59 affected by poverty and social exclusion. Linking such measures with training and employment will be key.
As directed by our President in his state of the nation address, our social security system should be comprehensive. Our contributory systems of savings for disability, injuries on duty, unemployment and retirement are incomplete, as they leave too many people out. The social protection and community development cluster will complete the consolidated government document on reforming the social security system by the end of September 2009, as we have been directed. These proposals will give effect to retirement, unemployment insurance and Road Accident Fund reforms.
Detailed proposals on a mandatory system of retirement provisions will be released in October 2009, with the aim of initiating the establishment of a government-sponsored pension fund during 2010. These proposals will bring about a fairer system of tax subsidies, reduce the costs of saving for retirement, and introduce improved governance and oversight of pension funds.
I am pleased to note that the National Development Agency, NDA, has stabilised and is now better able to fulfil its mandate of funding poverty alleviation and development projects in poor communities. To date, the National Development Agency has funded projects that have benefited about 230 000 people.
Over the MTEF period, this agency will complement government efforts of eradicating poverty by supporting the department's overall development goals, including the implementation of a comprehensive antipoverty strategy.
The antipoverty strategy is premised on an approach that integrates social security, investment in people through education and skills development and a set of economic and industrial policies. Central to this strategy is the determination to root out intergenerational poverty. We need to move towards a scenario in which we can confidently state that today's generation will be better than yesterday's, and tomorrow's generation will be better off than today's. [Applause.] The attainment of this goal will require us to integrate our intersectoral interventions with measurable targets, social indicators and timeframes. The social protection and community development cluster, which we lead, by the way, leads the antipoverty strategy – this is also co-ordinated by the Deputy President - and will facilitate synergies between government and other sections of society.
Since assuming responsibility for this portfolio, the following question is one that I believe the whole of government and society needs to respond to: What do we need to do to reduce the need and the demand for social grants? In answering this question, it is evident that only when the poor have decent employment or are gainfully self-employed will the demand reduce. Investment in human and physical assets will need to be complemented by an economy that absorbs people and lays the basis for decent jobs.
The Department of Social Development, however, has some very specific contributions to make in this regard. In the first instance, investment in the development of children is one of the primary needs, and this is the area in which we need to ensure that we improve society's human capital and over time contribute to a reduction in intergenerational poverty. The comprehensive early childhood learning programme lies at the heart of our goal. To this end, we intend to accelerate the registration of early childhood development sites from 13 734 that we have currently to 14 401 – you may wonder why I counted the one of 14 401, but I am sure you know that one centre takes quite a number of children – and also increase the number of children in registered early childhood development centres to 758 000. Our goals are inspired by our grand ideal: Everyone belongs, everyone is significant, and everyone deserves a chance.
Other interventions envisaged by the antipoverty strategy are to focus service delivery at the household level with the aim of linking individuals and families with key services from government. In pursuance of this goal, my department has been tasked with assessing and collecting information on the needs of households and communities in 150 wards across the country. Those 150 wards are the main poverty-stricken wards. We will do this in partnership with the provincial departments of social development, relevant nongovernmental organisations, and the Independent Development Trust, the IDT.
Another contribution is in respect of our work in the Expanded Public Works Programme. We are tasked with co-ordinating the social sector's efforts to create and sustain jobs. As Social Development, we seek to provide training to an additional 1 500 community caregivers and over 2 500 ECD practitioners.
Aside from our focus on children, we need to be conscious of developing our youth. Young people still contend with unemployment, disease, hunger and skills deficits. As a contribution to meeting these challenges, my department successfully launched, or initiated rather, the Masupatsela Youth Pioneer Programme as part of the broad National Youth Service Programme.
During the 2008-09 financial year, 2 114 youth pioneers were recruited into the programme, while over 1 750 of those took part in the war on poverty initiatives throughout the country. We will deepen the implementation of this programme over the MTEF period.
As part of our commitment to the provision of comprehensive developmental welfare services to all South Africans, we will enhance our partnerships with NGOs and community-based institutions. The provision of home community-based care has grown rapidly over the past five years. Numbers that we have in the department do show this. Last year, 2,1 million orphans and vulnerable children received psychosocial support from this particular department.
To ensure that individuals and families affected by HIV and Aids receive the necessary support, we will continue with the capacity-building of home community-based care centres, as well as the organisations. A study of child-headed households shows that these organisations are providing invaluable services to vulnerable children and their families.
The department has signed a memorandum of understanding with the community food bank network in South Africa to set up food banks throughout the country to ensure an adequate food supply to poor households. Food banks are mechanisms to collect and distribute food from retailers, small-scale producers and other suppliers to communities in need but also to facilitate the production of particularly fresh vegetables and fresh produce by those communities themselves, as part and parcel of ensuring food security.
We will strengthen our support to NGOs, which provide a variety of services to the poor and vulnerable. We are particularly keen to support the gender-based-violence sector and other organisations that advocate for women rights and empowerment.
We will also work with the NGOs to strengthen families and communities. In this regard, the Deputy Minister will provide more specific details about our interventions to support the vulnerable children, people with disabilities and other older persons and on the growing phenomenon of substance abuse and human trafficking.
This nation faces a severe shortage of social workers. As part of our response to this challenge, we will continue to provide funding to students who aspire to a career in social work. Accordingly, we have increased the allocation for social work bursaries to R210 million during the current financial year. [Applause.]
To this end, we have given bursaries to over 6 420 students to register for courses in social work at several institutions of higher learning.
Chairperson and hon members, we will continue to consolidate and deepen our commitment to regional integration and the creation of a better Africa through our participation – a better Africa and better world, I dare say – in multilateral organisations and South-South co-operation. We have signed several agreements, and we believe that these agreements, going forward, will help us as a country.
We want to take this opportunity to recognise the partnerships that we have with the Gift of the Givers Foundation, Tiger Brands and many other community organisations. I want to take this opportunity to say that during this year we will call a summit to really take these matters of partnerships seriously.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody, the MECs, the managers, the Deputy Minister, my predecessor and everybody, members of the standing committee, in particular all chairpersons, for the wonderful work and support that they gave us. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms Y R BOTHA /Mia / END OF TAKE
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Ms Y R BOTHA: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister of Social Development, hon Deputy Minister of Social Development, hon members, members of executive councils in provinces, comrades and friends, firstly, Chairperson, allow me to congratulate the Minister and Deputy Minister of Social Development on their appointments. The committee and I are looking forward to having a robust working relationship with them, and with the Department of Social Development – Sassa - and the National Development Agency.
The committee has concluded its deliberations on Vote 16, which represents a sector consisting of a wide range of services that are all professional in nature, specialised and focused on the most vulnerable in our society. The United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development defines development as a comprehensive economic, social, cultural and political process which aims at the constant improvement of the wellbeing of the entire population and all individuals on the basis of their active, free and meaningful participation in development and in the fair distribution of benefits resulting there from.
Looking back to 15 years ago, the wellbeing of the South African nation was nonexistent. We lived in an unequal society, far removed from the ideals contained in the UN Declaration on the Right to Development. No South African was free, and the unfair distribution of benefits and services benefited only a few South Africans, while the black majority was given third-rate services and benefits. Fifteen years later the government, led by the ANC, has progressed fairly well in the transformation of the state and society. Social development is part of that developmental transformation agenda.
Therefore, it is appreciated that the department moved from a "welfarist approach" to a social developmental approach. With that came an equalisation of services of government. The basket of services that government provides to the poor and the vulnerable is substantial, to say the least. Let me give hon members an example.
Let's take Mrs M, a single mother. Since 1994 single mothers have had access to housing – a privilege they did not enjoy previously. Now Mrs M can also have access to free basic services such as water and sanitation. If she is jobless, she can qualify for a social grant and she can even be registered as an indigent at a municipality and qualify for free basic services such as water and electricity. Mrs M will also have access to free primary health care and to a secondary or academic hospital in the area. Her children will receive free education at a no-fee school. She will be able to get same-day approval for a child support grant for her children and can receive a foster care grant for the children of her sister who died. Through the Expanded Public Works Programme she can be part of a learnership programme of government, in this case Social Services, and after a year she will have a qualification that will see her adequately qualified to venture into the job market. [Applause.] If she has a dream of starting a new business, that is not an impossibility but a possibility. She will also receive free psychosocial support from the Department of Social Services.
We can thus be satisfied that we have come a long way since the dark days of apartheid. [Applause.] But one cannot eliminate the activities of inequality and discrimination, which came about over hundreds of years, in one and a half decades. [Applause.] Thus the roles of the Department of Social Development and its entities are crucial in creating a nonsexist, prosperous and democratic society in South Africa. The department's vision and mission statements do reflect this ideal of creating such a society, but the proof of the pudding is, of course, in the eating.
To quote from their presentation, the Department of Social Development "provides strategic direction for social services delivery". It also makes sure that sector and intersectoral programmes and policies are developed. The department also has a facilitating role of centralised functions which it shares with other national departments. A feather in its cap is the quality of research that the department has delivered over the years since the birth of this democracy. It's a function that has served the social sector well.
The provinces implement social welfare legislation within the national framework. They are the implementers, co-ordinators and planners of social services in general. Provinces are at the coalface of delivering developmental social welfare services to communities.
Coming back to the Department of Social Development and its entities, the role of the department in the revised cluster is noted. We hope that the new cluster system will yield the desired rewards, namely better integration, better co-ordination and, of course, better outcomes.
I want to thank the department for the thorough financial analysis on the Budget Vote and for the management of the finances of the department and its entities in previous financial years. The budgeted total of R86 billion is mostly made up from the comprehensive social security programme. It is heartening to see that the department has made great strides in staying within the budget while also promising not to underspend chronically. The committee will be monitoring that, and will observe with interest how the department manages the challenges of staying within budget as well as the actual expenditure on programmes and priorities.
The first democratically elected President of this Republic, Nelson Mandela, said that the purpose of the budget was to bring about a better life for all, and that it was about transforming our country altogether. Therefore this committee will endeavour, within the confines of the Constitution, to monitor whether taxpayers' money is properly spent as planned. The committee kept to the qualitative approach in terms of its oversight exercise in examining Budget Vote 16. We interrogated the question whether the funds would be spent prudently, efficiently and effectively, and whether their strategic planning was sustainable and realistic.
Next I come to some matters of public importance. The spate of child murders and rapes in our country has really upset the nation, and children are a nation's future. Criminals are preventing us from walking the streets and our children from feeling the sun on their faces. We have to speak out and condemn these cases of child murder and rape. Men will have to speak to their sons, and mothers to their sons and daughters. Society will have to look within itself for moral renewal, reviving the culture of respect and restoring family values. Communities will have to engage on a journey of social cohesion.
With a department like Social Development and its entities such as Sassa and the NDA being fairly well managed, efficiency gains should be an area of focus. The trying economic times are also forcing departments to work economically with publically voted funds. I hope the officials will take this in the spirit in which I am saying it. Officials flying economy class like the rest of us mortals – will that be happening in terms of cost containment? Turnaround times for the filling of vacant posts are also an option for the department to consider.
The mandate of this Vote is huge and they are managing it very well. We wish the Minister and the Deputy Minister well in attaining their strategic priorities. We look forward to meeting them again. Working together we can do more. Deur saam te werk, kan ons meer bereik. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms S P KOPANE / END OF TAKE
Ms Y R BOTHA
Ms S P KOPANE: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, Members of Parliament, ladies and gentlemen and my kids up there in the gallery for support, I would like to congratulate the Minister Mme Edna Molewa and the Deputy Minister Mme Bathabile Dlamini on their appointment. We are really looking forward to working with you. The Department of Social Development plays a very critical role in the lives of ordinary South African people. Without its critical intervention, many South Africans would be left out of the social safety net.
Modulasetulo Mosotho are mosadi o tshwara thipa ka bohaleng, ka hona ke a dumela hore ha se ka phoso ha Lefapha la Thekolohelo le tla tsamaiswa ke bomme ... [Mahofi.] ... mme ke re ho bomme: Mosebetsi ke oo, ha re weleng temeng setjhaba sa Aforika Borwa se tshepetse ho rona.
I strongly believe that we have all come here today because we have the common objective of bringing hope and dignity to our people. I hope that any apparent criticism from the DA, based on the department's performance, will be taken in this context. Therefore we need a collective, sober assessment of the problems facing the department.
We need to have the necessary commitment and passion to do our work diligently. During the past two weeks we have been given presentations on the strategic plans of the Department of Social Development, the SA Social Security Agency and the National Development Agency. Their intentions on paper are welcomed, but the implementation and the monitoring of these plans remain challenging issues.
Having succeeded in expanding our social security net, the challenge now is to deliver high-quality service in a dignified and sustainable manner to our people. We are facing an economic meltdown in our country, and the levels of poverty and unemployment remain very high. Thus our people are exposed to many social ills like child abuse and rape. These impact negatively on the moral fibre of our society.
There are many problems currently facing the department. Even the portfolio committee agrees that there are these problems facing us. But we strongly believe that we need to give these problems urgent attention if we are to be able to deliver an effective and efficient service to our people.
Some of the concerns are as follows: Firstly, it is a worry for us that the South African means test, to determine who qualifies for social grants, exclude many deserving South Africans citizens who would otherwise be eligible for such assistance. For example, the old-age pension means test excludes many needy people who have tried to get an old-age pension. Perhaps we need to start debating whether we should be introducing a universal old-age pension for all citizens.
The ongoing manipulation of the grant system by the ruling party for narrow party-political interests, to the exclusion of many of the deserving poor and most vulnerable South Africans, remains an issue. [Interjections.] There is a high incidence of fraud and corruption and noncompliance with the specified procedures. [Interjections.] Some doctors and public servants are plotting with criminal syndicates to defraud the government and deprive the legitimate claimants of their rights. We need to know from the Minister what steps are to be taken to ensure that we do not have a repeat of the situation we faced several years ago, in which 2 058 public servants were found in court of having received social grants fraudulently.
The vacancy rate at the department is unacceptably high, Minister. For the 2007-08 financial year it stood at 23,3%, while at the SA Social Security Agency it was 60%. Sassa's role is to administer and transfer the social security payment to over 13 million poor South Africans who rely on the grants for their survival. The vacancy rate will obviously hinder service delivery. For example, the finance department tasked with detecting the grant fraud has a vacancy rate of 49,2%. Although Sassa has exceeded its target of filling 2% of its posts with disabled people, it remains a concern that there are no disabled people between levels 14 and 16.
We need to know what plans the Minister has to attract competent and suitably qualified people who are fit for the job. We must be sure that there is no place for cadre deployment, which will compromise service to our people. [Interjections.]
The DA is concerned about the fact that the expenditure on Social Development has increased sharply, especially on the disability and the foster care grants. Such a rate of increase cannot be sustained particularly in the face of the economic meltdown and plunging tax revenues we are facing. A society in which a large section of the population depends on social welfare cannot be sustained. The DA believes strongly that the creation of productive opportunities and effective skills improvement programmes will reduce dependence on social grants and result in citizens becoming more self-reliant.
Re le mokga wa Democratic Alliance re a itlama ho sebetsa mmoho le bohle ba lakaletsang setjhaba sa rona tse molemo. Ka hona re tla sebetsa le bohle ebang ho na le ponaletso.Re etsa boipiletso ka hona ho letona le kgabane hore re qale mosebetsi ka tsela e nepahetseng hore re tsebe ho hlaola tsohle tse mpe. Re le DA re tla dula re beile maemo leihlo empa re ke ke ra qeaqea ho thoholetsa haele hore ho na le tse ntle ebang di le teng, ebile hape re ke ke ra thola haeba ditaba di le mosenekeng. Ke a leboha. [Mahofi.]
Ms N P GCUME / C.I / END OF TAKE
Ms S P KOPANE
Ms N P GCUME: Hon Speaker, hon Ministers and Deputy Minister, hon members, the issue of social development and social security nets is a crucial part of the fight against poverty in our country. We wish you well as you steer the government towards succeeding in this area of its work that seeks to care for the poor and the vulnerable. As our own Madiba said in Trafalgar Square in 2005, "Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and can only be overcome by the actions of human beings."
In the state of the nation address, the President of the Republic seemed to celebrate that as many as 12 million people were dependent on social grants. While this is an example of human beings making sure that our people do not die of hunger, it should not be something to celebrate that so many have become so helpless. We have to take a clear stance to teach our people to fish rather than be satisfied with giving them fish. We can defeat poverty if government and all citizens work together for change and hope.
Cope therefore is clear that this overdependency on grants needs to be dealt with by coherent programmes of giving our people dignity through earning a living. We are painfully aware that apartheid left many of our people unable to lift themselves out of a cycle of dependency. If we are serious about social development, we must break that cycle.
Today I want to address the issue of information dissemination; the endemic corruption that has become synonymous with this area of South African life and the appalling service culture linked to these grants.
The department has good programmes that are intended to intervene in reducing poverty, but the people who require this information don't know about them. There is a lot of educating that the department must do about who qualifies for grants. Stories of communities abusing these grants are largely based on the poor outreach and communications programmes of the department.
We are tired of hearing stories about youngsters falling pregnant merely to receive child grants. This and many other appalling practices can be defeated by the dissemination of information about the fact that these grants are an intervention not a way of life. [Applause.] This intervention will require close working relations with the Departments of Health and Education, amongst others. [Applause.]
Adverts for bursaries that were being handed out by the department were advertised only in the mainstream media to the neglect of direct distribution of that information to rural areas. This led to the bursaries missing their targets and ending up in the wrong hands. Of the 4 800 bursaries that the department awarded, it is not clear whether they reached the needy or simply those connected to officials of the department. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order, hon members!
Ms N P GCUME: There are enough resources to sustain the social security needs of the country. There is a need to ensure that these resources are not plundered by civil servants or misused by the ruling party as electioneering material. [Applause.]
The use of food parcels, for example during an election season, is an insult to our people. The distribution of these by people wearing party T-shirts not by Social Development employees is a bad thing. [Interjections.] The ruling party has yet to learn that they are the government for all the people not for just party supporters. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order, hon members! Order please! What is the point of order, hon member?
An HON MEMBER: Chair, I just wanted to ask if it is possible for the member to take a question. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): No. She is not going to do that. You may continue, hon member.
Ms N P GCUME: An impression that was given to voters was that their grants would be taken away if they don't vote for the ANC. [Interjections.] That must be condemned and, hopefully, Minister, you will eradicate such conduct and give us the assurance that the budget you request us to approve is not going to be used to fund party-political campaigns. [Applause.]
The Special Investigating Unit has, in a recent reports, disclosed that close to 7 000 civil servants were caught with their hands in the social grant till. Over R400 million of social grant money has been stolen through these acts of corruption. On top of this, over 21 000 civil servants were illegal recipients of social grants. [Interjections.]
How much more of this corruption accounts for the plundering of resources meant for the poor? We hope that your investigation into this social grant issue will not leave those found guilty unpunished. To make matters worse, we had to read in the newspaper that your predecessor was part of a fraudulent tender award to a company associated with his wife. This is bad and it shouldn't happen. We don't want our leaders in the papers.
We call for a full-scale investigation into the multimillion-rand tender for the distribution of grants to ensure that no government official can use the poverty of our people to enrich themselves. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Hon members, I just want to appeal to you that even if heckling is allowed, we must give the Minister an opportunity to listen to whatever the members are saying because at the end of the debate the Minister has to respond.
Ms H N MAKHUBA
Ms N P GCUME
Ms H N MAKHUBA: Hon Chairperson, Minister, Deputy Minister and my family in the gallery, there are many communities and people in our country who are trapped in poverty and who are very vulnerable. Without assistance from the state, these people would struggle to survive, let alone escape their lives of poverty. So the work of this department is very important as it has a great impact on the lives of the most vulnerable citizens of our country.
The department has an array of grants available for those who need them. The problem, however, lies in the fact that there are still many people who don't know about the grants and how to go about accessing them. The dissemination of information is therefore very important, and this is an area the department needs to improve if it is to reach more people. Many potential recipients are either illiterate or do not have access to this information, and this must be borne in mind when attempting to reach them.
The human resources of the department and its agencies are probably the most important assets that they have. They deal directly with the recipients of grants and are therefore in the perfect position to assist with the dissemination of information as well as with the identification of obstacles that are preventing them from delivering an efficient service.
Also related to the issue of social grants is the problem of fraudulent claims, especially by public servants. The previous Minister did try to address this problem and we hope that the new administration will intensify these efforts until all such corruption is wiped out.
There were major flaws with the distribution of food parcels and vouchers which were meant to assist the poor during times of extremely high food prices. There was no logic in the way that these were distributed and many people who really needed them did not receive any. The department must conduct a review of this operation and of the way in which it was administered so that the same mistakes are not repeated in the future.
In order to promote efficiency and to provide a better service, there must be increased co-ordination between this department and other departments, such as Health and Home Affairs, which also deal with social issues and impact directly on the lives of the people.
While the IFP does believe in the provision of grants, it is important that a culture of dependency is not created and that self-sufficiency and self-help are promoted. The IFP supports this Budget Vote. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr V V MAGAGULA / VM/ END OF TAKE
Ms H N MAKHUBA
Mnu V V MAGAGULA: Somlomo Lohloniphekile, mpatsi we, ndvuna yelitiko letekutfutukisa ihlalakahle, nelisekela lakho, nine bakagogo, nine boPhunga naMageba, bekunene.
Minister, as the ANC, we welcome the speech. It speaks well on the war on poverty which was launched in August last year in the Free State. The objective of the operation is poverty. The progress is clear. The war room on poverty unit is structured differently in the provinces.
What is social development? Social development means transforming institutions to empower people. It comprises investment in human and social capital for the advancement of people's wellbeing. This includes actions which expand an individual capabilities and opportunities; promoting social inclusion and combating social ills; and enriching the social fabric needed for human development.
Successful social development involves supporting individuals, families and communities to develop and deliver their own solutions; focusing on the whole package of needs, strengths and issues for individuals, families and communities; ensuring that social and economic development interventions support each other and are sustainable; taking a whole-of-life perspective; government working in partnership with local authorities and with the private sector to develop local services; developing solid evidence about what works and regularly monitoring South Africans' wellbeing; and ensuring that there is flexibility to respond to regional and local needs.
According to the 2005 United Nations World Summit on Social Development, "the ultimate goal of social development is to improve and enhance the quality of life of all people". The World Summit adopted the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action, which was signed by South Africa and more than 100 other nations. The declaration promotes democracy, human dignity, social justice and solidarity, as well as the equitable distribution of income and greater access to resources through equity and equality of opportunity for all.
In terms of an overview of the social development approach, the notion of wellbeing is a useful starting point for describing overall the ANC-led government's goals. Wellbeing is partly a function of a person's ability to make choices and live the type of life they want to lead. Wellbeing is not simply about access to income or resources, but is also related to health and education, and to social, cultural, environmental and political outcomes. It includes participation in formal and informal political processes that constitute governance at all levels in society. It also involves participation in cultural processes that create and sustain individual groups and collective identities.
At a very general level, the objective of the ANC-led government is to improve both the overall level and the distribution of wellbeing. In other words, while policy focuses on improving the average wellbeing of all members of society, it is also constrained by a need to ensure that all individuals achieve some level of wellbeing above the basic minimum level; have the opportunity of a fair chance to achieve their potential; and that the wellbeing of future generations is protected.
We are happy that the Department of Social Development is working closely with the Department of Trade and Industry in determining opportunities and in coming up with a draft concept document of social development co-operatives. We are indeed pleased that the department is trying to explore opportunities through which social grants can be complemented in order to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable livelihoods. [Time expired.] Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr G G BOINAMO: Madam Chair, I rise on a point of order. Madam Chair, I just want to find out if it is possible for members to practice their speeches before they come to the House. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Hon member, that is not a point of order. [Interjections.] Order, hon members!
Ms P E ADAMS
Mr V V MAGAGULA
Ms P E ADAMS: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister and hon members ...
... Agb Minister en Adjunkminister, baie geluk met u aanstellings in u onderskeie posisies.
My humble plea to you is to be very biased towards the poor and frail in society. The mission statement of the Department of Social Development is "to enable the poor, the vulnerable and the excluded within South African society to secure a better life for themselves, in partnership with them and with all those who are committed to building a caring society".
In 2000 is die naam van die departement verander van die Departement van Welsyn en Bevolkingsontwikkeling na die Departement van Maatskaplike Ontwikkeling omdat een van die sleutelareas van die betrokke departement is om armoede verlig en om sosiale integrasie te bevorder. Hierdeur het die fokus dus verskuif vanaf welsyn na gemeenskapsontwikkeling deur die samewerking en bemagtiging van gemeenskappe. [Applous.]
Gedurende die laaste vyf jaar is die anti-armoede strategie geïntensifiseer weens beter koördinasie en 'n meer sistematiese en konsulterende benadering. Hierdeur word die missiestelling van die Departement van Gemeenskaplike Ontwikkeling uitgevoer. Hierdie strategie vereis egter ook 'n proses van deurlopende evaluering en asessering sodat die kliënt en die mense 'n beter lewe deur maatskaplike dienslewering en interdepartementele samewerking kan kry.
Ten spyte van die ANC-geleide regering se intense ingryping, bly armoede, ongelykhede en werkloosheid van die groot uitdagings wat oorkom moet word. Armoede ken geen geslag, ras of ouderdom nie. Daarom moet armoede as 'n nasionale probleem aangespreek word. In hoofstuk 2 van die Grondwet van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika word gemeld: "Everyone has the right to access social security, including if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants."
In u dienslewering moet mense, veral kinders en bejaardes, wat die mees kwesbares in die gemeenskap is, eerste gestel word. In sy staatsrede het President Zuma ondermeer gesê:
"The fight against poverty remains the cornerstone of our government's focus, for as long as women are subjected to discrimination, exploitation or abuse and children do not have the opportunity to receive a decent education, we shall not rest, dare not falter in our drive to eradicate poverty."
Die strategiese plan van die Departement van Gemeenskapsontwikkeling vir 2009-12 maak onder andere voorsiening vir die beskerming van kinders deur die infassering van die aangepaste Kinderwet van 2005 deurdat die nodige beleide, strategieë en programme ontwikkel is om kinderregte te bevorder en te fokus op die beskerming van weerlose kinders.
Die Ke Moja bewusmakingsprogram wat beteken "No thanks, I'm fine without drugs" is een van die inisiatiewe wat daarop gemik is om dwelmmisbruik onder die jeug te bekamp en hulle te bemagtig om ingeligte en verantwoordelike besluite teen groepsdruk te kan neem. Hierdie program moet ook uitgerol word na ander provinsies. Die geweldige tegnologiese ontwikkeling van die afgelope twee dekades het kinders verslaaf. Min of geen navorsing is nog gedoen of aan ouers bekend aangaande die effek wat "facebook", "chat rooms", SMSe, "Mixit", videospeletjies, en andere op die ontwikkeling van kinders het. Die rook van die okkapyp het 'n algemene gebruik geword in baie van ons gemeenskappe. Hoe beïnvloed dit die gesondheid en ontwikkeling van die rokers? Is dit 'n "stepping stone" [Oorgang.] vir meer verslawende dwelms? Daar word beweer dat dagga en pille deur dié pyp gerook word.
The foundations of social behaviour are laid in childhood. The early childhood development programme should be accelerated, despite the fact that 50% of the target has already been met.
Daar moet veral gefokus word op die landelike gebiede waar daar nog nie voldoende infrastruktuur is nie. [Tyd verstreke.] Baie dankie. [Applous.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT / NP/END OF TAKE
Ms P E ADAMS
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Chairperson, hon Minister of Social Development, other Ministers, and Deputy Minister, hon Members of Parliament, MECs for social development, distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen, Budget Vote No 16, as highlighted by the hon Minister, responds to the call made by the hon President for us to give effect to our commitment to creating a better life for all.
During the 52nd conference of the ANC in Polokwane in December 2007, the ruling party observed that our society was faced with many challenges, and resolved to confront them head-on. The ANC recognised that poverty, violent crime against women and children, increasing numbers of orphans and vulnerable children, and the increasing levels of substance abuse in our communities remain areas of major concern that deserve our immediate attention. Our work during the current Medium-Term Expenditure Framework will seek to address these challenges.
The work of transforming our society from the social ills caused by centuries of apartheid social engineering will take more than just the government to accomplish. We agree with you, chairperson of the portfolio committee, that it is a noble ideal to take our people out of the poverty cycle that they were plunged into by the very ruthless engineers of apartheid. [Applause.]
I was humbled on Wednesday, 1 July 2009, this week when I was invited to speak to the 17th biennial conference of the National Association of Child Care Workers, the NACCW, an association that is working to promote care and support for orphaned, vulnerable children and youth through interventions such as the Isibindi Model. I would like to commend the NACCW and its affiliates for the significant contributions they continue to make towards changing the lives of many children in our country.
This initiative, together with many others by various organisations throughout the country, recognises the reality that protection of the rights of children is indeed a national challenge which cannot be addressed by the government alone.
We acknowledge and thank our partners, in particular, the nongovernmental organisations, community-based organisations and faith-based organisations that form a crucial link in the chain of service delivery. I say to these organisations: Some of you were in the trenches with the ANC during the times of the apartheid struggle. Today, although the consequences of past policies still remain with us, our enemies are the twin monsters of poverty and underdevelopment. Through our united action, we defeated the demon of apartheid in 1994. Today, through unity of purpose, we must prepare to implement our progressive social policies embodied in the provisions of various pieces of legislation that have been passed over the past 15 past years, more particularly in the past three years.
The pieces of legislation concerned include the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act, the Older Persons' Act, and the Children's Act. In addition to legislative interventions, our programmes also respond to the challenges faced by women, children in conflict with the law, people with disabilities, and the challenges of HIV and Aids.
Our society faces the scourge of drug abuse that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of our society. To date, our country has the highest number of methamphetamine users in the world, especially among people under the age of 20, with the highest number recorded in this province, the Western Cape. This is an indicator of a huge crisis. We cannot accept this; we will not allow it. The 52nd conference of the ANC recognised this threat and called for the co-ordinated national drug campaign to be intensified to fight substance abuse. The Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act, Act No 70 of 2008, is a response to this crisis.
Our focus will be on reducing the demand for drugs and support for treatment. In this regard, we will continue with our effort to strengthen the implementation of our drug-prevention initiative, the "Ke Moja", meaning "I am fine without drugs campaign" which targets young people through arts, sport and the transfer of critical life skills.
The struggle to reduce the demand for drugs and other harmful substances is a war that we must continue to wage collectively. This means engaging and encouraging everyone: parents, teachers, community leaders and, most importantly, me and you, to play our part in full. Together we can achieve most. [Applause.]
We are committed to the creation of a society that cares for and protects the rights of older persons. The hon Minister has referred to the equalisation of pensionable age between men and women for the exercise of their right to access to social security, as determined by the conference of the progressive ANC. [Applause.] In order to complement that resolution, during this financial year we will expedite the implementation of the Older Persons Act of 2006. We will operationalise the country's Plan of Action on Ageing to give effect to the Madrid Plan of Action commitments.
While delivery of social services to older persons is crucial in the work of the department, programmes that are designed to ensure that our elderly are not alienated from normal community life are regarded as equally important by the department. We are engaging with community-based organisations with the aim of strengthening or establishing intergenerational programmes at community level as well as to support older persons in their efforts to participate in various community activities.
The involvement of older persons in community activities will also elevate the role they play in communities with regards to the caring for and socialisation of children and intergenerational transmission of positive cultural values which contribute towards social cohesion in families and communities.
Gender equality and the empowerment of women is a developmental goal that cuts across all our objectives. The conference of the ANC resolved that gender equality is the cornerstone of our overall social transformation. In this respect, we will continue with the gender capacity-building focusing on mainstreaming, masculinity and ensuring equity in budgeting. These initiatives will reinforce our programmes to close the income gap, the representivity gap in management and the social status gap between men and women. [Applause.] In addition, appropriate empowerment interventions demand that we address both gender-practical and gender-specific needs in all spheres of our lives.
The ANC conference recognises that children are the future of our country and, therefore, measures to invest in their development have to ensure that the environment is conducive to their growth. Our contribution to this commitment is geared towards tackling child poverty and the provision of child-protection services.
The department will implement the new Children's Act which introduces fundamental changes with regards to the protection of the constitutional rights of children in South Africa. The increasing number of children who are orphaned in the country requires us to utilise all available options and resources to provide these children not only with alternative care, in the form of foster care and residential care, but with a stable, permanent home environment, such as adoption. Our intake of adoption in this country is very low.
In order to address this, we will develop a strategy that will encourage South Africans to adopt children that need permanent placement with suitable families or individuals. A register on adoptable children and adoptive parents is also being developed. This will ensure that all children that are vulnerable and eligible for adoption are known and matched with prospective parents in South Africa. We are also undertaking research to determine the reasons for the low interest by South Africans in adopting children.
The protection of orphans and vulnerable children is of great significance to us. In this respect, we will continue to work with our partners through the National Action Committee for Children Affected by HIV and Aids to improve the quality of our services to children affected by HIV and those living with Aids. We will also develop strategies which outline the kind of support we will lend to child-headed households.
The Minister has spoken about the progress we have made in increasing the number of children who are receiving early childhood development services. We are also going to mobilise and ensure that we expand to rural areas because the rights of children in rural areas are equal to the rights of children in urban areas.
The 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup and the upcoming 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa raise various concerns about the possible increase in the abuse, neglect, exploitation and trafficking of children during this event. Although there were no reports of child trafficking during the Fifa Confederations Cup, it is expected that the 2010 Fifa World Cup could create conditions for the increased vulnerability of women and children and provide opportunities for abusers, exploiters and traffickers to meet the perceived increased demand for cheap labour and the sex industry. The department, together with other stakeholders, developed an action plan to prevent the exploitation of children during this event.
The full integration of people with disabilities into the mainstream of society remains uppermost in our minds and plans are under way to develop strategies to implement policies on disability. The recent evaluation report of the Africa decade called for more systematic concerted efforts from all sectors of our society to sustain the progress made in making disability rights human rights. In this respect, we will work jointly with our partners in the disability sector to expedite the implementation of these commitments, especially in rural areas.
Nonprofit organisations, NPOs, play an important role in the provision of social services to the most vulnerable members of our society. To ensure compliance with the Nonprofit Organisation Act, we will enhance systems that seek to monitor compliance. Similarly, we will heighten the speedy registration of NPOs and ensure that we register all applications for registration within two months. Given that NGOs are a key part of our value chain, we will implement programmes to improve their capacities, including governance and accountability.
In conclusion, on 18 July 2009 South Africa will celebrate the first Nelson Mandela Day, which will also be commemorated internationally. On this day we ask all South Africans to emulate the sacrifices and services of Nelson Mandela and his comrades as well as the unsung heroes and heroines that brought us to this democracy we are all enjoying.
Our contribution will be easier in comparison to theirs in that we will be required to contribute 67 minutes of our time on that day. Please use those 67 minutes. [Time expired.] Thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]
Ms C DUDLEY / MS / END OF TAKE
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Ms C DUDLEY: Thank you, hon Chair. Hon Ministers, the fact that the substantially increased budget is positioned to improve social assistance and welfare services is encouraging for the ACDP. We also welcome the allocation for social work bursaries. Of necessity, the largest portion of the R80,4 billion intended to provide social assistance goes to old age grants followed by child support and then disability grants.
Hon Minister, what is happening in the Eastern Cape with mineworkers, thousands of whom went to work in the mines during the apartheid era? Are we correct in understanding that they are to register to receive payment in lieu of pensions that they never received? Officials are said to be in the Eastern Cape right now to do the registration and are charging registration fees of R205. Can this be correct? Where will these pensioners get the R205 and transport money to be registered? The ACDP is concerned that if this is not the department, but another entity, you may need to clear that up.
The ACDP is relieved that child support grants for 15-year-olds will take effect this year and extend to 18-year-olds. The present lack of child support for 15- to 18-year-olds has resulted in children in significant numbers resorting to prostitution, seen as their only hope of survival. This is tragic, and the ACDP appeals to the Minister to urgently deliver on these extended grants as the problem is not dealt with just because the intention is there.
While the increased budget for welfare services to improve protection for vulnerable groups looks promising, there are serious problems in the provinces where budget allocation is totally inadequate for implementation of the Children's Act, especially in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. Not even 50% of what is required has been allocated. Hon Minister, what influence does the department have in this regard? What is to be done? This will cost us dearly in the long run as we are failing our children in the most disturbing circumstances.
The steep decline in the number of people who have applied to adopt children and to offer themselves as foster parents is a growing concern, especially as child abandonment and neglect have increased. Welfare workers agree that children need to be cared for in environments where they have a sense of security and belonging, as has been said. Hon Minister, will this budget enable the department to adequately address this decrease and more effectively encourage a culture of adoption?
Last July, in two devastating raids, the Gauteng social development department removed 30 children from the Siyakhula Orphanage, traumatising the children. Eunice Mabasa, a granny from Orange Farm in the Vaal, who eight years ago opened her house and heart to destitute children and orphans, was unaware of the legal requirement and failed to register the orphanage. She says:
Why does the government punish me by taking my children away? Is it not its job to guide me by providing me with information? Now that I know, I will register because I fear the children might be harmed.
As an article in the Sowetan said, one would think it is better to have children in unregistered orphanages than on street corners, sniffing glue and benzene, and eventually resorting to crime to survive. "Help her," they wrote, "she has been doing great work since 1999."
Hon Minister, has the situation been rectified, and what measures are in place to ensure this sort of heavy-handed, short-sighted approach will not be repeated? Thank you. [Time expired.]
Ms J MANGANYE
Ms C DUDLEY
Moht J MANGANYE: Modulasetulo, maloko a a tlotlegang a Ntlokgolo, Tona le Motlatsa-Tona, baeng ba rona, bagolwane ba mafapha, dumelang! BommeDitona, le fa ke le magorogomaša mo komiting e, ka re le amogetswe. Re tlile go dira mmogo le lona. Setswana sa re, ya etelelwa pele ke e namagadi ya wela ka lengope, mme nna ke na le Setswana se ke atleng ke se itirele ka re ba ba neng ba dira diane tseo maloba e ne e le borre fela, ka jalo ka re ya etelelwa ke tse
dinamagadi kwa pele ya bona botshelo.
Bomme, lo tsena mo ditlhakong tsa Rre yo o neng a dira tiro ya gagwe ka botswapelo le ka boineelo, ka jalo ga ke na poifo gore jaaka lo tlhophilwe go tla go etelela lefapha le, le ka dira go le gontsi. Le fa ke bua mafoko a, ga re kitla re swa lentswe fa dilo di sa tsamae ka tsela mo lefapheng. Re tshwanetse re dire mmogo gore re tle re kgone.
As from 1 April 2006, the responsibility for the management, administration and payment of social grants was transferred to the SA Social Security Agency, Sassa. The SA Social Security Agency is a section 3A public entity, the focused institution responsible to ensure that government pays the right grant, to the right person, at the location which is most convenient to that person.
The agency delivery model aims to ensure that the administration and payment of social grants becomes more customer-focused, while ensuring regular reviews of beneficiary eligibility.
Tshekatsheko le kutlwisiso ya loago, ya togamaano a go fedisa bobodu mo lefapheng, e tshwanetse go tsepamisetswa matlho. E tshwanetse go dirwa ka matsetseleko le ka tsepamo. Mo go katoloseng dingwaga tsa bana ba ba leng 14 go fitlha go ba dingwaga di le 18, lefapha le dirile go le gontsi, ka jalo re le ba mokgatlho wa ANC re a kgotsofala gore re na le badiredi ba ba re reetsang ka ba kgona go tsenya tirisong melawana ya rona e re dumalaneng ka yona kwa Polokwane. [Legofi.]
Re boa re sekaseka gore re le bomme, re farologana jang le borre fa re bua ka tekatekanyo. Jaaka mokgatlho o o kgaratlhela gore bomme le borre ba lekalekane, lefapha le kgatlhamphane go dira gore borre ba dingwaga di le 60 le bona ba kgone go fiwa madi a disusa.
Diporosente di le 70 tsa baamogedi ba madi a disusa, ba sa ntse ba a amogela ka mokgwa wa "Cash Pay Masters". Mokgwa o o re tsenya ka fa mosing re le mokgatlho wa ANC, ka gonne o tsenya matshelo a batho ba rona mo kotsing. Fa dirukhutlhi di ntse kwa gae, ga di akanye sepe fela fa e se go gama kgomo e e bidiwang madi a disusa. Ka jalo re rotloetsa batho botlhe, jaaka setheo sa Sassa se kgaratlhela gore madi a ye kwa dipolokelong, le maloko a a tlotlegang, gore fa re le kwa dikgaolotlhophong tsa rona, re dire gore re nne le dipolokelo tsa loago; re rotloetse dipolokelo go ya kwa magaeng go thusa batho gore ba kgone go bona madi a bona gaufi le fa ba nnang. [Legofi.]
Ke rata gore mo magosing a rona a a leng fa, se ke kgwetlho mo go rona. Fa re boela kwa magaeng, a re bitseng makgotla re sekeseke dipolokelo tse tsa loago. Fa re le fa, ga re a tla go ikokoanyetsa dintlha. Fa re bua ka tsweletso ya setšhaba, re bua ka batho ba rona ba ba sotlegileng ba tlhoka thuso ya rona. Ka jalo, Tona le Motlatsa-Tona, re le komiti ra re jaaka le ntse le bua go le go ntsi ka bokgoni, go na le National Youth Development Agency; a re yeng kwa go yona e re thuse. Baša le bona ba re thuse go ngokela dialogane go tla go dira mo lefapheng gore re tle re kgone go fedisa ntlha e re buang ka yona. [Legofi.]
Motswana wa maloba fa a bua a re kgautle ga a nke a feta gaabo a re go tlala. A re direng mmogo re le baemedi ba setshaba; go se nne le baletsaphala fela go se na batshameki mo patlelong. [Legofi.] Jaaka ke tlhalositse, ga re a tla go ikokoanyetsa dintlha mme re tlile go thusanya ka gonne batho ba rona ga ba batle go itse gore thuso e tswa kwa go mang; ba batla gore re le mekgatlho e e farologaneng re thuse gore batho ba bone thuso e e maleba e e tlhokegang.
Tona le Motlatsa-Tona, Mopresidente ga a dira ka phoso, batho ba itumeletse go tlhophiwa ga lona go nna mo lefapheng le. Re solofetse go le gontsi mo go lona. Ke a itse gore le banyana ba ba itlolang - le fa ke sa itse gore lefoko le le maleba ka fa - mme ke banyana ba ba itlolang tota. Re le mokgatlho wa ANC, re tshegetsa Tlhopho ya Tekanyetsokabo e. Ke a leboga. [Legofi.]
Mr R B BHOOLA
Ms J MANGANYE
Mr R B BHOOLA: Chairperson, South Africa has to be a state where socialism must prevail, and it must not be a state where a significant amount of the population relies on hand-outs. One can understand that as an interim measure, because of the long period of apartheid, people have to be assisted. But we must bear in mind that 25% of South Africa's population relies on state grants, and we have to reduce this figure and make sure that we are a developmental state.
During the time of recession and taking into consideration the number of people that are unemployed, there has been speculation about unemployment grants, or people who do not qualify for grants.
The MF recommends that the government consider very seriously that it might be called the dole.
During the elections, lots of food parcels were given out. We are concerned - from our experience and our personal observation – about what the criteria were of selecting the recipients.
In KwaZulu-Natal province, the Department of Social Welfare did not have sufficient funds to perform its core function. I refer, for instance, to providing funding for child-welfare societies and senior citizen organisations, yet it had unlimited funding to give out food parcels and food vouchers indiscriminately.
We have to make sure that with the limited resources government has, the recipients are selected in such a manner that they are deserving cases for the grants. The MF supports the Vote. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Ms H LAMOELA / DKS / END OF TAKE
Mr R B BHOOLA
Mej H LAMOELA: Agb Voorsitter, daar is ŉ gesegde wat lui: "ŉ Regering wat nie na sy kinders, oumense en die behoeftiges in die gemeenskap kan omsien nie, is nie werd om te regeer nie".
Net so onverantwoordelik dit is om die weerloses aan hul lot oor te laat, net so onverantwoordelik en kortsigtig is dit om ŉ kultuur van totale afhanklikheid van die staat daar te stel. Wat ek onverskoonbaar en onvergeeflik vind, wat my in der waarheid met afsku vervul, is hoe hierdie weerlose en hopelose afhanklikheid deur die regerende party gedurende verkiesingstyd uitgebuit word om stemme te werf.
Dit is so seker soos "amen" in die kerk dat die volgende kospakkies weer oor twee jaar net voor die munisipale verkiesings uitgedeel gaan word. Wat ŉ gewetenlose uitbuiting van die weerlose in ons land! Dit is iets waaroor die ANC regtig hul koppe in skaamte moet laat sak.
Die R500 miljoen wat verlede jaar deur ons eerbare minister Skweyiya vrygestel is om onder ons nege provinsies verdeel te word, was inderdaad goeie buit vir die afgelope verkiesing. My kiesafdeling – Witzenberg – is ŉ seisoenale gebied, waarin bykans die helfte van die 48 000 inwoners aan erge armoede gekoppel is. En hulle kon net lippe aflek vir hierdie "freebie". Dit sou nogal interessant wees om te weet hoe hierdie verdeling deur provinsies aangewend is, Minister.
A self-reliant society is not dependent on hand-outs, but uses opportunities offered to maximise the benefits.
Ten spyte van baie uitdagings, het die departement tog probeer om die grondwetlike regte van kinders en minderbevoorregtes te beskerm en uit te leef – deur kindertoelaes, toelaes en pensioene.
Tekorte aan personeel, vakante poste en fondse kelder egter dienslewering, en kindertoelae-aansoeke in die Wes-Kaap alleen is tussen 2 000 en 3 000 per maand. Wagperiodes is enigiets tussen 21 dae en drie maande en binnekort is ons weer spoedig terug na wagperiodes van maande lank.
Wat het van die edele voorneme "Walk in Walk out" geword, waar aansoeke veronderstel was om slegs ŉ dag te neem, sou alle nodige dokumentasie in plek wees?
At present, 13 million South African citizens are living on social grants. That is about 25% of our population. Migration to provinces, especially the Western Cape, impacts heavily on our budgets, and I would suggest that funds from provinces follow those that migrate to other provinces.
The department relies heavily on social workers to identify needy children and channel support to them, but the shortage of social workers is so great that this is an unworkable solution. A costing exercise for the Children's Act in 2007 already revealed that if the Act were to be properly implemented, there would be a 97% shortfall in the number of social workers required. [Interjections.] Our government thus needs to initiate a campaign to improve working conditions, pay and perceptions about social work as a career.
Tans is my grootste bekommernis die uitwerking van ons huidige resessie, toename in welsyntoelaes en verliese aan werkgeleenthede wat ons nou in die gesig staar. Hoe lank nog sal ons in staat wees om deur hierdie toelaes na behoeftiges se nood om te sien? Deesdae vind ons dat jong meisies en vroue verslaaf is aan staatshulp om in hul kinders se daaglikse behoeftes te voorsien.
Waarom laat ons toe dat vaders wat kinders verwek nie hul verantwoordelikheid nakom nie? Hoe bemagtig jy ŉ vrou wat vir 18-35 jaar slegs deur staatshulp aan die lewe gebly het? Wat word van haar menswaardigheid, selfstandigheid en morele uitkyk op die lewe? Hierdie toestand van sake, soos uiteengesit, plaas geweldige druk op SASSA en die groot finansiële tekorte kan die situasie vererger en dienslewering belemmer.
Hier moet ek seker ook nou sommer vra watter % van die administratiewe begroting van SASSA, veral van die afgelope boekjaar, aan All Pay bestee word. Aan wie behoort All Pay? Wie is die aandeelhouers?
The Independent Tribunal for Social Assistance Appeals are experiencing severe backlogs and, in some cases, applicants need to wait for up to two years before outcomes are processed. Quite soon we will also have a dilemma surrounding extension orders for foster care grants as these need to be updated in time - and this is done every second year, to allow grants to be paid to beneficiaries.
Nongovernmental organisations do superb work. They are the actual organisations implementing legislation at grass-roots level. They are the organisations caring for abused, neglected, HIV- and Aids-infected women and orphan children, with little or no resources. The work they do is praiseworthy and needs to be recognised. I, therefore, call on government to provide resources and finances, especially to those well-run and sustainable entities, in order to enable them to fill the gap left by governmental institutions.
Ek is ŉ groot voorstaander van geletterdheid en glo stellig dat kundigheid en kundigheid alleen armoede kan verlig, omdat die uitwerking daarvan langdurig is.
Die DA stel dus voor dat ons intens in opleiding vir ons kinders, jeug en ouer gardes belê en sodoende geleidelik wegbeweeg van ŉ staatsondersteunde stelsel na ŉ selfonderhoudende gemeenskap. Die Afrikaanse spreekwoord lui tog: "ŉ Mens moet in die somer hout bymekaar maak om in die winter langs die vuur te sit". [Tussenwerpsels.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skhosana): Order, please! Order, order! Hon members, sometimes we drown out the speakers so much that I am not sure whether the Minister can hear some of these responses.
Ms W J NELSON
Ms H LAMOELA
Ms W J NELSON: Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, hon members and our guests here today, when the department states that its aim is to ensure the provision of comprehensive, integrated, sustainable and quality social development services targeted at vulnerability and poverty and to create an enabling environment for sustainable development in partnership with those committed to building a caring society, we can say that that is in line with what the ruling party, the ANC, states in its policy document "Ready to Govern" which was adopted way back in 1992.
This document goes on to state that welfare includes the basic rights to shelter and food. And here I must say to our opposition parties: this is why food is given to people - because we have said that we will ensure that there is food. I must add that this food is given on a regular basis, not every five years. [Interjections.] It would be a very, very sad day if food was only given to people every five years. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skhosana): Hon members, order please! Let us hear this speaker, please.
Chairperson, I want to add that the ANC-led government will not be intimidated by anyone or any party when it comes to ensuring that our people are fed. [Interjections.] It is to ensure that these objectives are met, that various pieces of legislation, regulations, policies and strategies are put into place.
One such programme or strategy is on families and social crime prevention. These policies and legislation seek to promote and support family life and to provide services to victims of crime and to the perpetrators as well.
The dawn of the democratic era in 1994 brought to light the reality of the challenges that families are facing. These challenges threaten to undermine all the gains that have been made in the social, economic and political spheres. The reality thereof prompted the development of a national family policy framework for families. This policy has been presented to the social cluster and still needs to be presented to Cabinet for approval.
Hon members, I am sure that we all would agree that many of the social ills that we are facing, such as substance abuse, child abuse, abuse of the elderly, violent crime, domestic and gender-based violence can be attributed to the disintegration of the family. These social ills are also being addressed through various programmes.
One of these programmes is the Social Crime Prevention Programme. The Child Justice Bill makes major changes to the way children in conflict with the law have been managed within the criminal justice system.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skhosana): Deputy Minister, please.
Ms W J NELSON: Fifty percent of the 9 000 to 13 000 children who are arrested by the SAPS on a monthly basis are released into their parents' or guardian's care within 48 hours. Of the remaining children in the criminal justice system, between 3 000 and 5 500 children go through the courts on a monthly basis. Approximately 1 900 children are diverted from the mainstream criminal justice system on a monthly basis.
Of the children who await trial and appear in court - usually for violent crimes - approximately 1 000 children between the ages of 14 and 17 await trial on a monthly basis in correctional facilities.
Approximately 3 000 children await trial in detention in secure-care facilities, places of safety and home-based supervision. Of the numbers of children originally arrested and charged, approximately 1% is sentenced to direct imprisonment, while approximately 20% are sentenced to noncustodial sanctions. Currently, there are 31 secure-care facilities across the country with a capacity to house 2 180 children.
Even though legislation has been put in place and the programmes are running fairly well, we would be naïve to say that we have no challenges. Currently, there is a shortage of probation officers, and there is inadequate use of secure-care facilities within the criminal justice system, resulting in children awaiting trial in correctional facilities and police cells. This, I must add, is an unfavourable situation.
Needless to say, when addressing families and social crime prevention, strategic partnerships need to be forged. These partnerships are usually with the SAPS, the Department of Education and the Department of Health. Another strategic partner is our nonprofit organisations' sector. These NPOs assist government in delivering much-needed services to our communities.
November 2008 saw the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill being passed by Parliament. The old Drug Dependency Act became outdated as it focused mainly on institutional treatment with little provision for prevention, community-based and outpatient treatment. The proposed legislation promotes more community-based services, with greater emphasis on preventative services. It will also be more sensitive to the needs of children.
Besides all other drugs used, alcohol and dagga remain the most commonly abused substances. Needless to say, most of the crimes that are committed are done so while the perpetrators are under the influence of these drugs.
Currently, there are five public treatment centres that are registered, and there are 43 private centres. We must also note that we face the challenge of Limpopo not having even one centre, whether private or public.
Prevention programmes are being run, for instance the Ke Mojo programme which has already been alluded to. Hon members, I am sure that you would agree that in order to address the scourge of substance abuse, much more still needs to be done. This should be one of the key priorities, as substance abuse is responsible for much of the crime and violence against women and children, as well as those who are vulnerable.
Hon members - and I wish to highlight this to the hon Kopane - if we wish to build the moral fibre of society as a whole, all of us need to play a role. We need to be responsible. I think that if you are aware that people are misusing grants, as was alluded to earlier, you need to become a whistle-blower. And you need to encourage communities in that we all have a responsibility to build this South Africa. Surely, Chairperson, we cannot make this the responsibility of government alone. I thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skhosana): Thank you, hon member. Before I call on the Minister to respond I want to mention that earlier I did call on the Deputy Minister because I saw that there was some agitation. And now it has been brought to my attention that the hon Waters made reference to the Deputy Minister with the Travelgate issue.
Now, can I simply say that Parliament has had a process in terms of the Travelgate scam. The matter was settled. The House expressed itself, and therefore reflecting on members' integrity by your inferences is out of order. So, you are out of order, hon Waters.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT / vh / END OF TAKE
Ms W J NELSON
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Hon Chair, firstly, I would like to thank all hon members who participated in this debate, and indeed they made very invaluable contributions.
I would like to start by indicating that we will, obviously, have an interaction in the portfolio committee on other matters that we may not be able to respond to here in detail. We undertake to do that, given the limited time that we have now. But I would just like to try to and respond to a few issues raised within the time limits that we have. I want to start by assuring hon members that any criticism levelled against us as a department will be appreciated and welcomed, particularly if it is constructive criticism. That's what we are looking for, because it will actually help us to be on our toes and do our jobs better. Constructive criticism!
There are issues that have been raised specifically about dependency on the grants. I have deliberately painted a picture of South Africa. And, if I may remind colleagues and hon members here: we are sad that this country has a 23% official unemployment rate and a 47% poverty rate. We are only taking care of some 13,2 million people. The percentages alluded to by hon members here are not even close to the 47% figure of poor people in this country. That on its own spells it all out: we haven't reached even the 47% of needy people.
At the same time we are saying in this speech that we are indeed moving to ensure that this department, through the National DevelopmentAgency, working with other branches of community development and other departments focuses on ensuring that our people are given the ability to fish. We are making this as a point in this speech. I think the debates that are taking place here today are in agreement with what we said earlier on. If I was an hon member, I would have said, "Yes, I concur" and sat down. [Applause.]
Regarding the issues that were raised particularly about young mothers, I don't think we have had adequate time here to spell out exactly what we intend doing about unpacking the number of young mothers and young women who are on the grant system. But, for now, we are saying with confidence that, indeed, we are not able to look away from them. We have to ensure that we assist them in terms of their maintaining their children.
I also want to indicate to this august House that this matter of young women who bear children because they want grants is actually not true. This has been determined through very thorough research in this country. We do know, as we sit here, that indeed, in this country we have the lowest registration rate of young children by these young mothers – it is between the ages of zero and two. If we bore children to get them registered for a grant, why would people wait two years? That's the question that we have to ask, and that actually helps us to understand this situation. [Applause.]
The issue that I think we need to also raise is the question of social relief of the distressed. I think there is a big misunderstanding as to what this grant is all about and what we are doing. Many on members who stood here pointed out that this is actually an election campaign.
Here on the gallery we have partners with us, as I mentioned in my speech, from Tiger Brands and the Gift of the Givers Foundation. About three weeks ago – now, recently after this election – we were with them on the ground to distribute food parcels. There was no election. [Applause.] They were intended for the people who are hungry; the people who need help; the people who are hungry.
I am not sure if hon members are saying that for the people who have not eaten for three or four days, this government must look away and not do something in the meantime to alleviate that challenge that we have. Certainly, we believe this is well-deserved support that people need.
With regard to bursaries, we have indeed advertised for them. There is a process that unfolds throughout the provinces in which people go through sifting. As long as people can actually prove that they are from destitute families, they can apply to any university. We encourage people to apply to be accommodated in the universities of the provinces where they come from. That selection is done very thoroughly and openly. I think we should ask when this is happening so that we can actually be part of the dissemination of that information.
By the way, we have registered a programme of dissemination of information in the department. It is very clear; it is being rolled out and it includes customer care. This is so that we are able to deliver quality services to the people as we should do.
There is a process of war on poverty. We welcome the remarks made by hon members from all quarters that, indeed, we need to really stand up and fight this war on poverty, all of us. This is a programme that is ongoing. Instead of looking at the many criticisms of what we shouldn't be doing, we should be saying: what do we all have to do in terms of playing our part in fighting poverty and making this war on poverty a success for all our people.
There is a matter that had been raised on universalism. We agree with this issue, but we need to be mindful of the competing needs of resources. We have limited resources in this country, as all of us know. We need to juxtapose investments in our people, who are excluded from the mainstream economy, with the need for funds in order to invest in the needy people, particularly in areas of economic growth.
I also want to touch on the issue that has been raised that deals with fraud and corruption – the twin sisters. Actually, I always say twin brothers instead of twin sisters. I have deliberately also gone on at length about these twin brothers to indicate what we are doing in the department. We have appointed a special investigation unit - through the SA Social Security Agency of course, not necessarily directly by the department - to investigate on an ongoing basis every aspect where we think there could be corruption.
That is why we are making this call here today: that all of us must be part and parcel of ensuring that there are whistle-blowers - or we become whistle-blowers - to get this corruption and fraud rooted out. We have begun this process and I have given the number – 2 000 now – of those who are in the Public Service who have not yet been tried to the point of conviction. By the way, those who have admitted to being guilty must also acknowledge and pay.
But I have also said that Sassa is also looking at people outside the Public Service – at, for instance, the SA Revenue Service and the Unemployment Insurance Fund. We are able to detect other people outside the Public Service and that are in the private sector that are receiving grants in an improper manner. This department is actually working on the matter of fraud and corruption.
So we don't have to fear anything and think that we will hide this and that. Of course, there are allegations also about my predecessor. I think that if my predecessor was guilty or was actually implicated in the true sense of the word, this matter would have come up. We are in the process of doing Business Process Re-engineering at Sassa. But that is also intended to be ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skhosana): Hon Minister, you have one minute left.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Oh, thank you very much. I think I must conclude by saying: thank you very much. I may not be able to touch on all the other things, but I think the most important things about children and so on we have noted. We will deal with those issues in the committee. Thank you very much, hon Chair. [Applause.]
The Committee rose at 10:55.
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