Hansard: NCOP: Unrevised hansard
House: National Council of Provinces
Date of Meeting: 22 Jul 2020
No summary available.
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
WEDNESDAY, 22 JULY 2020
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
Watch video here: NCOP Plenary (Virtual)
The Council met at 14:00.
The Chairperson took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
THE PASSING AWAY OF DR ANDREW MOKETE MLANGENI
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members, today we all awoke to the sad news of the passing of an outstanding son of Africa, Andrew Mlangeni. A stalwart of our movement, a Rivonia trialist, a former Member of Parliament who has served for many, many years, a former member of uMkhonto weSizwe, a democrat and a revolutionary par excellence, a builder and an architect of a democratic South Africa, a cadre committed to fight
to the very end, very, very committed to democracy, to nonracialism, to a prosperous South Africa, to a humane and just world.
Let us please bow our heads for a moment of silence one more time.
Thank you very much.
VIRTUAL SITTING CONSTITUTES A SITTING OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon delegates, before we proceed I would like to remind you that the virtual sitting constitutes the sitting of the National Council of Provinces and the place of the sitting is deemed to be Cape Town, where the site of the National Council of Provinces is.
In addition to the rules of virtual sittings, the Rules of the National Council of Provinces including the rules of debate apply.
Delegates should note that anything sent to everyone – as we’ve already said time and time and over and again - via the chat screen is deemed to have been said to the House and may be ruled upon. So, rules apply.
Delegates enjoy the same powers and privileges that apply in a sitting of the National Council of Provinces.
For the purpose of the quorum, all delegates who logged in shall be considered to be present. The same powers and privileges.
For the duration of the sitting, delegates must mute their microphones unless if they wish to speak. Any delegate who wishes to speak should use the raise your hand function; and as we have said before, by now all members are familiar with the raise your hand function.
Hon delegates, please note that the interpretation facility is active and delegates are reminded to please keep their videos on for the duration of the sitting.
Hon delegates, I’ve also been informed that there will be no notices of motion or motions without notice, except the motion printed in the Order paper; that’s the notice in the name of the Chief Whip.
I now call on the hon Chief Whip Mohai to table the motion.
CONSIDERATION OF A BILL TO BE SUSPENDED
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE NCOP: Chairperson, I move that the Council resolves that Rule 239(1), which provides inter alia that the consideration of a Bill may not commence before at least three working days have lapsed since the committee’s report was tabled, be suspended for the purposes of consideration of the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill, as referred to the National council of
Provinces by the National Assembly. I move that the Council accepts this proposal, Chair. Thanks.
Question put: That the motion be agreed to.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE NCOP: Chair, can I rise on a ... I thought this matter was agreed by all of us. So, there may be confusion that members may want to make declaration maybe on the Division of Revenue, after the tabling by the Chairperson of the select committee. So, I would ask that provinces can just indicate by accepting the motion and they can comment on the report as tabled by the Chair of the select committee. Thank you very much, Chair.
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Chairperson, I don’t want to make a declaration. I’m accepting the rule and that we can continue with the Division of Revenue Amendment, DORA Bill. Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I’m sure that then covers
everyone. Let’s move straight to the Bill.
Question put: That the Bill be agreed to.
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Chairperson, on a point of order. I think what should be done now is that the Chairperson of the committee should read the report and after that we make declarations and then we vote. I don’t see that there’s any declarations to be made before the report is been read. Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members, if I can just intervene and try and assist and ensure that we move forward quicker. My take is that the motion of the Chief Whip is agreed to, right? And that being the case, we should then move to the First Order, and the First Order is Consideration of Division of Revenue Amendment Bill and the report of the Select Committee on Appropriations.
HON MEMBERS: Yes, Chair.
We will now ask hon Mahlangu, the Chairperson of Select Committee on Appropriations, to present the committee report.
DIVISION OF REVENUE BILL
(Consideration of Report and Committee thereon)
Ms D G MAHLANGU: Hon Chairperson, hon Deputy Chairperson, hon permanent members and special delegates present here, Minister and Deputy Minister, fellow South Africans, good afternoon, today was a very special day to me and is still a special day to me because it is my birthday. So, I thought I will be ... [Inaudible.] ... [Interjections.] But I was unfortunately awakened by the sad news that my grandmother has passed on and Isitwalandwe uBaba Andrew Mlangeni has also passed on. May their souls rest in peace. [Interjections.]
It is my honour and privilege, hon Chair, to table before you a report on the Division of Revenue Bill 2020 on behalf of the Select Committee on Appropriations. The committee anonymously adopted the report without any amendments while the DA, FF Plus reserved their rights and the EFF abstained.
Whilst it is their democratic rights to do so, we are concern about the fact that they make inputs during the process and when it is time to adopt those inputs in a committee report they disappeared.
We believe that this conduct is disingenuous. Hon Chairperson, on 24, 2020, The Minister of Finance tabled a supplementary budget outlining the government intention to repurpose some of the budget allocation towards addressing Covid-19 pandemic. Subsequently, the Bill was referred ...
Mr T APLENI: Point of order, Chair. Chairperson?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: What’s the point of order?
Mr T APLENI: Chairperson, the hon member is wrong.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Can I ask members, please ensure that we run the meeting properly.
Mr T APLENI: Chairperson?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP That we run the meeting properly and anyone who want to speak should indicate and one is allowed to speak can continue to do so.
Mr T APLENI: I am raising a point of order.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I see that one keeps on claps up. So, let’s find out on what point of order are you rising. What’s your points of order?
Mr T APLENI: Chairperson, the member cannot say we disappeared. We are here. What does she mean by disappeared?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: No, no.
Mr T APLENI: She can’t say we disappeared. We are here.
What does she mean?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Well, it is not a point of order and I don’t know what you are talking about. [Interjections.] Hon Mahlangu, I am requesting you, please proceed. [Interjections.]
Ms D G MAHLANGU: Subsequently, the Bill was referred to the National Council of Provinces and to the committee on
15 July 2020. Prior to that the committee undertook a joint process with the Standing Committee on Appropriations. On 8 July 2020, the committee were briefed on the Bill by the National Treasury in the compliance with section 214(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
The committee consulted the Financial and Fiscal Commission, FFC and the SA Local Government Association, Salga on the Bill during the meeting held on 9 July. In order to facilitate public participation in line with section 72 of the Constitution of the Republic the committee published adverts in all eleven languages from
26 June to 2 July 2020.
In response to all of these, the committee received written submissions on the Bill from the Congress of SA Trade Unions, Cosatu, the C19 People’s Coalition, and Mr M G Buthelezi and the committee also consult at the personal protective order, PPO, during the same meeting.
Whilst processing the Bill, the committee observed the following issues and made recommendations: Government must improve and strengthen its financial management system and internal control unit, they appoint audit committee and designed, developed, focused properly aligned monitoring and evaluation systems credibly strategic plans across government to ensure that allocated resources are spent effectively and strictly to the state of Division of Revenue Bill [B9 – 2020] in order to prevent wasteful and fruitless expenditure, irregular and corruption with Covid-19 Relief Fund.
Parliament, provincial legislatures and municipal councils should monitor the implementation through rigorous oversight and in here monitoring programmes. The Department of Basic Education together with provincial education department should address the issue around the shortage of teachers due to comorbidities and the shortage of personal protective equipment as these put the lives of learners and teachers at high risk.
Furthermore, the Department of Basic Education and provincial education department should expedite the
process of implementing proper permanent structures for water provision in schools given that the tracking system is an expensive option.
The National Disaster Management Centre together with the Provincial Department of Agriculture should expedite the finalisation of research to establish the appropriate figure for the amount required for national disaster especially for provinces that are severely affected.
The committee also believe that more allocations are required to be earmarked for the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme Grant to further enhance food security and jobs for poor and vulnerable South Africans, especially during this period of Covid-19.
With regards to the additional R3,4 billion, the Covid-19 component of the HIV, TB, Malaria and Community Outreach Grant, the committee acknowledges that provincial government have a prerogative to decide how to spend the allocated funds. However, National Treasury together with the Department of Health should ensure that these funds are spend according to the requirement of the Division of
Revenue Amendment Bill [B9 – 2020] framework and ensure that section 38(1)(b) and (c) of the Public Finance Management Act, No. 1 of 1999 and other proper government measures are properly implemented by Provincial Health Department to safeguard the management of the allocation.
Provinces should further expedite the processes of determining the appropriate criteria to reprioritise the R20 billion within their allocated resources without disadvantaging the most rural and poor areas. The National Treasury together with the Department of Health should ensure that adequate resources are made available to expedite the implementation of the National Health Insurance to ensure that the implementation of the much needed universal access to healthcare services is achieved for benefit of the poor and the vulnerable, especially during this period of Covid-19.
Whilst acknowledges the importance of fighting the Covid-
19 pandemic successful, the committee is also of the view that National Treasury should ensure that a balance approach is implemented so to fight against Covid-19 do get undermined, the much needed economic resuscitation,
social transformation interventions and goals and targets of the National Development Plan.
Reprioritisation of funds should not be detriment to core business and frontline service delivery and programmes aimed at economic recovery such as infrastructure project, which will ultimately compromise government efforts to resuscitates the economy.
Hon Chairperson, National Treasury, the Department of Co- operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, and SA Local Government Association, Salga, should assist municipalities to provide personal protective equipment and ensure that they sanitise the taxi ranks.
The extraction of political and administrative accountability as part of enforcing consequence management for municipalities by Salga should be supported 100%.
The National Treasury, the National Department of Co- operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Salga should ensure that all municipalities owing Eskom settle
their financial obligations and all government departments owing municipalities also settle their obligations to assist in certain municipal revenue short falls as the result of Covid-19 even those that were owing municipalities before Covid-19. They should further ensure that debt collection and credit controls mechanisms are properly implemented.
Hon Chairperson, the National Treasury should conduct proper impact assessment to identify the root cause of underspending before taking away all reprioritising resources from underspending progress.
The committee believes that this can only be used as a last resort as it will negatively affect the poorer communities who depend on government services at a local government level but we do agree with the principle.
Deferent types of constructive interventions, including addressing the root cause of under expenditure should be identified and implemented to support struggling municipalities to ensure effective and efficient spending and untimely values for money.
Hon Chairperson, in conclusion, allow me to convey my appreciation to the Select Committee on Appropriations for their undivided support and commitment in the running of the committee. Also, thanking the stakeholders, the media, the general public who participated. Also, let me take this opportunity to thank the engine of the committee being the support staff to consult to all these commitments, we wouldn’t be able to be where we are.
Thank you very much, hon Chairperson. Thank you.
Question put: That the Bill be agreed to.
Declarations of vote:
Mr V G LWANA (Eastern Cape): Chairperson, afternoon to yourself and the hon members. Briefly Chairperson, our perspective in the province goes as follows: That the recent outbreak of Covid-19 should not have come at a worse time when the country and the day the province was focussed on mitigating the devastating effects of the short slowdown in economic growth.
The pandemic has further dabbled the economic growth prospects. And despite these challenges, we are committing to strengthen our oversight roles towards improvement of service delivery as well as addressing the inefficiencies in the provincial government.
During this period, we were expected to ensure that our public health system withstands the current pressures and demands. Our schools are functioning and our social welfare services cater for the poor and the vulnerable.
These requires us to exercise physical discipline, especially in the light of further budget cuts that have been implemented for the 2020 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and subsequently reprioritisation as a result of the pandemic. It is paramount that we provide mitigation measures of debt facility, which hinders on risk of sovereignty of the country.
Further, the province has advocated the review of the equitable share formula in order to bring parity to the historical disadvantaged province. We raised this matter not lightly, hon Chair.
Our position as the Eastern Cape has been that, the Division of Revenue must be taken into account the developmental needs of the rural parts of the country. The policy as it stands condemn rural provinces into a systematic cycle of underdevelopment.
We were delighted to hear the Minister of Finance announcing; I quote: “The periodic review of the formula to assess its continued appropriateness and equity continues in 2019”.
Chair, our efforts and subsequently budget must at this moment and as such requires the state to have the required capacity required capacity to lead of societal partners in appreciating that an economy that does not improve the quality of life of the people is both inappropriate and inadequate. In other words, what we need is not merely a new economy, but is ...
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Please conclude, hon member. Conclude.
Mr V G LWANA (Eastern Cape): Yes, Chair. Chairperson, it has become critical more than ever before that our provincial policy priorities are integrated and co- ordinated not only internally within the province but also with the whole of government in a simplest manner to do more with less.
And lastly, Chair, that Covid-19 has further exposed that state must deliberately build its capacity as government more ever than before is required to have capacity to direct development and lead all social partners and effectively drive through state authority a transformative programme and fundamental development.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Please, conclude.
Mr V G LWANA (Eastern Cape): Thank you, Chairperson. The province supports.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you very much. I just remind, hon members, that the maximum time allowed for making a declaration is three minutes. And please start with the most important things that you want to
communicate so that you don’t get into trouble later on.
Thank you, hon member.
Ms M L MOSHODI: Hon Chairperson, hon Chief Whip and hon members, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an amendment to the Division of Revenue Act in order to reprioritise funding to fight the pandemic. An amount of R130 billion of the Budget has to be directed to fund the R500 billion stimulus package.
The National Treasury’s approach to tracing the budgetary
challenges posed by the pandemic is as follows. Provincial equitable share will be protected. Local government equitable share will be increased. Conditional grant will be repurposed to fund COVID-19 measures.
The Free State legislature embarked on an extensive public consultation process on the Bill. Various concerns were raised regarding the impact of the Bill on the Free State province. These concerns include that the withholding the conditional grant is unappropriated as a result the victims who are unemployed and the indigents
suffer from the lack of service delivery due to the withholding of the fund.
COVID-19 has exposed some of long standing challenges. Firstly, drought relieve and the lack of water supply in some areas such Fika-Patso in Maluti a Phofong Local Municipality in the Free State. There should be allocations to address this challenge.
The process of reviewing the provincial equitable share formula must be accelerated. A special purpose grant should be considered to focus on strengthening district service model in municipalities to ensure the sustainability of category C municipalities where all trading functions assigned to category B municipalities. The above mentioned concern have been brought to the attention of the National Treasury and are being addressed.
In conclusion, the Free State legislature has therefore conferred the mandate to vote in favour of the Bill.
Thank you, hon Chairperson.
Ms M LATCHMINARAIN (Mpumalanga): Hon Chairperson, as Mpumalanga province we support the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill which sets out the government’s initial economic and fiscal response to the COVID=19 pandemic. We acknowledge the fact that it fast-tracks the process to provide resources to frontline services, provincial local governments, business and households with the focus on the most vulnerable South Africans for the 2020-21 financial year.
We have noted that the Bill seeks to respond to COVID-19 in the country. We further welcome the Bill noting that nationally it will address issues related to public health systems, social welfare services, peace and security. As Mpumalanga we applaud the Minister for the allocation of funds where there are challenges and issues in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We also appreciate the Minister for the fact that the provincial equitable share of the Mpumalanga province was not adjusted of which this will afford the province the opportunity to reprioritise the needs and challenges faced by the province.
Hon Chairperson, on the conditional grants we welcome the adjustments done on the major departments and reallocation of funds that are the forefront in fighting the global pandemic such as the Department of Health receiving an additional amount of R1,126 billion on the HIV, tuberculosis, TB, malaria and community outreach grant; and the department of Agriculture being reallocated an amount of R6,4 million for the provincial disaster relieve grant.
For the local government, as Mpumalanga we have noted that many municipalities were in financial distress prior to the COVID-19 pandemic which has further amplified the concern regarding municipal efforts and ability to collect maximum revenues. The pandemic has caused a decline in revenue collections due to combination of lower demand for services such as electricity and water and significantly high nonpayment of rates and municipal bills. The Mpumalanga municipalities have received an adjustment on the equitable share which will assist the revenue shortfall for the municipalities to an amount of R963 million.
As Mpumalanga province we support the Bill in response to fighting the global pandemic and we continue to enforce oversight and accountability on the provincial department. I thank you.
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Chairperson, on 23 April 2020, President Ramaphosa said, I quote:
Earlier in the week I announced an additional allocation of R20 billion to our health response.
I checked the exact wording of the Presidency’s website. This is the famous speech where the President broke trust with South Africans by promising that cigarettes could be sold. It seems that the speech has more than one inaccuracy which leads us to question who is running the country.
Now that the Bill has come out we see that the money was not an additional allocation, but just a movement of funds from other areas of the Budget and provinces have been the ones to take the brunt of this reallocations.
Trust has been broken.
The Western Cape government received an additional R30,8 million in grant funding on one hand, but loses
R314 million. Municipal grants to local municipalities in the Western Cape have also been reduced by R283 million. Equitable share at provincial and municipal levels have not been properly addressed. The small increase in equitable share for local government will be totally absorbed by the drop in collection rates as ratepayers find it impossible to pay as their incomes have been taken away by the protracted lock down.
Hon Chair, the continued support of the corruptly-run municipalities and provinces at the expense of those who adhere to good governance is sending the message that corruption is rewarded and good governance is punished. No one than the Auditor-General is frustrated. The removal of funding from infrastructure projects brings into question the promise to have infrastructure-led economic growth to help us recover financially. Once again what the ANC says and promises is not supported by what they deliver. This report does not accurately reflect the inputs of provinces and the Treasury’s
responses. The Western Cape rejects the report and opposes the Bill. I thank you.
Question put: That the Bill be agreed to.
IN FAVOUR: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu- Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West.
AGAINST: Western Cape.
Bill accordingly agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
ADJUSTMENTS APPROPRIATION BILL
Vote No 19 – Social Development:
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, Deputy Minister of Social Development connected through the virtual platform, hon members, MECs of Social Development who are present who
are going to be debating with us, we welcome you, fellow South Africans and citizens of our beautiful country, as we present this Budget Vote, we mourn the loss of our last surviving Rivonia trialist - as the Chairperson earlier on indicated - baba Mlangeni, who devoted his life to advance the cause of freedom and social justice for all. These are the causes that lie at the heart of the work we are presenting before this august House today.
In the same breath, Chairperson, hon members, we pay tribute to the late comrade Zindzi Mandela, who was a leader and a fierce fighter for liberation in her own right. As we reflect upon the magnitude of the sacrifice of baba Mlangeni and Zindzi Mandela, as well as all other South Africans who have perished in this period, we renew our commitment to building a nation of which these fallen heroes would be proud. Today I present Budget Vote No 19 of the Department of Social Development in the eye of a turbulent storm that we are facing today.
The unwelcome waves of the COVID-19 pandemic that have reached our shores are the most extraordinary test to our
collective resolve as a society from our encounter with the offensive of COVID-19, each of us will hold together.
[TECHNICAL GLITCH: 14:45]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: We will ask the Table there to please assist. ... Please assist! ... There seems to be a problem there, hon Zulu. Please proceed, Minister.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much, Chair. Our lives and our country ... it is for this reason that every one of us should change, promote and support lives sustaining behaviour and attitude during these times of COVID-19. Doing so will make it possible for South Africa to live in a secure and healthy society, sustainable living and prospering economy. And with these, we will improve the current and prospects of our youthful population. We live in confidence, we live in a society where we know that if we work together we shall triumph as a nation, we rise to triumph as a nation. In Sesotho we say ...
... Ntwa ha e lwanwa ha ho tshehisanwe.
NgesiZulu sithi, akuhlekiswana empini.
... akuhlekiswana emphini...
Empini sonke siyasukuma sibone ukuthi singayilwa kanjani le mpi esibhekene nayo.
South Africans will determine the terms upon which our society will transition to the new normal that is accompanying the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, as part of the collective effort, the Department of Social Development with its entities, the SA Social Security Agency, Sassa and the National Development Agency, NDA, and the provincial departments of social development confronted the critical question, and the big question in front of us - as the provinces will tell - we are asking this question, does the
magnitude of our response match the scale of the challenges that accompany the COVID-19 pandemic. And that is what we need to answer all of us, both the government, the private sector and everybody else because we are in this together.
We pose these questions because we noticed that with most of our old weapons, some of them are not suitable to address the new challenges that accompany the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, today's normal demands that we must let go of yesteryear’s responses that are not effective. It demands our collective and critical self-assessment towards addressing noble challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic is foremost among these challenges, touching on all facets of life and involving all sectors. Our government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is the cornerstone upon which the Department of Social Development is counted among those in the frontline. It is in this regard that we urgently assumed a stance by which we are strengthening the capabilities of our programme, and relative to the challenges that accompany the COVID-19 pandemic. As we confront these challenges, we remain mindful of the weight of our people’s
aspirations and their felt needs. These demands that we formulate and implement responsive, impactful and qualitative live improving solutions. Within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, our programmatic responses are guided by the mandate to work hard and work smart towards improving what is good for our society and bettering the quality of life of every South African citizen.
We are the Department of Social Development. We are responsible for ensuring the wellbeing of all citizens, but obviously, our focus is on those who are much vulnerable. I hereby reassure you all that under the leadership of the ANC, the sixth administration of our democracy is seized with the unwavering commitment to urgently meet our peoples felt needs.
Therefore, the advent of the COVID-19 crisis served to magnify our resolve for agility and innovative service delivery towards meeting our people’s aspirations. It is, for this reason, we will not rest until the felt needs of every South African in each household, each street, each community and throughout our society are fulfilled. True to its character as a leader of society, the ANC
government, under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa, stepped up to the occasion when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived on our shores. We proactively institutionalised the COVID-19 responsive measures that are targeted at protecting our society and the economy. These are the centrepieces that will sustain hope and human solidarity in our unprecedented fight against this pandemic.
The government targeted R500 billion which, among other objectives, are in investing in cushioning South Africans against the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and saving lives and their means of livelihood. Within the constraints, this is the most decisive and meaningful investment by our government in the face of a potent social and economic offensive. Not only has our government effectively faced the enemy head-on, it further innovated socially and economically responsive disaster mitigating programmes.
On the basis of these, each South African is joining efforts with fellow citizens towards defining our contribution towards humanity and rewriting our history.
Noting the novelty of COVID-19, our responses are among some of the extremely known to the world. This is the essence of the amended budget and it coincides with the commemoration of Nelson Mandela Month. As we table this budget and navigating these unchartered territories, we draw on the wisdom and selfless spirit of democratic South Africa’s first President. During the 18th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture a few days ago, the Secretary- General of the United Nations, António Guterres, reminded us that the COVID-19 pandemic helped to expose the persistence of inequalities, poverty and racism that abound in our society.
To this I add, ... [Inaudible.] … the plight of gender- based violence and femicide and the structural nature of youth economic exclusion. To paraphrase the UN Secretary- General, it is noteworthy to mention the COVID-19 pandemic is the ultimate disrupter. It is uncovering the systematic fallacies, falsehoods, lies and myths that created and sustained our people’s adversities. Hence, our society cannot continue with these defining features if we want our future to be better than what it is right now.
Underlying this budget is the call to each South African to pull together and mobilise his or her deep-seated courage to triumph over the fear of our newly encountered unprecedented challenge. We are better off being reminded that President Nelson Mandela bestowed us the gift to take charge of our decisions and destiny, conquer our darkest fears and improve the lives and living conditions of those among us. President Mandela cherished life, therefore, I urge every South African to bring his or her behavioural change so that we can keep everybody safe, keep our families safe, keep our neighbours safe and keep everyone alive as far as possible during this pandemic.
Consequently, the reading of this Budget Vote 2020-2021 of the Department of Social Development sharply draws greater attention to issues such as resourcing and effective implementation of the government’s social policy. Within our government’s social policy, the 2020 Budget Vote of the Department of Social Development is framed within the parameters of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s proclamation that the global pandemic, “calls for an extraordinary response. There can be no half measures”.
This Budget Vote calls upon all of us to master the requisite amount of extraordinary courage to innovate extraordinary policy, programmatic and service delivery initiatives and society-wide partnerships that are intentionally targeted at flattening the curve of inequality poverty, experiences of hunger, gender-based violence and femicide, youth economic exclusion and substance abuse. We talk about flattening the curve of the pandemic, we are also saying we need to flatten the curve of the other pandemics that we see in our society, especially, gender-based violence. The measures outlined in this adjusted budget are directed at responding not only to the pandemic but will further enable our people to rebound to productive lives faster, thereby ensuring that they actively define and build our collective future.
We say, in our department, the South Africa we want, and we add, the citizen who has to inhabit has to be a citizen who participates fully in building that South Africa. The department had a budget reduction of
R15,48 billion from the initial baseline budget. This means that our budget was reduced by R197,72 billion to
R182,24 billion. However, when the National Treasury presented the Supplementary Budget, that is the governments funding response to COVID-19- specific priorities, the department received an additional R25,5 billion. This amount was supplemented by
R15,48 billion that was reduced from the baseline and, thereby, bringing the total budget allocated for COVID-19 to R40,955 billion.
Consequently, the annual budget of the department was readjusted upwards byR223 192 057 000 hundred for 2020- 2021. This is a significant budget increase of 8,13%.
When the inflation rate is 4,6%. The increase was caused by the budgetary reallocation to the three budget items, namely; social assistance grants, R115,417 million; early childhood development, ECD, R64,500 million and operational funding, R56 million.
Sassa, if we respond immediately to that, Sassa’s administrative costs remain unchanged at R7,7 billion, as additional funding was not received for this function in the current financial year. As such, this, of course, had
to be funded from reprioritised funding. Consequently, Sassa reprioritised a total of R296 183 000.
Allow me to now turn the attention of the House to some of the key interventions in this budget on which we should focus on. Our social assistance programme has enabled over 11 million grant beneficiaries to weather this unprecedented storm.
Iningi labantu abavumelekile abemukele izimali zezibonelelo zakwa-Sassa lingaphezulu kwezigidi esiyishumi nanye.
The Cabinet decided on the R250 emergency top-up for all social security grant types, including the once-off top- up of R350 for the child support grant. Likewise, the payment of R500 to primary caregivers of eligible children was approved. These emergency responses represent the government’s continued provision of significant relief where and when it is needed most.
Through these responsive and quality initiatives, we are putting money directly into the hands of those who need it most in meaningful ways. These measures are affording the beneficiaries a significant amount of dignity and ability to provide for their families during these times of unprecedented adversities. In addition, our government took a bold policy position of introducing the Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant of R350 which was announced by His Excellency the President, Cyril Ramaphosa.
This grant is targeted at providing support to unemployed individuals as well as those who have lost their livelihoods as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic activities. The introduction of this grant was a big test of Sassa’s technological innovation and data management capabilities. As a result, Sassa had to set up a new grant application, verification, administration and payment system within a very short space of time. The agencies have had to work around the clock to address the initial teething problems that the social COVID-19 grant presented. Right now Sassa is preoccupied with enhancing the grant application
process’s turnaround time and consistency of payments. And I know, Chairperson, that is one of the challenges that citizens have been raising with us to say, “I got my payment in May, I didn’t get my payment in June”. But we would like to say that has been corrected.
Of this number, we have approved over 4 million applications onto whom just over R1,7 billion will be dispersed. I would also like to inform this House that Sassa has commenced with the payments of applications received in May to those who still qualify for both June and July. The payments are effected as a single payment of R700 to cover the past two months. Payments will be effected as far as possible in batches of 500 000 qualifying applicants per day. This will, this be to avoid system overload. We will finalise these payments by the end of this month. As we announced previously, all applicants that were previously disqualified due to database errors have since been reconsidered and those eligible have since been notified and paid.
The special COVID-19 SRD grant has since been extended to include asylum seekers and special permit holders and
under the Angolan dispensation, the Lesotho, Zimbabwe exemption permits dispensation whose section 22 permits or visas are valid or were valid on March twenty.2020. On this note, allow me to express sincerely my deepest gratitude to the CEO of Sassa, Ms Totsie Memela-Khambula and all the employees of Sassa for their continued work in serving the people. And in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the proclamation of the lockdown in March, I have been inundated with concerns from members of the public and organisations representing persons with disabilities, including some hon members of this House regarding the intake of disability grants. Sassa is currently exploring ways in which we can safely and progressively introduce these services and will make the announcement in due course.
We have consulted 465 doctors across the nine provinces to expedite all outstanding assessments in line with the relevant legislative provisions. In addition, I am considering a further extension for the period for which temporary disability grants will be paid to ease the
administrative backlog on applications, and I do need, at this point, to also thank the doctors who directly gave me a call and said to me,” Minister, we are here, we are ready to work, we just need you to create a conducive environment for us to be able to do that”. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the urgently needed acceleration of the long-overdue business reengineering process to better serve our people with dignity. Key amongst these initiatives, which we implemented in the early stages of the outbreak, was the staggering of social grant payments, which has significantly improved beneficiaries experience by reducing long queues and overcrowding at pay points.
And as a Minister, I do want to say, I am not yet satisfied. I will only be satisfied with this when people do not have to travel long distances to access their money. When people can access the opportunities within the township. When women do not find themselves falling off a taxi because they have gone out to access the money. This is what we are committed to doing as the Department of Social Development portfolio, to say, what else can we do to change the way we are servicing our
people? The pandemic has prompted us to thoroughly interrogate the role that ... [Time expired.] Oh! Okay!
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you very much. I’m sure the speech will be made available to the members and will be able to follow up on the critical issues. Thank you very much.
Ms D C CHRISTIANS: Thank you, hon Chair. Hon Chair, hon members and fellow South Africans, the harshness of the global pandemic seems inexhaustible and so many South Africans have been left with broken promises and broken hearts. And, as we arrive at the peak of the deadly coronavirus storm, I would like to extend heartfelt condolences to family and friends who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. We also salute the healthcare workers who are at the frontline of fighting this pandemic. They are faced daily with the challenge of providing care to patients with COVID-19, while in most cases are working in ill-equipped and poorly prepared health facilities.
In the midst of a peak of COVID-19 and as fears of an estimated discount between 40 000 and 50 000 by the end
of 2020 has been projected. The President recently announced that the national state of disaster will continue until mid-August. This means that our economy will continue to struggle as a prolonged lockdown will mean more livelihoods are in jeopardy. More than 5 000 people in South Africa have now lost their lives and many more are languishing at home due to the impact of the virus on the lives and the Department of Social Development ... [Inaudible] ...of South Africans.
[Inaudible] ... of April the President announced a commitment to increase social grants from R175 billion to R200 billion as a top-up of existing social grants, and the introduction of a special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant, in the form of a R350 cash payment from May to October.
Measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 included an increase in the in r300 Child Support Grant, a top-up of existing grants of R250 and a grant of R500 for caregivers. This all seemed very impressive on paper.
However, these payments have been severely hampered by system glitches and slow administrative processes. The
department has struggled to account on exactly how many beneficiaries ... [Inaudible] ... through verification processes have seen too many people going hungry.
The rising level of food insecurity is our major concern. The indication is that 50% of the population is at risk of becoming food insecure. It is therefore of great concern that the reports of bureaucratic red tape regarding renewal of tenders for service providers for the SA Social Security Agency, also known as Sassa, to distribute aid in the form of food parcels or vouchers to people in distress.
This has left people without vital aid for more than five months now. Media has reported that, due to Sassa cancelling a three-year tender, people in six provinces, namely the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State, were left without relief aid between November 2019 and March 2020. The holders of the previous tenders were unable to distribute the food parcels in the warehouses. In fact, the distribution of food parcels in most provinces has now come to a sudden deafening halt. Sassa has failed to
plan and follow due process. People have been left in the lurch due to poor planning, and with the prolonged lockdown it seems that Sassa will continue to bungle processes and are unable to alleviate the suffering of vulnerable who depend on Sassa for their lives. The truth is, as we enter the peak of the COVID-19, there will be more in more families were not able to feed themselves, and might likely starve.
We urgently call on the Minister and the department to speed up processes to cut the red tape and see to it that South Africans are not least starving at the end of this pandemic. Additionally, we call on the Minister and the department to capacitate Sassa offices in rural areas as there are too few people to assist, with huge backlogs in applications. Grant recipients in rural areas must also travel far distances town offices as satellite offices remain closed. Furthermore, is the issue of the appointment of social workers, especially in remote areas like in the Namaqualand District, where there is only one social worker appointed for all the schools in that area. I am sure this is not an isolated incident in the country.
Additionally, the processing of foster care applications speaks too long to complete, leaving children already at risk and heightened vulnerability to abuse and further exposed to exploitation. This is also a result of too few social workers who can prepare or present cases to the court, and other constraints in an already overburdened judicial system. Although the department has indicated the appointment of social workers as a priority, we have yet to see these appointments being effected.
The Department of Social Development Annual Performance Plan, is also presents lack of integrated and cohesive strategy with other sector departments or civil society to address social eels prevalent in provinces. That is teenage pregnancies, the transmission of HIV/Aids, to teenage girls vulnerable to the predatory behaviour of older men in intergenerational relationships, substance abuse and provision of adequate rehabilitation services, juvenile delinquency and the protection of children in conflict of law, as well as the proliferation of crimes committed out of economic need.
Hon Chair, the announcement of the national state of disaster has resulted in the closure of approximately
28 000 early childhood development, ECD centres, catering for 2,1 million children and employing 42 000 practitioners. The issue of parents returning to work has caused tremendous stress on families countrywide. The centres, which provide safe spaces for children, have been placed under tremendous financial burden over these last few months, with many job losses. In light of the extended lockdown and the increased financial burden on the country, when will the Minister simplify the standard operating procedures, SOPs and assist ECDs is in lower income communities to continue the important work of educating, feeding, safeguarding the young people who are the future of our country?
Hon Chairperson, the Department of Social Development and Sassa’s adjusted budgets and annual performance plans are not the real concern. The immediate concern is whether the money is spent on what it is supposed to be spent on in provinces. The real concern is UIF fraud, food parcel mismanagement, tender allocations, delays and red tape in accessing grants, backlog in foster care applications,
appointment of social workers and the inability to keep provinces accountable for the mismanagement and inadequate running of the department. The department needs to make services more accessible to all, and only good governance will contribute to improve the lives of everyone.
The DA calls on more stringent accountability on provincial levels, where consequence management is dealt with efficiently and effectively, and where every cent in this adjustment budget is accounted for appropriately.
The DA cannot support this budget until these stringent provincial accountabilities and the livelihoods of people in South Africa are taken seriously. Thank you.
Ms M N GILLION: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, Deputy Minister, all members, all MECs, fellow South Africans, the ANC, since the dawn of our democracy, dedicated itself in implementing programmes, had assisted the poor and vulnerable. This seeks to advance alongside the equality and freedom, the democratic value of the right to dignity as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
Respecting the dignity of our people requires a comprehensive and harmonise social protection system they developed to ensure that the state is able to support citizens from different forms of vulnerabilities and dehumanising poverty. Through its social transformation agenda, the ANC upholds the right to dignity through advancing the creation of a decent and better life for all South Africans, through changing their material conditions for the better.
The ANC policy documents are emphasising that our strategies for social transformation must seek to empower people to like themselves, to protect the most vulnerable in our society out of poverty, while creating adequate social nets. This is evident in the Social Protection Policy interventions that the ANC develops which are about empowerment and advanced antipoverty strategies.
These policies are, and continue to be progressively implemented to ensure that the ANC achieves its objectives of creating a better life for all. This emphasise the fact that the ANC’s social development
programmes are aimed at addressing poverty among our people.
The ANC government seeks not only to address poverty alone, but also unemployment and inequality which structurally and stubbornly persist. Africans, women, youth and persons with disabilities, are largely the recipients of these triple challenges.
In addressing these triple challenges, the ANC has consistently committed to ensuring that, aligned to the Constitution of the republic, our government produced a social safety net for the most vulnerable, which includes women, children, youth, persons with disabilities, families in need of care and older persons.
This social safety net is provided through governments, Social Protection Framework, which is premised on the principle of comprehensiveness income support, social services, social insurance, and the provision of free basic services to vulnerable households. This constitutes the ANC-led government’s holistic approach to addressing poverty.
Key elements of the social protection system include social assistance as grants for children, the aged and persons with disabilities. It also includes a developmental social welfare approach, with a focus and individuals, families and communities.
Over the years, social protection policies and programmes have reduced poverty and vulnerability by reducing the poor’s exposes to risk and increasing their capacity to manage economic and social risk such is unemployment, exclusion, illness, disability and old age.
The provision of social assistance through social grants remains a fundamental strategy of addressing the plight of the poor in the short term, and a broader social protection strategy. Involves a combination of interventions directed at addressing South Africa income capability, services and poverty.
In the current context, the ANC, through its policy interventions and programmes implemented by government, pursue social transformation to ultimately eradicate our country of poverty and inequality for the current and
future generations. This is underpinned by the principle to put our people first in any development.
The ANC’s Social Protection Policies and Programmes has contributed immensely towards supporting millions of poor and the marginalised by enabling them to prevent, manage and overcome situations that adversely affect their wellbeing.
Since the dawn of our democracy, our contribution through our interventions and programmes, have been aimed at eradicating poverty, inequality and reducing unemployment. This vision remains, as the ANC has through its manifesto, has committed to over the next five years, maintain and expand our social security system to protect the vulnerable and reduce poverty.
A comprehensive social security system which is inclusive of the social protection, is a tangible investment towards achieving equality for all. It is about the restoration of dignity, developmental of full potential creation of active participants in society and also
targets the unemployed, to skill and assist them to find employment and economic opportunities.
The Department of Social Development continues to provide social security to those who need it most and through this, is addressing issues of income poverty. It has committed to, during this Medium Term Strategic Framework, to substantially set its programmatic focus towards its practical unlocking of human capabilities into actualities, driving sustainable livelihoods, supporting transversal partnership and taking care of our people.
Poverty and inequality continues to wreck communities and has an effect of poor nutrition, unemployment, poor education and health outcomes. The department, through the implementation of the community development, seeks to empower communities through the capacity enhancement and the creation of structures.
This programme will assist in the intensification of efforts to ensure that vulnerable households and communities profile to determine their socio-economic
needs. This programme will conduct community capacity enhancement in all nine provinces. All of these efforts are to ensure that vibrant and sustainable communities are created.
The National Development Agency in its effort to reduce the levels of poverty in South Africa by championing development for a society free from poverty, ensures that we can contribute to the creation of self-reliance and self-efficient communities. This is being done through strengthening civil society formations towards achieving the goals of the National Development Plan, NDP which views social protection as an important part of creating social solidarity and ensuring a basic standard of living
... [Interjections.] [Inaudible.]
The work of the South African Social Security Agency continues to ensure that income support is provided to persons who are able to support themselves and or their dependants. Significantly, Sassa has committed to working to ensure individuals and communities are empowered to access development opportunities that will lead to self-
sufficiency and enable them to participate meaningfully in the economy.
In conclusion, the ANC supports Vote No 19 Social Development Adjustment Appropriation Bill. I thank you, Chairperson.
Ms S MANI-LUSITHI (Eastern Cape): Hon Chair, greetings to you, the Deputy Chairperson, Minister, Deputy Minister, hon members and fellow South Africans. I rise here on behalf of the people of the Eastern Cape and their government to say indeed the Siyavuma, we affirm and support the Adjusted Budget, as presented by the hon Minister, Lindiwe Zulu. The minister’s budget is tabled during a very difficult time as the country and the world are going through the global pandemic that has changed the face of the earth and disrupted our economy.
Hon members, central to our planning in this financial environment of the emergence of the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has further aggravated our socioeconomic conditions in the country and the province. The pandemic has resulted in the sudden loss of income
for families, individual deepening poverty and unemployment, increasing reports of domestic violence, increasing hunger and social distress. The role of the department in fighting the pandemic is therefore focused on responding to the increased demand for developmental welfare services, which includes social relief of distress, the provisioning of food for homeless, the provisioning of psycho social support, ensuring continued protection of the people’s rights and the sustainability of their livelihoods.
The impact of the pandemic and the subsequent regulations of the lockdown and social distancing has resulted in the need for the department to reflect about the nature, re- orientation and re-engineering the method of delivery of our services to our people. Now, the demand for the developmental social welfare services has increased immensely amid this pandemic such that the department has had to put measures in place to ensure that all services will not be interrupted.
Social workers, community development workers continue to work tirelessly and closely with individuals, families
and communities. In addition to this we have made a significant investment in the ICT infrastructural service, an innovative communication in ensuring greater access to our services. The Minister’s budget speech has done exceptionally well to provide a framework and a guide that aligns our policies and our service deliverables towards realising social intervention as we navigate the impact of the Covid-19.
Hon Chairperson, the department acknowledges the several multifaceted social ills that continue to confront us. In particular, this includes the high levels of poverty, youth unemployment, vulnerability, rising social distress in families and communities, high level of substance abuse, high level of violence and deep-seated structural inequalities. In the execution of the mandate, the department would dare not fail in addressing and improving the livelihoods of the poor and most vulnerable.
Now, one of the key priority areas of the Sixth Administration includes building a capable, ethical and developmental state, which marks a significant and a
radical shift from a welfare orientated stunt to a more developmental approach. This, therefore means, strengthening community development services towards sustainable livelihoods. In advocating for the shift, efforts will be made to ensure, as terms based community signed, hard participatory approach to integrate service delivery within the broader mandate of social development.
The speech by the Minister also reinforces the call by the President for all government departments to integrate services informed by the National District Development Plan. In alignment to this call, the department will intensify the implementation of the family-based model in all our interventions across the districts in the province. Hon Chairperson, hon members, we support and affirm the theme of Budget Vote 19 of the Department of Social Development, which says: Building a Caring and a Self-reliant society in the midst of Covid-19.
As Minister Lindiwe Zulu correctly indicated in her Budget Vote that despite the circumstances we are faced with we are duty bound to deliver basic services to the
citizens of South Africa. Our strategic plan is also guided by the following key priorities for the province, which are all aimed at ensuring a decisive and accelerated impact. These include leading and co- ordinating government efforts in the province to address the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide, increasing access to early childhood development, growing and strengthening the NPO sector through improving monitoring and management of NPOs, increasing and mainstreaming youth and women development, strengthening and enhancing social partnerships which vulnerable individuals, groups and communities become capable and forged to be reliant participants. Lastly, improving the department’s financial and non-financial performance.
In realising these priorities, hon Chair, the department remains steadfast in improving governance and management practices on an effective planning and operational efficiency, and oversee the implementation of the policies to be effective planning, monitoring and evaluation system. Central to the strategic plans ability to guide clear action, is the need to renew the organisational culture and the delivery of services,
while also strengthening management capability. The extent to which we meet those goals speaks volumes about our determination to improve the lives of our people, the people we serve.
Hon members, these priorities are all anchored by the National Development Plan vision which seeks to establish a responsive social protection system. In this regard we want to ensure that families as the cornerstone of the developmental society, are given the opportunity and support to be self-reliant and be able to care for and develop their children. We must therefore applaud the decision by the department through the Minister to pay an additional R300 in the Child Support Grant for the month of May, R250 increase to Older Persons Grant, Foster Care Grant and Disability Grant for a period of six months.
The department has further availed an additional Covid-19 Social Grant of Distress for R350 for six months for the unemployed South Africans.
This indeed will go a long way in decreasing the burden of vulnerability in the people of our country. We must also applaud the Minister and the department for setting
up systems in the short space of time to facilitate the payments, to recipients within a reasonable time. We are also pleased with the decision of South African Social Security Agency, Sassa to contract 465 doctors in the provinces to assist with the assessments. This will again go a long way in ensuring that we win the battle against the pandemic Covid-19.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 disrupted critical service of the department, and that is the provisioning of early childhood centres to the extent that we had to close them. This disrupts the process of development of our children. We therefore like to appreciate the efforts by the department of launching the Vangasali programme that encourages the ECD centre to register with government.
Vangasali is stronger phrase, meaning not leave them behind, an initiative that is about showing that unregistered ECD are not left behind. The important aspect of this campaign is for ECDs to share information with the department through assessment forms which can be accessed from the provincial departments. This will go a long way in professionalising the sector and giving greater support.
Hon members, in view of the escalating incidences of violence against women and children we welcome the intervention by the department, as led by the hon Minister to increase the number of social workers at the Gender-based Violence Command Centre so they can assist with psycho social support for victims of gender based violence. We also wish to reaffirm our support to the President’s decision to ban alcohol sales under Level three of the national lockdown, because people drink excessively during this period and in many instances there has been a direct link between the abuse of alcohol and the violence directed towards women, children and the elderly.
Hon Minister, we increased the vigour significantly around performance management to ensure we achieve better use of our resources and value for money as we continue to ...
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon member, there is one minute left.
Ms S MANI-LUSITHI (Eastern Cape): Thank you Chair. In conclusion, I want to recommit and reassure the people of the province that our department including its agencies and stakeholders will continue to strive for the betterment of their lives and the realisation of a more sustainable society.
Hon members, as we face these difficult times in our country at the climate of fatigue whom we are responding to, I am reminded of the words of uTata Nelson Mandela when he said:
I have taken a moment here to rest, to see the view of the glorious vista that surrounds me to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment with freedom comes responsibilities and I dare not linger. So my long walk is not ended.
Let us therefore take this moment to reflect, take lesson, but not linger for long and start the walk to the total liberation of the people of South Africa.
Mr A ARNOLDS: Thank you, Chairperson. Chairperson, while we welcome the upward adjustment of the budget of the department to cater for the added responsibilities given to the department as a result of COVID-19, we in principle object to the Budget Vote of the Department of Social Development. We have lost all hope in the ability of this department to lead the kind of change needed at this moment in the history of this country.
Even before the lockdown, the socioeconomic situation in this country was already dire. Almost 18 million people were receiving some form of social grants. Many children living without parents in the rate of unemployment, was already at levels not seen before. We are a nation of the poor, of the unemployed, of the homeless, of the orphans and of the disabled. A government in touch with revolutionary consciousness, would prioritise the wellbeing of all these vulnerable people of our society. The COVID-19 pandemic should have been a historical opportunity for your government to recapture its lost soul to ... [Inaudible.] ... the lives of the people as the main driving force are your programmes. Instead, you
have used this opportunity to politicise even as critical as the intervention in the distribution of food parcels.
You have completely messed up even the interventions we initially lauded such is the provision of COVID-19 relief income grant. Thousands of orphans are going to bed hungry every day because they have been asked to apply for the COVID-19 income grant they are entitled to from your department. Thousands of disabled people are unable to access the disability grants because of the incompetence of your department. You bungled this historical opportunity to redefine yourselves.
It is moments like these in the history that the rise and fall of nations are off the mark by pivotal moments such as these, when the world is plunged in a crisis and its nations leaders must rise to the safeguard to the survival of its citizens. One can tell a lot about the country’s leadership through the way in which it prioritise the needs of the citizens. As South Africa move towards the centre of the storm of COVID-19, its leadership is found wanted as citizens look for the
government for sustainable solutions and already of failed social development strategy.
After 26 years of empty promises and lack of political will to change the living conditions of ordinary black South Africans, it is in these very same South Africans, who are mostly at risk of adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the President announced the economic stimulus package on 15 April 2020, the EFF welcomed those economic interventions as a step in the right direction to mitigate economic and social difficulties because we are a party who approach to socio development and assistance that is underpinned by the need to safeguard the economic and social wellbeing of children, the elderly and people with disability.
Since 2014, the Economic Freedom Fighters as advocated for a social grant increase of at least 100% across all spheres. It is unfortunate that it has taken a global crisis for the grant increases to become a reality and even bigger saying that the government is not committing to making this permanent grant post COVID-19. The increase of grants in the distribution of food parcels
has become yet another failed project of the government as those in desperate need of relieve have found themselves unable to access the SA Social Security Agency, Sassa, offices to apply. Close to 50% of applicants have been rejected by the system leaving many without means with which to care for themselves and their loved ones.
Despite the EFF’s call that no politician should be involved in the distribution of food parcels, food parcels were given to corrupt politicians for distribution and have ended up being distributed on political basis, or stored in private residences in reserved for the relatives of all a decent living many without food on the table. In rates in the Free State, the elderly who have been identified as among those most at risk of COVID-19 related had to brave the cold weather queuing for more than two days to receive their payments.
Furthermore, the Free State centres used to house and cater for the homeless are not operating at full capacity. Initially, 11 centres were open with only eight currently been in operation. All these point to only one
thing that we can say and is that the department is incapable with no regard for the poor and is failing the poor in South Africa. We need to double the social grant across the board and we need to make the basic income grant a permanent part of existence in South Africa. The Economic Freedom Fighters object to the budget. Thank you, Chair.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Chairperson,
hon members, Minister, MECs, distinguished guests and fellow South Africans, good afternoon. Allow me to first acknowledge God almighty that continues to give me strength, wisdom and above all healing. I want to say thank you to all South Africans for all their good wishes since we tested positive for COVID-19. Your prayers, your well wishes have given us the strength to keep on the fight and we remain committed.
For our disclosure of our COVID-19 status was not to seek for ... [Inaudible.] ... but to say to South Africans, COVID-19 is a stigma that can be broken and you do not have to be stigmatised because you have COVID-19. It is a disease that we will all meet along the path as we do our
work and I thank God for his healing and that I have not had severe and extreme symptoms. And, even though it is day nine today, I can still participate in this amazing Budget Vote for the department. [Applause.]
Allow me, once again, to also say that we would like to present our budget in support of what the Minister has already said but to indicate that what we also need to remember is that people with disabilities in South Africa, their rights and all other support programme have moved to the Presidency as part of the Ministry of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities.
But, as the department, we remain committed to improving our services to persons with disabilities and we will be publishing the disability policy that relates to the issues around services while at the same time will also be releasing the strategic mainstreaming so that every South African knows and understands how to include persons with disabilities. The department is also responsible for ensuring the prevention of HIV and Aids, and to get South Africa by 2030 to an Aids-free generation. We remain committed through a number of
programmes and we would like to say to the provinces, for the first time as the department, we have managed to train all our traditional leaders as we acknowledge the importance of their participation and as we, as politicians come and go, they remain as an institution.
So 8 920 traditional leaders have been trained on social structural drivers that include positive parenting, family matters, the issue around men and boys championing change, and we would like to express our sincere thanks to Takuwani Riime mobilising a responsive man’s movement that remains committed to fighting gender-based violence in South Africa and calling on men to take up their responsibilities. We say high five to you guys, the journey is long. Women are not raping themselves. They are not killing themselves, girls are not impregnating themselves.
We, therefore, calling on all South African men, as we did when we launched the 0800-150-150 WhatsApp line, that has already received 24 000 men who have reached out for help and we want to thank the SA Breweries, SAB, for making sure that they spend a significant amount of money in ensuring that this WhatsApp line is linked to our
command centre and we are getting the necessary support. So we continue to call on South African men, both those that believe they are real men and those that are perpetrators and those are those that would want to perpetuate to say there is help reach out, we are there to assist you. We remain committed to getting zero gender-based violence by 2030. And for now, the fight is with men and boys in South Africa, and as Social Development, through the Men Championing Change programme, we remain committed and we would like to say
to South Africa, for the first time this year, the budget for the all the compendium of care that constitutes our social and behavioural change programmes, will be implemented by the provinces and we are hoping the National Council of Provinces will assist us in monitoring and ensuring that each province implements a compendium of care as we have handed over the budget and the responsibilities and all MECs are well-briefed.
We would like to thank the MECs for their political leadership in this regard. Allow me also to indicate that, in our fight against gender-based violence, we will be increasing our sheltering space so that women and
children that find themselves in this situation continue to access assistance. We would like to thank the Department of Public Works for the properties that they are continuing to give us and that we have the para funds to also thank the NPOs who are working in this space, and say, through the National Development Agency, they will continue to apply for additional support to continue to give this particular services.
Substance abuse remains one of the biggest challenges for South Africa and the biggest contributor to social crimes. And we wish to say that, as we present this budge, we also want to say we managed at the department, to present a launch, the blueprint of South Africa, which is the Drug Master Plan. We are encouraging all Members of Parliament to please engage with the Drug Master Plan so that together we understand South Africa's response to substance abuse, which is very comprehensive.
But with that also we would like to say we are rolling out and we have trained, for the first time, more than
100 public servants as experts in addiction and we continuing to roll out the training. We thank the Colombo
team that continues to partner with us in making this a reality.
Allow me to also say that the rights of older persons remain very important especially during this difficult time. So we are calling on all South Africans to please look after older persons, do not expose them to the COVID-19 virus because they are susceptible to it. And we thank all of our employees in the shelters, including nongovernmental organisations, NGOs, that look after our older persons. We remain committed to saying, continue the good work and look after all our vulnerable communities when we can't look after them.
Let me also indicate, and call on South Africans, that on
17 July we published and gazetted the Victim Support Services Bill, which will be out for public comment for
60 days. We are calling on all Members of Parliament, as they go to their constituencies, to assist us in ensuring that the public will engage with this Bill because this is the Bill that is going to enable us to ensure that all our gender-based violence services are victim-centred,
and we are able to make sure that we don't ... [Inaudible.] ... [Interjections.]
AN HON MEMBER: ... [Inaudible.] that your mic is on.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: ... in the
value chain of substance abuse as well as gender-based violence. So we are calling on South Africans to ensure that we can and we should look out for each other and we should be able to do it in a very caring manner. The Department of Social Development ... [Inaudible.] ... [Interjections.] but it is also important that we indicate and express our sincere thanks, appreciation and gratitude, not only to our public servants but also to the private sector that partners with us on different programmes, we give them hands up and we say that, public-private partnerships remain very important.
We also thank international communities that also partners with us and support a lot of our programmes. The Government to Government Programme, we thank the government of the United States that continues to ensure that our orphans and vulnerable children will access the
necessary services that they need. As we implement the Children's Act, we also acknowledge indeed that we are having a backlog and challenges on issues of foster care but we wish to commit that all the provinces are on track and we are increasing our social workers, precisely for them to become experts in the processing of foster care grants. While we are also saying that the Children's Court is improving its capacity. We thank the Chief Justice for that regard. As we all know that the rights of children remain absolute and all of us are expected to respect the inherent rights of children. So during this lockdown, we have seen the extent that families are very important as a unit and how families struggle to look after children and white children were exposed to remain one of the areas we must not be proud of as South Africans.
Allow me to, once again, thank my team in the office, Team Deputy Minister, for always standing by me and giving me the necessary support, Minister Zulu and her team for their co-operation as well as Team Department of Social Development, Team NDA and Team SA Social Security Agency, Sassa, for the continued support in enabling us
to do the work that we need to do. I also want to call on women who have established co-operatives to say, as we outline our uniform programme we will be looking at ensuring that women co-operatives are the biggest beneficiaries in this particular budget because we will not be able to win the war on social development or achieve a developmental state unless we ensure that we curb the job losses we empower women and we make sure that even those that are to lose their jobs are able to be reskilled to do something else.
We want to thank also a lot of the Ministries that continue to support us. Thank you very much, Chairperson.
Ms N NDONGENI: Chair, Deputy Chair, Minister, Deputy Minister, hon members, special delegated and distinguished guests, good afternoon. [Interjections.] The ANC rises in support of Vote 19 – Social Development. We do so because of our commitment to the uplifting of the quality of life for all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African females.
In this context, the ANC-led government continues to ensure that, as per the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, it pursues the quest for equality and protection of women and dignity for all.
This remains important in building the kind of society that we seek to attain, that has in place programmes aimed at meeting basic needs, programmes to empower people, families and communities and an extensive system of social grants, free basic services and other social policies to eliminate poverty and provide sustainable livelihoods. The above, in recognition that inequality, unemployment and poverty have it deliberately effect on the kind of society that we are building. These triple challenges underpinning the social ills in our communities and thus the work and investments that are made in education, skills development, work exposure programmes and provision of the economic opportunities are important pillars of building a socially cohesive nation.
The ANC has urged, through its policies, that inequalities at social and economic levels over the
centuries need to be addressed if we are to reduce the myriad of social ills that confront our society. This must be done, cognisant that in any society that is confronted by a high level of society and economic inequality and related social ills, there are going to be particularly vulnerable individuals. It is for this reason that the ANC take an intersection approach to protect the most vulnerable in society. The country experienced high levels of social ills such as substance abuse, which contributes to crime and violence against women and children that deepen poverty and causes families and communities to experience hardships. The intervention has been implemented to address social ills that are breaking families and our communities. There has been a focus of the ANC-led government towards tackling the sources of social ills through prevention programmes. This is underpinned by the ANC’s commitment to organise against social ills such as gender-based violence, substance abuse and racism. The Department of Social Development is central in the fight against social ills and the empowerment of individuals, families and communities.
It underpins its work on reducing levels of poverty, inequality, vulnerability and social ills. This is linked to empowerment in the creation of resilient individuals, families and sustainable communities. This is important as social ills continue to have a generational impact on the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities, a requirement in the improving levels of wellbeing for individuals, families and communities.
The escalation of violence against women and children needs a committed response through a partnership between civil society organisations and the broader society.
These were having witnesses in the development of the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide. Furthermore, more support needs to be given to implementing agencies that deliver programmes focused on addressing social and structural drivers of the government’s response.
Social ills and empowering individuals, families and communities through a committed response to violence against women and children continues to affect the wellbeing of people, families and communities. It is
important that trained social workers must be prioritised to contribute to addressing social ills. We commend the commitment by the department to extend their absorption of trained but unemployed social workers precipitated by the economy. A large number of these social workers will contribute to substantially reducing the intensive spread of social ills in our communities.
The building of capacity of social workers on the Universal Treatment Curriculum is a focal area. It will enhance the provision of quality service, particularly in drug treatment centres. It is envisioned that this training will contribute to the reduction of the high relapse rate and ultimately preventing the scourge of substance abuse and other social ills in families and communities.
This is an important part of the implementation of the National Drug Master Plan that will contribute to the reduction of social ills. The implementation of the plan will contribute to uniting communities against social ills such as improving their communities. This
intervention seeks to ensure that people and communal cells feel safe.
We note the commitment of the department to provide, over the Medium-Term Strategic Framework, a standardised package as part of the response to addressing social ills and provide empowerment. A core packaging of social welfare intervention will be developed will include essential minimum psychosocial support and norms and standards of substance abuse, violence against women and children, families and communities. It is important that the focus will be given to the creation of functional community structures as part of preventing and addressing social ills in the communities. Building sustainable, vibrant and healthier communities is one of the largest contributors to reduce levels of poverty inequality, vulnerability and social ills and empowerment and creation of resilient individual, families and sustainable communities.
These initiatives remain important in addressing inequality, which leads to social ills but they need to move from being measured in economic terms and focus on
the impact that they are making in reducing social inequality. We are delighted that the department has initiated an evidence-based and results-based approach and the work that it does. This means that the shift will be on the impact that it’s making in reducing social inequality. The government should also strengthen the response programme that includes empowerment support, food security and community mobilisation programmes. It has been noted that, for optional response to address social ills, the government requires stronger civil society and as much more work is required to support nongovernmental organisations that offer many critical services in communities.
This includes ensuring that individuals, families and communities are empowered and made resilient through continuous education and awareness campaigns. Policy intervention by the department, such as the provision of psychosocial services are important contributors to the overall fight against gender-based violence. This is a core mandate driven by social workers that require safeguarding to ensure that it continues to make a meaningful contribution to the sector.
Its implementation is important in reducing social ills in families and communities and women, children and other vulnerable groups that have been in receipt of well- regulated psychosocial services provided by credible service providers. The National Development Agency, as an entity of the department, is central in the functioning and sustainability of the community. Its programme contributes towards the facilitation of interventions, creating dialogue regarding community targeted issues as well as raise strategies to implement programmes aimed at meeting the most official development needs of poor communities. The impact of these programmes is to reduce poverty levels and creating sustainable communities because families and communities become more vulnerable when they can’t access opportunities. The ANC support the budget. Thanks, Chair.
Ms N M KHOZA - KWAZULU-NATAL – MEC - SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT:
Chairperson of the NCOP ... [Inaudible.] ...
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Khoza, yes. Please proceed.
Ms N M KHOZA - KWAZULU-NATAL – MEC - SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT:
Hon Chairperson, am I audible?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: You are a bit audible but if you can just relax and lean a bit forward.
Ngathi uyasondela kumbhobho wokukhuluma.
Ms N M KHOZA - KWAZULU-NATAL – MEC - SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT:
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Okay, that is better.
Ms N M KHOZA - KWAZULU-NATAL – MEC - SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT:
Hon Chairperson ... [Inaudible.] ... hon members of the NCOP, hon Minister Lindiwe Zulu, ladies and gentlemen, today we debate the ... [Inaudible.] ... budget ... [Inaudible.] ...
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon member, there is something that is disturbing you there. There is a lot of
echoes and we can’t follow what you are saying. But please, try again and I will ask the Table there to please assist.
Ms N M KHOZA - KWAZULU-NATAL – MEC - SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT:
Oh Lord! Can I start?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Yeah, that is better. Please proceed.
Ms N M KHOZA - KWAZULU-NATAL – MEC - SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT:
... on the adjustment budget with a substantial reduction but we remain committed to the fulfilment of the electorate’s mandate that demonstrated an unwavering trust in the ANC in May 2019. The ANC declared the year 2020 as the centenary of our struggle stalwarts and icons
... ubaba u-Harry Gwala nobaba u-Raymond Mhlaba.
July is Men’s and marks the centenary since ...
... ubaba uGwala’s ...
... birth. It is the same month in which our founding father, President Nelson Mandela was born. Despite all the challenges and hardships ...
... ubaba uGwala, iBhubesi lase-Midlands ...
... has continued to inspire many people in the struggle for democracy, peace and justice. We know he died fighting against inequality and for significant change in the lives of ordinary people. Like all leaders of his generation, his frankness on corruption and anomalous behaviour made him unpopular in certain quarters at times. Hon Minister, we know that ...
... ubaba uGwala ...
... would have taken the growing unemployment, poverty and inequality seriously and fought it with all vigour.
Ubaba uGwala ...
... would have been vocal about some elements of maladministration that we see sometimes and have to witness. The Fourth Industrial Revolution appears to be the new way of conducting business hence meeting today to engage in this important budget of the Department of Social Development.
For five months our lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic with a lot of people losing their lives and livelihoods. Regrettably, we also witness some acts of collusion by callous people from the public and private sectors or are taking advantage of the situation to enrich themselves.
In the Kwazulu-Natal government, we took up the issues seriously. Accountability and consequence management is the name of the game. With a huge reduction of
15,4 billion, we welcome the adjustment budget of the department to present in the House today. The
R182,2 billion budget to be shared among the vulnerable people we serve across this nation, including compensation of the workforce, seems too little, considering the department’s mandate.
High unemployment rate is the main socioeconomic challenge that contributes to high poverty and inequality, therefore impacting negatively on the quality of life. The high unemployment is particularly rife among the youth. Strengthening manufacturing and production within our country will ensure job creation and more job creators. Young people need to be developed because they are the biggest asset to the economy.
African challenges need African solutions that should find expression in our planning and budget. The offering of short and flexible courses targeting women and youth should be the answer as the President agreed to. As
COVID-19 continues wreaking havoc in the lives of many South Africans, until a vaccine is developed, more expectations and responsibilities will be put on the departments that are at the forefront of this battle. we thank His excellency the President, hon Cyril Ramaphosa, and all members of the national command for the clear and direct interventions they have made to shield our people from the pandemic.
The interventions include R500 billion to help save jobs and provide income to informal workers and poor households. Special COVID-19 relief scheme of the Unemployment Insurance Fund, small business support and monthly special COVID-19 grant of R350 for the unemployed. This department also gave a big boost to child support and other grants for six months as COVID-19 hit the economy hard.
We know all the commitments made on the child support grants, older people and people with disabilities and for war veterans that showed the unwavering commitment by the ANC government to protect people from poverty aided by COVID-19. We know the department remains the hope of the
hopeless, the reduction of its budget, therefore, poses new challenges and will require innovation and good leadership, both at a political and administrative level, to ensure that the resources allocated to us are managed effectively and efficiently.
Having listened to the debate in this House, we all agree that we have a serious pandemic and it has exposed our vulnerabilities. It’s about time we put our political differences aside and put the interest of our people first. To me, it seems that among us, some are very determined to ignore or radically turn a blind eye to the challenges we face but instead politicise every effort to shield vulnerable people.
I am saying this because I understand that there are people who did not support the budget. It is pleasing to note that the department continues to insist upon and pursue programmes aimed at the eradication of poverty, protecting the most vulnerable members of the society, while dealing with inequality. In the province of KwaZulu-Natal, over 18 697 people have received psychosocial support during this COVID-19.
We must mention upfront that gender-based violence needs more funds. Social workers should be employed and stationed in schools, police stations and in Wards to handle these cases. More social workers are needed to tackle the gender-based violence issues. Equally, we need to standardise the remuneration of community caregivers. There is a discrepancy in how they are paid and receive different salaries. As a result, we are losing good people on that front. More funding is required in Community Nutrition Development Centres, CNDCs. There are pending job losses that would happen due to COVID-19.
Therefore, a possible strategy is to create more CNDCs, one per Ward to counter the challenges in our communities. ... [Inaudible.] ... in the province, we established homeless shelters in eleven districts with the occupancy of 1 141.
It has proven very difficult to keep the homeless people in secure environments as some escape to return to the street. Those remaining in the shelters get involved in drug detoxification with the help of the nurses, social workers and doctors who often check their progress.
Since the start of the national lockdown, we distributed about 31 252 social relief of distress packages to needy households in all districts with the help of the private sector. With all responses in this regard, we still have a huge number of beneficiaries waiting for assistance. We have witnessed a disturbing trend of the surge of violence against women. The level of domestic violence and sexual exploitation has risen as a result of the confined living conditions. We have responded to gender- based violence, GBV, as follows; The victims of gender- based violence have received psychosocial support in victim-friendly rooms and Thuthuzela Care Centres. The crisis we face means more funding is required to ensure that awareness programmes and dialogues on gender-based violence prevention continue to be rolled out in our communities.
All of us need to unite and make sure that those involved in brutal acts of gender-based violence get punished and prosecuted. In an attempt to recruit more social workers in the province, our plans will unfold very soon as we have recruited ... [Inaudible.] ... social workers.
KwaZulu-Natal supports the Budget Vote. [Interjections.]
Ms N C RAKGOALE – LIMPOPO – MEC - SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT:
Thank you so much to the Chairperson of the House, hon Masondo, Deputy Chairperson, hon members, members of the Select Committee on Health and Social Services, Minister of Social Development, Deputy Minister Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, MECs for Social Development who also joined the sitting, chief executive officers of our agencies, both the SA Social Security Agency, Sassa and the National Development Agency, NDA, hon members of the opposition parties and all protocol observed, the COVID-
19 pandemic has forced the South African government and its ...[Inaudible.] ... consistent with the new normal requires all of us to pull in the same direction in the fight against this pandemic while carefully protecting the lives and livelihoods of our people.
The supplementary Budget Speech presented by Minister Mboweni on 24 June is a clearer indication of how the ANC-led government has redirected and reprioritised funds
to help us in the situation that we are finding ourselves in. As the department that has been tasked with looking after the most vulnerable in our society, we welcome the R41 billion allocated, hence our efforts to assist
millions of South Africans who are exposed to the ripple effects that are the aftermaths of COVID-19. We are indeed delighted that our 18 million South Africans have already received a temporary COVID-19 grant.
The roll-out of the short-term Social Relief and Distress grant will go a long way in providing temporary relief to those without an income as we ride out the storm that is COVID-19. This intervention, people who are living in the deep rural villages of Limpopo, before COVID-19 hit the country, we were providing social grants to over
2,5 million beneficiaries in Limpopo alone. This number is equivalent to almost half of the province’s population.
The additional R25,5 million that has been allocated towards social development will immensely contribute towards the betterment of the lives of our people.
Pumping billions of rand towards service delivery during the lockdown period will be futile if our communities do not heed the call by the President of the country to meet the government halfway by protecting themselves from contracting the coronavirus.
Under the leadership of our premier, Mr Chupu Mathabatha, we continue to monitor compliance to social distancing and ... [Inaudible.] ... COVID-19, malls, particularly in rural areas. Sadly, we still bear witness to complacency among other people despite the alarming and the ever- increasing ... Addressing the nation on Sunday, the President emphasised the urgent need for all of us to take precautionary measures as a firm response to the storm that is upon us. The President remarked:
the coronavirus storm is as far fiercer and more destructive than any we have ever known before. It is stretching our resources and our resolve to their limits.
This observation by the President propels us to take precautionary measures and work in unison despite party- political affiliation. We have certainly observed some among us, in their desperation to score cheap political points, have sought to politicise the effects of the pandemic and related interventions while our people continue to succumb to the vicious virus which has claimed over 5 000 South African lives.
We are duty-bound to work together in the fight to preserve human lives. I also wish to join Minister Lindiwe Zulu in expressing the department’s unwavering support towards the President’s pronouncement to reinstate a ban on the sale of alcohol. We believe this will go a long way in clamping down on incidents of gender-based violence and reduce the strain on our health and welfare services that are attributed to the abuse of alcohol.
Just a week ago, in the Phalaborwa area in Mopani, ... [Inaudible.] ... killed his partner, her cousin and injured his 16-year old daughter before turning the gun on himself. In Senwabarwana, in the Capricorn district area, an elderly woman and her two grandchildren, aged six and nine, were brutally murdered. In another despicable act of brutality, a 19-year old man strangled his grandmother in the Vhembe district. These incidents, and many other acts of abuse, are part of the social ills that social development has to grapple with across the country. It is important to note that these are not just statistics, but people whose right to life has been
violated by men who are supposed to love and care for them.
We are deeply perturbed that these incidents took place during a month dedicated to celebrating the life of the father of our liberation movement, Nelson Mandela. A month in which we are expected to show love and care for each other. Madiba and his generation dedicated their lives to the noble cause of constructing a society in which all people must be able to live in peace and harmony. These women and children spit in the face of democracy which was born of the crossable sacrifice of our forebears. Tata Mandela had built a special residence in his heart for children and the elderly and had he still been alive, it would have been heart-breaking for him to witness these levels of abuse and violence meted against vulnerable women and children. During the lockdown period, our social workers in Limpopo alone responded to more than 250 cases of gender-based violence, unprecedented and worrying figures given the reality that most of the cases of abuse remain unreported. The additional appointment of 1 008 ... [Inaudible.] ... by the hon Tito Mboweni will make a
significant impact in the effort carried out by social workers on the ground, and need more social workers to help us build the required moral fibre in our society.
In conclusion, as we eagerly await feedback from thousands of Early Childhood Development Centres, ECDs with regard to their readiness to reopen, we wish to commit ourselves to the careful monitoring of these centres. We acknowledge that the safe and efficient running of ECDs will be a mammoth task, nonetheless, we vow to place a high premium on the safety ... of the department to succeed, it would require the co-operation of all parties involved, including ECD owners and practitioners as well as parents of those precious little gifts from God. As Limpopo, we support Budget Vote 19 for Social Development Adjustments Appropriation Bill. I thank you.
Ke a leboha.
Xitsonga: Ndza khensa.
Ms N VILAKAZI – NORTHERN CAPE – MEC – SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT:
Hon Deputy Chair, hon Chairperson ... Can you hear me, Chair?
The DEPUTY CHAIR OF THE NCOP: I can hear you. You must just move a little bit to the right so that we can see you. Yes, you are fine now.
Ms N VILAKAZI – NORTHERN CAPE – MEC – SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT:
Thank you. ... of the NCOP, Mr Amos Masondo, hon Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, Ms Sylvia Lucas, hon Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, hon Deputy Minister, Ms Bogopane-Zulu, members of the NCOP, fellow MECs from provinces, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon, these days it is almost impossible to make any speech without making reference to the COVID-19 pandemic’s existence as we know it. Allow me, therefore, to begin my input by paying a special tribute to those who have succumbed to this invisible enemy. I do not wish to single out anyone in particular but include all employees of our department, both at national and across all nine provinces who lost their lives in the line of duty. Our dear brothers and sisters who when everybody was told to
stay at home ... the needy and the most vulnerable and in the process risking their own lives. To those sons and daughters of the soil who face this merciless enemy of COVID-19 without guns and bullets in order to build a caring society, we say to them, may their souls rest in peace.
The COVID-19 pandemic sweeping through South Africa and the rest of the world have worsened the conditions in women of our country. As a result, we are already experiencing a human crisis beyond reckoning. This crisis is gender-based violence. Gender-based violence represents the abuse of physical strength by women and the vulnerability of women and children even in the confines of their own homes. The rate at which things are happening, we can no longer be asking ...
Yintoni eyenzekayo kuluntu lwethu?
Because, after so many gruesome deaths, with so many women left with so many scars, some even disabled, surely we need to know what is happening ...
... kuluntu lwethu.
We had a number of seminars, dialogues and all sorts of engagements, and instead of ... it has worsened in some areas. The money that was supposed to be directed at typical ... [Inaudible.] ... is now being spent on something that could be avoided. Just yesterday, we had an engagement again with the premier, Zamani Saul, where we have interdepartmental engagements.
However, as part of our contribution to that solution, we need to include the perpetrators and not focus on the survivors. With this approach, we hope to address the psychological issues that turn a loving and caring husband into a monster. With this approach, we hope to deal with the violent behaviour within the perpetrator’s mind before someone becomes a victim. Another critical
issue to consider is how we can empower victims to become self-sustainable so that they do not stay in abusive relationships for financial support.
We remain hopeful that under the servant leadership of our Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, we can overcome this. We, therefore, wish to applaud the Minister for the increase of social workers at the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre to assist victims of gender-based violence.
... Minister. No doubt some animals fight and kill members of their species sometimes. Many lions slaughter cubs when they join a new pride. Rival ant colonies of the same species fight bloody wars. Chimpanzees have been shown to kill each other at similar per capita rates as humans but these animals, which are not blessed with the intellect of a human mind, do not fight and kill their female counterparts. Only men do that and that is a very sad state of affairs.
This simply means that wild animals can better take care of their females than men. As we ready ourselves for the
... [Inaudible.] ... we hope this August, next month, we hope to speak to men who have unfortunately being outclassed by animals of the wild when it comes to female counterparts. I am saying this because domestic violence is not only a deadly crime, a social menace and a costly public health and economic problem but also a serious threat to our hard-earned democracy.
There is progress at a provincial level in the Northern Cape. We are in partnership with Kathu Solar. We were able to launch the ... [Inaudible.] ... Victim Support Centre in October 2019 to strengthen support services to victims of gender-based violence. We are now in a process of finalising the Postmasburg Victim Support Centre that will be launched during the 2020-2021 financial year.
This will bring the number of shelters for victims of gender-based violence to seven in the province. We are well aware that in order to graduate our people out of poverty we need to strengthen our efforts in terms of training and skills development.
Accordingly, we have commenced a process of reclaiming statutory services. We have, therefore, begun with the process of insourcing De Aar and the Springbok Child and Youth Care Centres. This process is expected to be finalised by the end of next month August 2020. Through this process, the department has successfully created a total of 111 permanent jobs at a cost of R18,5 million.
With the help of the national department, we were able to successfully lobby for an earmarked allocation of
R9,9 million for the permanent appointment of 16 new social workers especially, to deal with gender-based violence. We managed to again appoint additional social workers on a contract basis and successfully lobbied the Department of Education to appoint an additional 11 in an effort to strengthen our social support services during COVID-19.
As part of our resolve to ensure income support to the poor and vulnerable, the department has set aside
R30,5 million to provide work opportunities to just over
1 800 unemployed individuals, mostly young people.
Through these efforts, we have managed to create 127
permanent jobs and just over 1 800 contract jobs during this financial year at a cost of R60 million.
In our young people, in our health and welfare sector education and training authority, Seta and ... what I want to say, we have partnered with the Health and Welfare Seta. This partnership saw an appointment of 24 interns and the enrolment of 40 unemployed young people in the social ... [Inaudible.] ... in child and welfare care. [Interjections.] Thank you, Chair ... for 12 months at the end of February 2021 at a cost of R3,3 million. We are also currently funding 18 final year students on the National Social Work Scholarship Programme at a cost of R1,4 million. In closing, violence against women and children can no longer be treated with deference with about a week to the start of Women’s Month, we say no more shall this violence against half of our population, our mothers, our fathers be invisible, or worst, still judged by indifference.
It cannot be ... by television ... premised on drugs and violence. Millions of our people religiously sit glued to television screens every evening watching crime and
violence elevated to the status of, almost hypnosis, with opulence and success in popular soapies and drama series.
We need to seek an audience with the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, as well as the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, so that together we engage our broadcasters and producers to help us build a society and not lead us astray in the name of entertainment.
Instead, we shall implore them to help us fight this scourge with storylines that move South Africa forward. And finally, coronavirus is an indiscriminate disease that does not care whether you are a child, granny, woman, man, politician, pastor, rich or poor.
It ravages everyone. We do use these basic tools to fight it. And those tools are social and physical distancing, as well as good personal hygiene. We need to wash our hands regularly and keep them sanitised as often as possible. Let us all obey and follow the instructions of
the authorities and with a little bit of discipline, we can defeat this invisible, merciless killer. I thank you.
Mr A B CLOETE: Deputy Chair, after a decade of slow economic growth, the impact of COVID-19 on real income levels is likely to set the South African economy back several years. We need to think differently. It cannot be business as usual. Poverty is a national problem that affects a very large part of our society. Involving an entire community in eradicating poverty is the most effective form of poverty relief. Chair, I said to involve the community and not numb the community. The FF Plus strives to promote community-based social services. We reject the use of the racial quotas test used to allocate state funding to social service organisations.
Suid-Afrikaners het nodig om uit die eindelose afgrond van afhanklikheid te kom en selfstandig te wees. Die regering is nie alles nie. Teenstrydig met wat die ANC sê, is dit juis wat ’n gesonde demokrasie voorskryf.
Behoeftiges moet eerder deur ekonomiese groei en werkskepping opgehef word.
Less dependency and more self-reliant and independent communities. But it is business as usual for the ANC and all the ANC offers is promises. We have seen that with the COVID-19 relief grant that should have been paid in May, and in many instances people still waiting.
For almost R42 billion the department receives additionally will not be enough and you know that, Minister. It will never be enough because you are doing it wrongly. The Minister was blasted recently by the courts when he declared the closure of private Early Childhood Development centres and schools as being unlawful. Let me quote Judge Fabricius in his verdict about the Minister:
The conduct of the first respondent in these proceedings, which was the minister, falls far short of the standard that can and must be expected in these crucially important proceedings concerning young and vulnerable children.
If that is not damning judgement the I don’t know what is. But the madness in this department does not end there. The government’s existing social grant recipients made up of at least 7,4 million applications for the R350 COVID-19 relief grant, as the Minister stated that the government employee employees who tried to fraudulently benefit should be charged. Have they been charged, Minister? This happened under your watch. And then the Minister announces a universal social grant, just to backtrack the next day by staying, she should first need to see whether there is money for it. Minister, the issue of available money ... especially within the ANC ... when will you learn that. Stop making populist announcements and promises.
In teenstelling met wat die ANC wil voorgee, kan ons nie net op die regering steun vir hulp nie. Ons kort selfstandige gemeenskappe wat saamstaan. Daarin lê ons krag.
Ons sê dankie aan organisasies soos Solidariteit Helpende Hand. Ons moet baie sterk onderskeid tref tussen Helpende
Hand en die regering se Solidariteitsfonds. Helpende Hand kry nie ’n enkele sent van die regering nie. Ek herhaal dit, Voorsitter. Nie ’n sent nie. Maar Helpende Hand wys waartoe Suid-Afrika in staat is as die regering hom in die steek laat.
Let me give some statistics between April and July, R11 million was spent on the needy. More than 1 200 organisations received aid and, even more importantly, more than 16 000 families were helped. All this was possible without a cent from the government. And also this was not just about giving, Helping Hand also spent
R1 million rand on ... [Inaudible.] ... school training, which begs the question, why do we do pay taxes if part of our tax is not reaching the poor and needy.
Granted, the Minister was at least honest when she said COVID-19 had exposed a deeper challenge the country was still facing, in particular, the poor. But I wonder if she understands the significance of exactly what we have been arguing all along. Is it possible that the Minister anticipates that she will be fired soon?
Hierdie departement se ideologie is verkeerd en gevaarlik, om die minste te sê. Dit mors Suid-Afrikaners se tyd, hulpbronne en geld. Baie dankie.
Die ADJUNKVOORSITTER VAN DIE NRVP (Me S E Lucas): Baie
dankie, agb Cloete. Ons gaan voort met die debat ...
... and we are calling on hon Bosman ... [Inaudible.] ... the debate.
Mr G BOSMAN (WESTERN CAPE – CHAIRPERSON – STANDING
COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT): House Chairperson and good afternoon to all the colleagues, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a social development challenge the magnitude of which none of us could have ever envisaged. The public and private sectors have been stretched to capacity and beyond. And in so many instances, the turnaround time for responses is unthinkable.
Nevertheless, we have witnessed tremendously encouraging signs of support. And the outstanding work of the NGOs
and charitable organisations cannot go without mention. This past weekend, over Mandela Day, Ladles of Love, a Cape Town-based NGO, broke the record for the most sandwiches in an hour. They made 304 583 sandwiches to be exact. The collaboration has been amazing. We have seen municipalities come out and offer local halls as potential SA Social Security Agency, Sassa, venues to assist the agency in paying out grants.
In the Western Cape, the provincial Department of Social Development has swiftly reacted to the crisis by adding extra capacity to show support for victims of gender- based violence, reprioritising funds for day care centres and extending over R70 million for food relief in the province.
We did not need a court order to instruct us to resume feeding schemes for learners. The Western Cape swiftly and responsibly remained the only province to do so under the lockdown, lifting the most vulnerable.
This was further made possible by our prudent financial management which availed ... [Inaudible.]. The time for
the national Department of Social Development to match these efforts and indeed doubled them is well overdue. Our persons with disabilities suffer a series of challenges when it comes to applying for and receiving social grants. The availability of Sassa-appointed doctors for assessments is one such concern exemplified in reality that for the residents of George, Knysna, Mossel Bay, Plettenberg Bay Hout Bay and Riversdale there are just four such doctors. But even so, applicants are being told by Sassa to apply for the R350 emergency grant instead. However, this is over R1 500 less than the disability grant to which they are entitled to that they desperately need.
The disability grant applications are, according to the agency, to reduce the potential exposure to the coronavirus to its approved district surgeons. This is unfathomable. These brave doctors are already at the frontlines but they are well-prepared with the necessary personal protective equipment, PPE, and they follow the health protocols as it’s been outlined by the national and provincial regulations. The grant assessment poses
far less risk than other procedures that our health care workers are already engaged in.
And even in the case of those who have applied for the COVID-19 emergency grant that the Minister boasts about, millions of applicants are still under assessment and delay, the backlog in the system further exacerbates pre- existing glitches, a recipient may very well continue to receive nothing. We face the worst economic hardships since the Great Depression and the dark days of apartheid, over 3 million people are now unemployed as a result of COVID-19 under lockdown and when the government promised a lifeline in the form of the Social Relief of Distress grant, we, as a province, have sought to monitor this and ask the necessary questions. And also make sure that these funds reach those who need them most.
On the Social Relief of Distress grant itself, we have now a reason to believe that 80% of this Social Relief of Distress grant applicants have not received the R350 allowances. Many of these are people in the Western Cape. I have seen the long lines of people, some waiting days to apply and receive answers for the emergency grant
applications ... at the best of times and during a health pandemic, they are unimaginable. If we are to properly consider the Adjustment Budget before us today, we also need to consider ... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Gillion Bosman, can I call you to order? Call me Deputy Chairperson, I am not a House Chairperson. ... [Inaudible.] ... as well not call me by my correct name if you don’t use my correct title. Thank you.
Mr G BOSMAN (WESTERN CAPE – CHAIRPERSON – STANDING
COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT): My apologies, Deputy Chairperson. ... the public purse which we spend and this spending ought to meet the needs of vulnerable individuals, families and communities. More than
R1 billion in irregular and fruitless expenditure is astounding. We still have no explanation of where this R1 billion of irregular expenditure was wasted. Without accountability and check, and as an absolute assurance that all levels of government, we cannot deliver on our promise to oversee the executive and all the government agencies without fear or favour.
We have a mandate from the electorate that we will stand firm to make sure that the government delivers on time, where needed, and as far as possible in the collective battle the defeat COVID-19.
But the reality is that just last week, Sassa refused to account to our Standing Committee on Social Development, even with advanced notice. All members present, including the ANC, reiterated the provincial committee, as it is an agency charged by law with the obligation to provide for vulnerable residents.
I wish to alert members of this august House to read two research papers by the University of Cape Town, UCT, that highlight the internal politics and challenges that prevail within Sassa and the Department of Social Development. This report concludes that emergencies ... having entailed disappointingly little, have delivered disappointingly late, and with still a very small chance that these features will become permanent in the South African welfare state.
Furthermore, the hon Minister has not answered any of the letters I’ve written as chairperson of the standing committee on multiple occasions. We have to revisit our moral compass as a country if this is the case. We have to ask where the leadership is when the disability grants are not paid because of a shortage of doctors for assessments. We have to ask where the political will and direction is when Sassa's finances are poorly managed.
And we absolutely must demand accountability where national Ministers and departments district guide us as provinces because we owe an explanation to the people we serve.
To achieve the safety nets and opportunities needed for our vulnerable, I assure you that in the Western Cape we will use every mechanism available to demand answers, real answers and see the change we need. This is after all our constitutional obligation, but first and foremost, the moral imperative as public servants, we simply have no answers at the moment. In the meantime, our people suffer and many more would starve if it were not for the brave efforts of non-profit charities.
Unfortunately, they cannot meet all the needs, nor should they be expected to. The time to act has already passed. We are now in dire need of catch-up and adequately, rapidly roll out. More than half of the poorest are unemployed, millions are without hope, and families without the knowledge of where they will be able to find the money and the food to feed their children. The politics and personal ambitions within political ... we need answers and we need intervention. I thank you, Ma’am.
Ms B T SHONGWE (MPUMALANGA – MEC - SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT):
hon Deputy Chairperson and the Chief Whip, the Minister, Deputy Minister and MECs from different provinces, as well as members of the NCOP, we meet in this virtual platform two days after we celebrated Mandela Day, a day that we celebrated with children from two centres in honour of uTata Nelson Mandela.
As a province, we are saddened by the loss of hon Phindile Mmola, who was a permanent delegate of the NCOP on Saturday 18 July. This morning, again, we also woke up
to the sad news on the passing of Andrew Mlangeni, who has just celebrated his 95th birthday on 6 June.
In the words of Martin Luther King Jnr, “Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame, but greatness, because greatness is determined by service”.
Hamba kahle, baba Mlangeni.
You fought till the end. May their souls rest in peace. As Mpumalanga, we support the Budget of Social Development Vote 19, we see it as a tool that will readdress inequalities, poverty and unemployment.
We are hard at work as a nation fighting the invisible coronavirus. But we have seen another pandemic in the form of gender-based violence spiking in our country, especially during the lockdown. And we have seen many cases of gender-based violence being reported to our police station.
And we say, together with the social workers, indeed, many cases of rape, murder, assault on our mothers, sisters, children and our daughters. In the same light, we have seen the national department allocating 100 ... to the Department of ... And we see this as a tool that is also going to reduce the spike of gender-based violence. Our social workers provide psychosocial services to the victims and their families and to those that are affected.
We say gender-based violence, GBV, and COVID-19 are a double blow for women in South Africa, women can’t take it anymore and women are wounded, bleeding, hopeless as women and children are killed daily. And we want to say, women have done it all. They have picketed, attended courts, shouted and cried out loud.
You will agree ... [Inaudible.] ... have a big role to play in this regard in terms of trauma debriefing to those families affected by gender-based violence. We continue to work together with the Men's Forum and other civil society structures during this COVID-19 lockdown to reduce the scourge and the social ills in our society.
We have started to provide regional participation platforms for all vulnerable groups to engage in the solutions to gender-based violence. As a result of the national lockdown, all our ECD centres had to close for the protection and wellbeing of our children and the practitioners.
As a province, we are finalising the work stream of risk assessment and the state of readiness for our ECDs reopening. And we are continuing to work with the Department of Education in terms of the migration of our ECD centres. And we, working together with our social workers, are monitoring the safety regulations in all our centres, especially now that we are doing assessments in our ECD centres. We remain committed to improving the quality of services to our people. On social assistance, the SA Social Security Agency, Sassa, received about
624 374 applications of the special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress grant from Mpumalanga. A total of
365 209 has been approved. And so far, 292 403 beneficiaries have already been paid.
The grant came with its challenges that Sassa is trying to resolve, especially in rural areas. We appreciate the additional funding in the different grants as it will reduce hunger and poverty and certainly improve the lives of our people. The COVID-19 special SRD appeals process, which has been seen approving some of the declined applications, has been appreciated by the people of Mpumalanga and it is a work in progress.
In ... statement by the state President, we collaborated with municipalities to establish homeless shelters in key towns across the province. We identified and removed all homeless people from the streets and provided them with shelter, dignity packs, blankets and three meals per day. That is a temporary measure. And we are busy now working together with the Department of Health, treating them in terms of substance abuse. Some of them we are placing in our treatment centres. But we must say, this was a difficult task which was foreseen and these people are so special. Some of them integrated with their families, but some do not have families. Some of them belong to other provinces and we are working with the Department of Home Affairs to make sure that we help them with the
fingerprints so that they can be able to access their IDs so that they can get the grant.
But we must say, we are having a baby and we are calling that way because she was born last Monday, and when the Minister visited our shelter in Middelburg, there was a lady that was taken from the street and she was pregnant, and now she has a baby girl. We recently started a process of taking some of the drug abusers to our centres to be treated, so that they could detox so that they can be able to leave those drugs.
It is true that COVID-19 came with its challenges in terms of food security and hunger. As a department, we were overwhelmed with the high demand for food. It must be noted that, together with Sassa, we were not prepared for such a challenge but we managed to intervene and provide for the needy families. The department also provided for the needy people in our 76 funded residential facilities that remained open during the lockdown. We need to keep hope by fighting COVID-19 through our food distribution programme. In Mpumalanga
... sidudula indlala.
The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to impact our communities negatively. Our operations in providing services suggest that we will continue ... negatively for some time. It is, therefore, critical that, as a sector, we continue to partner with civil society organisations to find a mechanism to continue to provide services within the current constraints.
We thank our social partners who reached out when we were faced with the challenge of hunger as a government, especially during Levels 4 and 5 in terms of providing food parcels to our communities. We want to take this opportunity to appreciate the service of our social workers, auxiliary social workers and community development practitioners for the good work that they have done, not excluding our National Development Agency, NDA volunteers who helped our department in terms of services in the lockdown term.
Let us continue to observe the lockdown regulations. As frontline soldiers, we are determined to fight until the invisible enemy is defeated by providing services to our communities. We want to take this opportunity to also indicate that some of our officials, like our social workers, are also reported to be infected with this disease and we have seen in some of our old age homes that there is now a report that some of our elderly people are being infected.
But, working together with the Department of Health, we are making sure that testing is done every month and that the isolation is even done in the centres. We believe that by working together we will be able to fight the scourge of COVID-19 and also this scourge of gender-based violence. We want to indicate also, as Mpumalanga, we support the Budget. Thank you, Deputy Chairperson.
Mr W A S AUCAMP: hon Chairperson, hon members, fellow South Africans, the COVID-19 pandemic has once again highlighted the absolute failures of this incapable state. This ANC government has throughout this pandemic showed us that the biggest objective is to build power
for itself instead of building on the cornerstones of caring in order to promote the social development and welfare of the people of South Africa.
During this pandemic, we have seen corruption in its cruellest form. In a time when we as a people needed to stand together and help each other combat the social effects of this horrendous pandemic, there were those within the ANC that could not let this crisis go to waste. In an environment where corruption is endemic to this ANC government, thrived with renewed force. There are those within the ANC that immediately saw this pandemic as a huge opportunity to again enrich their own pockets instead of caring for the people of South Africa that so desperately needed assistance. Hon Deputy Chairperson, it is, furthermore, the ANC that saw this pandemic as another opportunity to further the objective of the ANC instead of promoting the wellbeing of the people of our beautiful country. This is not only wrong; it is immoral. The actions of the ANC government during this pandemic have once again shown us that the ANC sees power in each disaster instead of managing these
disasters in the best interest of the people of our country.
The COVID-19 pandemic required this government to put the interest of the people above the interests of the ANC. But, as so many times in the past, they have failed dismally. To name but one example of this, was the disgraceful attempt by this hon Minister’s department and by the Minister, to try and monopolise and capture the distribution of food parcels. This government would rather have our people go hungry than have somebody other than itself distributing food parcels to those that so desperately needed them. I think it is an absolute shame. This government’s forcefulness will not hide the endemic immorality within the ANC nor will it hide the inabilities of those within this ANC government.
To the hon Gillion of the ANC, on the ANC’s successes, whilst you know they are not true, as a representative of the Western Cape, I would ask you to rather urge your bosses within the ANC to go and have a look at what the DA-led government in the Western Cape is doing. We are
far more successful in governing than you are with the rest of the country.
Food security is one of the most important parts of our social well-being. It is, therefore, appalling that this government has failed the people of South Africa by not properly protecting the lives of our farmers and farmworkers on our farms ... this is not achievable.
The hon Christians have earlier emphasised that relation is at risk of becoming food insecure. It is, therefore, very sad to again see the ANC putting its political objectives in front of the wellbeing of our nation when it comes to the assistance that they are to provide to the farmers of South Africa.
The drought that our farmers are experiencing was declared a disaster even before we had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. And yet this government is not nearly doing enough to alleviate the devastating effects that this drought has on all the farmers in our country.
We are experiencing an extreme drought and still, this government decided not to extend the state of disaster with regard to this drought is inexplicable. The failures by the government will lead to further job losses that in turn will not only have a negative effect on our food security but will put an even bigger strain on the already burdened coffers of our social grant system.
Hon Minister, you did not only misplace your pages during your speech today, but you also misplaced your efforts to assist South Africans that are in real need and that is a shame. Social development is about improving the well- being of every individual in our society so that they can reach their full potential. It is a shame that this ideal has been neglected by this government and by this hon Minister.
At the start of your speech, you said that, if we work together we will overcome this problem. That brings me to the question, why are you not working with us. Why are you not taking our advice? The few times when you did, it worked to the benefit of each South African in this country. I would urge you to do that more often ... help.
We want to assist you and every South African in this country to overcome this pandemic. Do not sideline us because it will be to everybody's benefit if you discuss this with us.
Numerous occasions during this pandemic called for the protection of both lives and livelihoods. I can assure you, Deputy Chairperson, that with this ANC government, none of these two important goals will be achieved. The DA can, therefore, not support this Budget. I thank you.
Mr M E NCHABELENG: Deputy Chair, hon members, I must say I am disappointed today, apart from the depressing news of us losing ex-combatants, we have just lost General Linus Dlamini, we lost the ambassador Dumi Matabane from Limpopo, and we have lost hon Mmola from the NCOP. These people I am talking about, Dlamini, Dumi ... and of course we have lost the commander of Umkhonto Wesizwe, Ntate Mlangeni, and that the dream of Mme Mmola was a dream that is shared by members of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence where she was serving, the commitment of silencing the guns on the African
continent, on the African continent, that dream we will be achieved as time goes.
I thought that all the parties that are in Parliament that all of us care about the plight of those who cannot fend for themselves. The plight of the weak, those who lost their jobs in this war against the pandemic and those children who lost their parents who were putting bread on the table for them. Those children will be destitute from now on. And I thought that these parties that claim to be representing the poor will at least support the budget that will give relief to the poorest of the poor. How do show that you care? You say that you care but you are not doing anything to show that care?
The only thing you do to show your caring is to oppose the budget.
I thought maybe if we are not supported, maybe at least you should come up with policy suggestions on how things are done. What I hear from the opposition is just a lot of complaints. I just want to ... that this budget, that the ANC supports, will help us in creating a functional, efficient and integrated social development sector. And I
want us to ... because this debate is also about policy, it is a policy debate and I want to do to sketch the context we find ourselves in this country.
The Constitution in section 27 provides for social security for all South Africans. This encompasses the social obligation of our post-1994 democratic dispensation in ensuring the dignity of all South Africans. The democratic dividend will only be attained when all the people are able to meet their basic needs.
The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the dire situation of food security in our country. Many of our people do not have enough to eat in this time of the pandemic. The unemployment rate of the country continues to increase and is expected to increase to above 50%. The economic recession will have a severe impact on our ability to meet social needs. The VAT increase has the capacity to further burden our social interventions.
Despite these global and domestic economic challenges, the ANC government continues to prioritise social security for the majority. The six-month intervention
support announced by the President is a welcome immediate intervention to alleviate poverty. At the dawn of political and social democracy, the ANC White Paper on Social Welfare of 1997 presented a strategic framework for an integrated social development sector. This sector was a key priority of the Reconstruction and Development Programme.
The White Paper has achieved progress today; the ANC government covers over 18 million grant recipients. This milestone is anchored by the need to ensure comprehensive social security for the vulnerable. Without these policy interventions, the vulnerable will not have protection.
The provision of basic needs of the people provides dignity and basic level security for the poor.
Social Development in its policy orientation provides the basics flow of benefits for the poorest. For the poorest, a ... [Inaudible.] through which no one was meant to fall. The National Development Plan places emphasis in a social protection function within social development. The success of a comprehensive social security system lies on
the ability to effectively develop systems and policies that ensure access and efficient distribution.
The pandemic has exposed the deep inequality and poverty in our country. It has tested the ability of the government to have rapid responses to dealing with the pandemic. In this regard, we commend the steady progress by the Department of Social Development in adapting and responding to the challenges. The pandemic has also exposed the rate of gender-based violence and femicide to which a national programme of action with the widest form of support from civil society and backed by state funding has begun.
Why are you not supporting this, EFF and the DA? And, of course, the Freedom Front Plus? I do not even expect them to, [Interjections.] It is expecting a lot from them. The Budget of February 2020 puts R1 billion into this programme, a demonstration of the seriousness of the ANC government.
The Adjustment Budget of the Department of Social Development is a response to the repositioning of
finances in response to the pandemic. This comes at a time when, since 2019, the Comprehensive Social Security Review began to articulate greater access to social security and the conducting of the feasibility of a basic income grant. This is not a new phenomenon and it was to be found in the 2002 Professor Taylor Commission Report into Comprehensive Social Security. I thought you will say something about that.
The current Comprehensive Social Security Review has consensus among stakeholders on the implementation of a social security flow to eradicate hunger and poverty. The Social Development Department has been able to develop a digital system during the pandemic to receive applications from distressed citizens. This department can now link with other databases from home affairs, SA Revenue Service, Sars, and the and the Persal system. Why did you do not say anything about this?
These interconnected systems introduce an efficient way of ensuring access to social security is broadened to enable universal access as envisaged by the White Paper. The department has improved the turnaround period of
evaluating applications from 21 days to 14 days. The digital system simplified the development of a database of citizens that require social relief. This system will bring much-needed efficiency in our social security systems of the department and the government as a whole. The Adjustment Budget mainly contains the reallocations to respond to the increase of the social grants as announced by the President and for the R350 Social Relief of Distress persons. This has led to an increase of
R40 billion on social grant payments.
Spending on grants is expected to continuously increase at 7% in the medium-term, as recommended by the Comprehensive Social Security Review. The department also appointed over 1 800 social workers for three months and responding to the global pandemic. Psychosocial support is one of the key interventions to mitigate trauma and social challenges people face.
The department will be supplying essential goods necessary to support basic health and hygiene practices in Early Childhood Development, ECD, sites. Early childhood development is one of the key stages of the
development of children and the department has sufficiently prepared for the reopening of the Early Childhood Development centres to ensure learning for our children.
The strategic plan of the department has not been amended, instead, additional indicators have been added, energy and activities that cannot be implemented in the midst of the pandemic will be withdrawn. The department has not been affected by a decrease in the adjusted appropriation, given its central role in the fight against the pandemic.
One of the factors that lead to gender-based violence and femicide in our society, is the abuse of drugs and alcohol. This was further demonstrated by the rapid increases in gender-based violence and femicide incidents spiralling during the period of the sale of alcohol in the Level 3 risk-adjusted period.
The department has developed a National Drug Master Plan 2019 to 2024 that was recently adopted by the Cabinet ... [Interjections.] Oh my God! In conclusion, as we continue
to fight the global pandemic of the coronavirus, we should ensure that even in the crisis, our government should be able to protect the most vulnerable. We pay our condolences to those who have lost their lives because of the corona pandemic and the related gender-based violence and femicide pandemic. The call is for all social partners to align their work and plans with the objectives of the social security sector social plan. The programme promises better protection and development for the most vulnerable. The ANC, as a caring organisation, supports this Adjusted Budget. Thanks, Deputy Chair. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Deputy Chairperson. May I, because of time, apologise, upfront that I would not be able to go to each response that was presented by the different members. But firstly, to thank the last speaker in particular, hon Nchabeleng, thank you, because he has gone into the details of what we are about as a department, firstly, but also to say that information that hon Nchabeleng was speaking on is public information. It is information for everybody to know what exactly we do as a department.
My second thanks go to all the MECs who participated today because they went into detail about some of the issues that I was unable to deal with here including issues of ECDs, issues of the National Development Agency, NDA, and so forth. I also want to thank other MECs who are not here because, I can tell you, we work very well with all the MECs through our Minmecs, through everything, we work very well and I wish to thank them and say to them, let us continue working with each other because, if we work, the way we are doing now, we will be able to take our country to the next level. I also, upfront, want to thank the department. Of course, I start with the Deputy Minister, who went into details in the areas particularly areas that she deals with, that is Deputy Minister, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu. I wish to thank the members of the Executive Committee of Social Development and in particular, the acting director- general who stepped in, the CEO of the SA Social Security Agency, Sassa, who I have already thanked.
The CEO of the NDA, I was not able to deal with the NDA issues that I can quickly just say that, you all know that the NDA is part and parcel of us and, therefore, the
transfers that we transfer to NDA, we work together to make sure that the budget transfer that we did, in this case, of R224,5 million, the NDA reprioritised an amount of R39 million from its allocation budget towards funding its COVID-19 priorities, part of which also was interesting is the fact that they have volunteers who are so needed by the different communities that we have.
And so I wish to thank the CEO and say, let us continue to work together. I also want to thank all the other members of the department and also to say, we are also struggling like everybody else. Many of our members are infected by COVID-19, and I want to thank them for stepping out and being out there to do the best that they can under trying circumstances. I want to say the volunteers have been instrumental in supporting the department’s community programme, and I am hopeful that these volunteers will work with other community leaders so that they can be able to expand their work. I wish to also thank, I wish to thank the SA Council for Social Services Professions, in particular, the registrar, Ms Langi Malamba because she and others work very well.
And at this point, all social workers across the Republic are important to us. I do wish to thank them and I want to also thank all other NGOs and NPOs and everybody who stepped up to assist us in ensuring that our work is further entrenched within our communities. Earlier on I did indicate that ... I thank the MECs because they cover the areas that I did not cover, the department itself, the ECDs, they covered that, gender-based violence, they covered that.
One of the areas that I need to talk about is with regard to partnerships, we believe we cannot work without partners like the Department of Social Development, and realise the benefits of the District-centred Development Model, for instance, that is linked to our portfolio approach.
Two weeks ago, the department signed a memorandum of understanding with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints. The church has donated more than R24 million to the department, this will be spent on procuring 20 000 food parcels, 2 000 baby packs. This will be distributed across the provinces to those in need and social
distress. So why I raise them here, because we know that if we work with others we can do better.
Lastly, as far as the other members who are talking about confusion in my department, I did not come here to fight with anybody, I did not come here to insult anybody, I came here to strictly say, I am presenting the work that we do as a department. And those who think that there is madness in my department, I do not know what they are talking about. There is no madness there. We are committed to the work that we do.
And, as for hon Bosman, I cannot have the provincial Sassa reporting for work done by national. If you want accountability though, you know where the processes are. You are right here at the National Council of Provinces. You should bring this matter here to the National Council of Provinces and national will respond to the issues that you were raising.
As for hon Willie Aucamp, I am happy that you are talking about something that I have been saying that social development is about improving the wellbeing of every
individual in society. Can you please make sure that you don't quote that out of context? I took it from Brunswick in what social development is and means in Canada because it speaks exactly to what we are. So, whenever you are quoting it, don’t lose sight, say that it comes from them. Otherwise, from the beginning, I said it ...
... ukuthi empini kuthiwa akuhlekwa. Ngoba-ke nabo bayasihlasela nami angisezanga ukuzohleka, ngizele ukuzobeka kahle ukuthi ...
... exactly what we are about as the Department of Social Development? Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you.
En die werk is verskriklik baie.
Continue the hard work. We appreciate you.
The Council adjourned at 17:24.