Questions and Replies

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02 April 2024 - NW662

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Arries, Ms LH to ask the Minister of Social Development

What (a) number of officials working at the SA Social Security Agency have been implicated in explicitly going against the procurement processes of the National Treasury in the past five years and (b) action has been taken against the implicated officials?

Reply:

a) Two (2). The cases relate to the procurement and/or management of office accommodation leases. Although there was no financial loss on the part of SASSA, the officials were found guilty of gross negligence for not renewing office accommodation leases on time.

b) The two (2) officials mentioned above were subsequently dismissed after due disciplinary processes were followed.

02 April 2024 - NW718

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Khakhau, Ms KL to ask the Minister of Social Development

Whether she will furnish Ms K L Khakhau with a (a) list and (b) full description of all events planned by her department to take place before 29 May 2024 in celebration of the 30 years of democracy in the Republic, including the (i) projected total cost or expenditure of each event and (ii) breakdown thereof in terms of expenditure for (aa) catering, (bb) entertainment, (cc) venue hire, (dd) transport and (ee) accommodation; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

The Honourable Member is advised to refer to the Department’s Annual Performance Plan (APP), which clearly outlines key activities for the financial year. The Department will continue with the commemoration of annual campaigns which are not confined to the celebration of 30 years of democracy.

02 April 2024 - NW61

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Masango, Ms B to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)Regarding the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) in Salvokop, Pretoria, and the alleged contractual dispute between her department and Brilliant Telecommunication (Brilliantel), what total number of (a) social workers and (b) call-centre operators were employed at the centre in each year since 1 January 2013 up to the latest specified date for which information is available; (2) what is the (a) total cost for victims of gender-based violence (GBV) to contact the centre and (b) breakdown of such costs to the victims of GBV; (3)(a) what are the full details of how the centre currently assists victims of GBV and (b) in what way has the standard operating procedure changed since Brilliantel took over the contract?

Reply:

 

1(a) As the Honourable Member is aware, the GBVCC only make use of the services of qualified social workers registered with the SA Council for Social Service Professions. At its inception, the GBVCC had 48 social work agents and 8 social work supervisors. This number has gradually reduced through natural attrition. Currently the GBVCC has 38 social work agents and 7 social work supervisors.

(b) Due to the sensitive nature of the GBVCC, the Department does not make use of call centre operators. The social work agents are supported by 4 Technical Shift Supervisors were employed who perform the task of a Workforce Planner and 4 Quality Assurance Managers to quality assure the work of the GBVCC. There is an onsite Systems Support Technician and there is a Call Centre support manager that supports the overall management of the GBVCC ensuring that oversees the management of all the various systems in the Call Centre including data management and system reporting.

2 (a) To ensure that members of the public can easily access services, the GBVCC uses a Toll-Free Number: 0800 428 428. (b) Information on cost to victims is not readily available.

3(a)(b) GBVCC provides 24/7 telephonic psychosocial support services, including trauma and counselling and referral services to survivors of gender-based violence. These may include a referral to social workers in the local area, SAPS for opening of a GBV case or protection order, health services or a shelter for survivors of GBV in the local area from where the client is calling.

 

 

19 March 2024 - NW347

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Khakhau, Ms KL to ask the Minister of Social Development

What are the full details of all (a) sponsorships, (b) donations and (c) financial transfers provided for lawfare and/or any other purposes to (i) her, (ii) her department and (iii) officials of her department by any (aa) Qatari, (bb) Iranian and/or (cc) Russian organ of state, organisation and/or resident since 1 January 2021 up to the latest date in 2024 for which information is available?

Reply:

(a) (b) (c) (i) (ii) (iii) (aa) (bb) (cc) None

19 March 2024 - NW63

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Masango, Ms B to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)What number of days constitute the period between (a) the date on which the SA Social Security Agency requests life status confirmations from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and (b) the date grant payments are made to grant beneficiaries once the DHA has confirmed life status; (2) whether she intends to take steps to shorten the time frame of confirming life status; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details in this regard?

Reply:

1. (a) As stated in my reply to Parliamentary Question 4207, SASSA works closely with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) on data validation and conducts monthly checks to confirm the life status of clients before a payment file is generated on a monthly basis.

b) The life status (proof of life) confirmation is sourced from DHA on the day that the payment file is generated. If proof of life is confirmed, payment is included in the payment file and effected for that month. Using February 2024 payment as an illustration, the process is as follows:

Step 1: On the third weekend of the month payment file is extracted (26-28 January 2024) – It must be noted that due to the controls and volumes of the payment file, the payment file is done over the weekend when there is no production work being processed.

Step 2: The payment file is quality assured and approved on Monday (29 January 2024)

Step 3: Tuesday (30 January 2024), SASSA sends payment file to Bankserv – Bankserv requires the payment file 2 days before payment date

Step 4: Thursday (1 February 2024) – is reserved for National Treasury administrative processes

Step 5: From Friday (2-5 February 2024) – Payment starts. If the 1st day of payment falls on a Monday, payment is moved to Tuesday to enable retailers and banks to ensure sufficient cash circulation within the industry. The 5-step process is necessary to ensure the right person is paid. It must be noted that the above will still not resolve the challenge of late death notifications by families to Home Affairs, which implications for SASSA.

19 March 2024 - NW608

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Khakhau, Ms KL to ask the Minister of Social Development

With reference to her reply to question 94 on 28 March 2023, what are the details of the (a) make, (b) model, (c) year of manufacture, (d) date of purchase and (e) purchase price paid for each vehicle purchased by her department for (i) her and (ii) the Deputy Minister since 8 May 2019?

Reply:

(a)(b)(c)(d)(e)(i)(ii) I refer the Honourable Member to my previous reply question (Question 94). Neither myself nor the Deputy Minister have purchased any new vehicles since the reply to Question 94.

19 March 2024 - NW539

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Arries, Ms LH to ask the Minister of Social Development

What total number of appeals regarding the Social Relief of Distress Grant (a) has her department received in the past two years and (b) still need to be finalised?

Reply:

a) As the Honourable Member is aware, social grants appeals are handled by the Independent Tribunal for Social Assistance Appeals. For the period in question, the Tribunal received a total of 23 939 400 appeals for the SRD Grant.

b) The above number is inclusive of 15 343 533 appeals received for the period 1 April 2022 – 31 March 2023 and 8 595 867 appeals received during the period 1 April 2023 – 31 December 2023. To date, the Tribunal has adjudicated and finalised a total of 23 298 222 SRD Grant appeals.

19 March 2024 - NW26

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1) What (a) number of deceased individuals continue to receive the monthly grants from the SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) in the (i) 2022-23 financial year and (ii) since 1 April 2023 and (b) is the breakdown of the monies that have been lost in each specified period; (2) (a) what number of government employees receive a social grant from SASSA, (b) what is the breakdown of the grants the specified employees collected since 1 January 2022 and (c) in which department is each employee who is receiving a grant employed?

Reply:

1. (a) As stated in my reply to Parliamentary Question 4207, SASSA works closely with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) on data validation and conducts monthly checks to confirm the life status of clients before a payment file is generated. SASSA does not knowingly pays social grants to deceased beneficiaries.

(i)(ii)(b) Please refer to my reply to Question 4207

2. It is important for the Honourable Member to note that all social grants, with the exception of Foster Child Grant, which is court issued, are means tested for eligibility. If a government employee decides to foster a child an apply for a Foster Child Grant and the court grant foster care place, the employee will be eligible for the Foster Care Grant.

It is also important for the Honourable Member to note some categories of government employees such as those recruited through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and internship programmes, most of whom are the groups appearing on the government database. These individuals would qualify to receive social grants, should they satisfy the eligibility criteria.

(b) The breakdown of grant types is as follows:

Grant Type

Number

Care dependency grant

61

Child Support Grant

3773

Disability Grant

3579

Older Person’s Grant

52 655

Grand Total

60 068

All of the above beneficiaries were identified through the AGSA audit process and they were subjected to a review process by SASSA. It was found that some of the employees receive social grants on behalf of someone in their care.

19 March 2024 - NW296

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Masango, Ms B to ask the Minister of Social Development

Whether she will furnish Ms B S Masango with (a) a list every SA Post Office (SAPO) payment point for SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) grants which will be closed, (b) the date of closure for each, (c) the number of SASSA grant recipients serviced at each Post Office and (d) the (i) relevant details of the nearest alternative payment points to each of the closed SAPO branches and (ii) distance in kilometres from the Post Office?

Reply:

a) Please refer to Annexure A for a list of every South Africa Post Office (SAPO) payment point that will be closed

b) Please refer to Annexure A for a list of every South Africa Post Office (SAPO) payment point closure dates

c) Please refer to Annexure B for the number of SASSA grant recipients serviced at each SAPO/Postbank

d) (i) and (ii) Please refer to Annexure C - for alternative payment points to each of the closed or will be closed SAPO branches and related kms

 

18 March 2024 - NW538

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Arries, Ms LH to ask the Minister of Social Development

What (a) security measures have been put in place to ensure that the Social Relief of Distress grant system is safe and not compromised by fraudulent persons and (b) are the relevant details in this regard?

Reply:

(a) As the Honourable Member is aware, the Special COVID-19 SRD Grant is a wholly digital and this exposes it to cybercrimes. To address this, SASSA has developed robust ICT capabilities to detect fraud and related activities. SASSA’s cyber-crime prevention and detection capacities include interfaces with other government departments and entities, including the Department of Home Affairs (National Population Register), PERSAL and the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF), SARS, Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) amongst others.

(b) Additional fraud detection and prevention measures include interfaces with banks who rely on the Financial Intelligence Centre for verification purposes. SASSA also uses the data of the South African Fraud Prevention Services (SAFPS) to stay abreast of those that have been identified as perpetrators of fraud or victims of fraud. These efforts strengthen SASSA’s ability to validate grant applications.

12 March 2024 - NW62

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Masango, Ms B to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)(a) What is the total number of victims of gender-based violence (GBV) who have been assisted in each of the years since the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) opened (b) how were the victims assisted; (2) what (a) due diligence was done regarding the (i) call-centre operators and (ii) adjudication of the tender and (b) measures have been put in place to assist victims of GBV while the alleged contractual dispute between her department and Brilliantel is being sorted out?

Reply:

(1)(a) GBV Command Centre Statistics Report: 01 November 2013 – 31 December 2023

Date

Telephone Calls Received

GBV victims assisted

01 JAN 2023 – 31 Dec 2023

65 311

5 845

01 JAN 2022 – 31 Dec 2022

40 700

3 086

01 JAN 2021 – 31 Dec 2021

65 490

5 036

01 JAN 2020 – 31 Dec 2020

136 940

5 954

01 JAN 2019 – 31 Dec 2019

59 800

1 955

01 JAN 2018 – 31 Dec 2018

64 680

3 015

01 JAN 2017 – 31 Dec 2017

12 020

4 048

01 JAN 2016 – 31 Dec 2016

71 040

1 816

01 JAN 2015 – 31 Dec 2015

64 820

2 214

01 JAN 2014 – 31 Dec 2014

7 607

940

01 NOV 2013 – 31 Dec 2013

1 997

325

TOTAL

590 405

34 234

(b)The GBV Command Centre is a call-centre service that can be contacted by anyone who need assistance with issues of GBV or any issue relating to abuse or threat to personal safety, at any time of the day (24/7) and throughout the year.

Since inception, the GBV Command Centre is managed by qualified social workers registered with the SA Council for Social Service Professions. Depending on the nature of the call, the client is referred to the relevant services, including Health, SAPS and local NGOs that provides shelters for survivors of GBV

(2)(a)(i) and(ii) The awarding of the tender followed the prescripts in terms of the Public Finance Management Act and its regulations. This included amongst others, a compulsory briefing, a 2-stage shortlisting, verification and recommendation of bidders consisting of the Bid Evaluation and Bid Adjudication Committees. This was further strengthened through a requirement of submission of verifiable project qualifications and skills of the respective Project leaders of each bidder, and the submission of verifiable, written references of past provision of services by the prospective service providers.

(b) The Department has established a Project Steering Committee that meets on a weekly basis to measure progress in the implementation and roll-out of the GBVCC project. This is further assisted by a weekly meeting between the Director-General and the CEO of Brilliantel to further measure progress and resolve, any outstanding contractual or project delivery matters.

12 March 2024 - NW487

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Arries, Ms LH to ask the Minister of Social Development

What total number of child support grants were suspended due to the banking details of the grant beneficiaries not corresponding with those in the SA Social Security Agency system from 1 April 2023 up to the latest specified date for which information is available?

Reply:

SASSA suspended 81 687 Child Support Grants since 1 April 2023 up to 31 January 2024.

These grants were suspended because the banking details of grant recipients captured on the SASSA database did not correspond with details captured by their respective banks, indicating possible changes in the clients’ records. The suspension was implemented as per the provision of Section 14(5) of the Social Assistance Act (Act No. 13 of 2004), which requires clients/beneficiaries to ensure that their records are accurate and updated with the Agency.

12 March 2024 - NW372

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Arries, Ms LH to ask the Minister of Social Development

What total number of SA Social Security Agency offices have (a) defaulted in rental payment and (b) been closed due to the non-payment of rent in the last two years?

Reply:

a) At the time of this response, I have not been informed of any cases anywhere in the country where SASSA has defaulted on rental payments.

b) Refer to (a). SASSA has a system in place to manage ahead of time all office rentals to ensure no offices are closed due to non-rental payments. Hence, there has been no closure of any leased offices in the last two years.

 

12 March 2024 - NW316

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Masango, Ms B to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)What (a) is the breakdown of the total number of complaints that SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) has received relating to the duplication of identity document (ID) numbers for each of the different grants including the Social Relief of Distress Grant for every year since 2020 and (b) was the outcome of these complaints; (2) How many of the lodged complaints were due to ID fraud by (a) public servants outside her department, (b) SASSA employees and (c) employee of her department; (3) What mechanisms have been put in place to combat fraud at her department and SASSA?

Reply:

The table below provides the number of official complaints received during the period 2020 until 2024; and the outcomes of the complaints.

Year

Number of complaints

Breakdown per grant type

Outcome

2020

106

Type of Grant

Number of Complaints

SRD

01

Care Dependency

00

CSG

14

FCG

00

DG

12

Grant in Aid

00

Older Persons

79

War Veterans

00

Finalised

Not

106

nil

2021

40

Type of Grant

Number of Complaints

SRD

00

Care Dependency

00

CSG

03

FCG

01

DG

13

Grant in Aid

00

Older Persons

23

War Veterans

00

Finalised

Not

40

nil

2022

119

Type of Grant

Number of Complaints

SRD

03

Care Dependency

00

CSG

10

FCG

00

DG

22

Grant in Aid

00

Older Persons

84

War Veterans

00

Finalised

Not

119

nil

2023

424

Type of Grant

Number of Complaints

SRD

262

Care Dependency

00

CSG

21

FCG

01

DG

32

Grant in Aid

00

Older Persons

108

War Veterans

00

Finalised

Not

409

15

2024

256

Type of Grant

Number of Complaints

SRD

414

Care Dependency

00

CSG

02

FCG

00

DG

08

Grant in Aid

00

Older Persons

31

War Veterans

00

Finalised

Not

252

4

(2) Thus far there’s no linkage of the lodged complaints on ID fraud with a) public servants outside the department, b) SASSA employees and c) employees of the department.

(3) The issue of “duplicate IDs” SASSA has identified two situations mainly affects older clients where two persons share the same ID number, unknowingly. These cases are not necessarily fraudulent, but in part the result of various legacy issues. Such matters are flagged and referred to the Department of Affairs for investigation and resolution.

(ii) Recently, the same issue of “duplicate IDs” is affecting those applying for the SRD grant. These are not necessarily duplicate IDs but some form of Identity theft. Fraudsters steal and use another person’s ID number and personal details to apply for the SRD grant; as well as open accounts with private banks, pretending to be the rightful owners of the ID.

When such cases are detected, SASSA will flag the applicant as fraudulent and require the applicant to provide a HANIS report to confirm their identity. SASSA is also implementing a system that will allow for these clients to digitally verify themselves through a facial recognition process. We however, cannot make the specific fraud prevention mechanisms public as this would weaken the mechanism and defeat their purpose. At high level, as part of the detective mechanism, we conduct compliance inspections and systems to detect any internal control deficiencies across the regions. As part of corrective mechanism, we conduct investigations and ensure that corrective measures are taken. Where necessary, members of the South African Police Service also assist in the investigation of fraud cases.

12 March 2024 - NW371

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Arries, Ms LH to ask the Minister of Social Development

With reference to the SA Social Security Agency office in Julius Tsolo Street, Khayelitsha in Cape Town, which has been closed since July 2022 due to renovations, (a) on what date will the renovations be completed (b) what are reasons that the renovations are taking so long to complete?

Reply:

a) It is important for the Honourable Member to note that SASSA is a tenant at the aforementioned premises that are owned by the Western Cape Provincial Department of Social Development. As the Honourable Member is aware, SASSA has temporarily relocated to Kuyasa Library to ensure continued service to the people of Khayelitsha.

SASSA is also working with local community-based organisations such as Khayelitsha Development Forum and Freedom To The Forgotten to find a long-lasting solution on this matter. In addition, SASSA has made an application to the City of Cape Town for the permanent use of the Kuyasa Library.

b) Refer to (a)

 

12 March 2024 - NW160

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Smalle, Mr JF to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)With reference to her reply to question 4207 on 2 January 2024, during what period of the month does her department update information received from the Department of Home Affairs; (2) with regard to overpayments made to SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) beneficiaries, what (a) is the total number of beneficiaries who received two and/or more wrongful SASSA grant allocations and (b) was the total monetary value in the (i) 2020-21, (ii) 2021-22, (iii) 2022-23 financial years and (iv) since 1 April 2023?

Reply:

(1) As stated in my reply to Parliamentary Question 4207, SASSA works closely with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) on data validation and conducts monthly checks to confirm the life status of clients before a payment is generated. Payment is effected for clients who are confirmed to be alive, as per validation outcome.

The life status (proof of life) confirmation is sourced from DHA on the day that the payment file is created. If proof of life is confirmed, payment is included in the payment file and effected for that month. As soon as SASSA receives notice of death from DHA, payment is immediately cancelled and not included in the payment file for that month.

It is important for the Honourable Member to note that social grants payments are effected upon confirmation of proof of life by the Department responsible for this function, which is the DHA. It is incorrect to insinuate that SASSA knowingly pays social grants to deceased beneficiaries.

The activities and the period between payment extraction and payment date can be outlined as below: Using February 2024 payment as example:

  • Fourth weekend of the month payment file is extracted (26-28 January 2024) – It must be noted that due to the controls and volumes of the payment file, the payment file is done over a weekend when there is no production work being processed.
  • Payment file QA and approval on Monday (29 January 2024).

(2) It will be appreciated if the Honourable can clarify this question because SASSA does not have the data readily available.

12 March 2024 - NW139

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Masango, Ms B to ask the Minister of Social Development

What portion of the amounts of (a)(i) R59 256 000 and (ii) R50 372 000 in the 202122 and 2022-23 financial years, respectively, has been recovered and (b) R31 928 000 has been recovered since 1 April 2023, where the SA Social Security Agency erroneously paid grants to deceased beneficiaries?

Reply:

a) (i0(ii)(iii) The reply to Question 4207, was for total grant overpayments of Post Bank clients. Data related to payments and debts, including recoveries, is housed on two different systems, and requires an extensive cross referencing of the two data sets to answer the question in its current form. This will also require remapping of data across multiple years.

With regard to recoveries, refer to the table below:

FY 2021-2022

FY 2022-2023

FY 2023-2024

R10,826,491.53

R17,900,226.07

R20,001,986.99

12 March 2024 - NW5

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Herron, Mr BN to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)With reference to her reply to question 4207 on 2 January 2024, what (a) total amount is owed to the State as a result of unrecovered grants from the SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) paid to beneficiaries who were deceased at the time of the payment and (b) portion of the specified amount has SASSA found to still be recoverable; (2) whether she has found that SASSA and/or her department will be able to identify, what (a) total amount and/or (b) portion of the specified amount referred to is being held in the private bank accounts of deceased beneficiaries; if not, what is the position in each case; if so, what are the relevant details in each case; (3) as SASSA is a registered creditor of the deceased estate, what total amount is recoverable in cases where the (a) estate has been reported to the Master of the High Court and (b) grant payment of the deceased beneficiary had been accessed by using the SASSA-issued card; (4) whether she has found that SASSA and/or her department will be able to, without being a creditor to a deceased estate, recover grant payments paid to deceased beneficiaries via SASSA cards; if not, what steps will be taken to recover such funding; if so, in what way?

Reply:

(1) (a) Information provided to Question 4207, was for grant overpayments to Post Bank clients. Over the last three years grant overpayments to deceased Post Bank clients were as follows:

    • 2021/2022 = R59 256 000
    • 2022/2023 = R50 372 000
    • 2023/2024 = R31 928 000

SASSA does not have data on other Banks readily available to provide statistics as requested above. A special script is required to extract the required data; which takes time to develop, execute and analyse for accuracy and to ensure this part of the question is responded to adequately.

(b) Considering that the above-mentioned grant overpayments were made to the most vulnerable members of society, SASSA’s ability to recover debt might be expensive than the debt itself. However, I must point out that each debt, irrespective of the amount, remains “recoverable “until it is s written off.

There are a number of questions and factors that can be considered when dealing with deceased grant beneficiaries to whom a grant was paid before SASSA received a notice of death from Home Affairs:

  • Would it be economical to invest all the resources required to recoup a debt for one-month payment made to a deceased grant beneficiary?
  • Does the deceased have an estate or the value of the estate is so small to claim against such that the full value of the grant may not be recovered?
  • Would recovery cause undue hardship to his or her dependents?

(2) (a) and (b) Information on private bank accounts, such as balances within those accounts, is confidential information, to which SASSA dos not have access.

(3) (a) SASSA is not currently a registered creditor to any deceased estate. There is currently no system interface between SASSA and the Office of the Master of the High Court. When death occurs, the majority of Social Grant beneficiaries’ families make no effort to wind up an estate with the Office of the Master of the High Court (estates between R125,000 and R250,000) or with the Magistrates Office (estates below R125,000) as required by law. Therefore, if no “case file” is created no-one can register as a Creditor.

(b) All debts are considered “recoverable”, until National Treasury approves the write off. Hence the full amount referenced above is considered recoverable until this process is completed.

(4) It’s important to note that for the SASSA cards, funds are paid into a bank account at Postbank, which is governed by the same laws as any other bank account. SASSA with the assistance of National Treasury is investigating the possibility of all banks to return balances remaining in social grant beneficiary’s bank as a result of grants not withdrawn back to government. The technicalities and implications of this proposal are still under discussion.

02 January 2024 - NW3611

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

Whether she has been informed that a group of almost 50 nonprofit organisations (NPOs) in KwaZulu-Natal have launched an online petition to protest the ongoing late and/or nonpayment of subsidies from her department, with some organisations struggling since 2022 to get regular payments; if not, what steps will she take to investigate the issue and set things right; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

Yes, the issue was on the agenda of the MINMEC meeting held on 5 December 2023 and was discussed at length with all MECs. The meeting to discuss and find long term solution is scheduled for early next year with the KZN Provincial Department of Social Development. The meeting will address issues that are a challenge for both parties. All the NPOs that have signed the Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the Department have been paid their subsidies as in December 2023.

02 January 2024 - NW3521

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

In view of the KwaZulu-Natal nonprofit organisations network reporting that over 47 welfare organisations, 1 714 staff and approximately 422 826 grant recipients, including children, older persons, and individuals with disabilities, were directly impacted by late payment of subsidies as at 10 October 2023, what (a) measures are being taken by her department to ensure that such life-saving organisations receive their subsidies on time, (b) on what date will the unpaid subsidies from (i) August 2023, (ii) September 2023 and (iii) October 2023 be paid to organisations and (c) are the full relevant details in this regard?

Reply:

a) The Department has implemented new funding model with effect from October 2023. The new funding model entails paying NPOs in tranches on a quarterly basis. The tranche will be paid in April, July, September and January each financial year. This will ensure timeous payment of subsidies to NPOs

b) 

  1. Subsidies for August 2023 were paid in full on 06 October 2023;
  2. Most of NPOs have been paid subsidies for September, October and November 2023. The remaining unpaid NPOs will be paid on 2 November 2023.
  3. October is included on the New Funding Model, final payment will be made on 2 November 2023.

c) There were delays in payment of subsidies due to cash blocking resulting from budget cuts. The funds are allocated by Provincial Treasury on monthly basis. The department does not have enough cash to pay for its contractual obligations and operational costs.

The department has requested funds for NPO subsidies to be allocated quarterly in order to pay NPOs in tranches to avoid late payments. The tranche payment to NPOs will be paid in April, July, September and January each year. The first tranche for 2023/24 has been effected in October 2023 and the next one will be in January 2024.

02 January 2024 - NW3827

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

With reference to her department’s offices in KwaZulu-Natal that are currently experiencing a shortfall in funds that has resulted in the department’s petrol cards being blocked, thereby preventing the delivery of essential services, what (a) is the current state of the finances of her department’s offices in KwaZuluNatal, (b) interventions and/or assistance has she given to her department’s offices in KwaZuluNatal, considering that they are paying non-profit organisations late due to financial challenges and (c) total number of social workers were negatively impacted by the blocking of the petrol cards?

Reply:

  1. The question relates to the operations of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Department of Social Development, which is under the political oversight of the MEC of Social Development. As reported in several meetings of the Portfolio Committee, the National Treasury is implementing budget cuts across all government departments, including provincial departments of Social Development.

02 January 2024 - NW4154

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

In light of the fact that the website of her department lists a number of contactable options (details furnished) for victims of gender-based violence (GBV), what number of (a) calls were received and answered, (b) please-call-me notifications were received and in return received a call, (c) Skype calls and messages were received and responded to and (d) SMSs were received and responded to; (2) what number of (a)(i) GBV cases were referred to social workers and (ii) the specified cases have been resolved successfully and (b) how did the call centre of her department assist with resolving the cases in the past 12-months?

Reply:

Below is the statistical information on the contactable options for victim of Gender Based Violence:

a) Calls received

Date

Telephone Calls Received

01 November 2022 – 31 October 2023

54 398

b) Please-call-me notifications received

Date

Please-call-me Notifications Received

01 November 2022 – 31 October 2023

0

The Department of Social Development appointed a new service provider for the GBV Command Centre who started 01 November 2023. During that transition phase, certain channels for example SMS, USSD, Skype and Webpage were not fully operational hence, some of the statistical information on these channels for that period are not available.

c) Skype Calls Received and responded to

Date

Skype Calls Received

Skype Responded to

01 November 2022 – 31 October 2023

10

09

In addition, the following email/website requests were received and responded to for the same period:

Date

Email/Website Requests

01 November 2022 – 31 October 2023

572

(a)(i) GBV cases that were referred to Social Workers

The GBVCC Social Service Professionals conducted telephonic referrals to various stakeholders at an estimation of 1059 cases in the past 12 months. The Social Workers also conducted 496 written referrals to Social Workers in the different provinces.

ii) Below are the specified cases that have been resolved successfully

Over 1000 cases were resolved successfully based on follow ups conducted by Social Workers and Supervisors on all referred cases.

(b) The GBV Command Centre assist with GBV cases as they provide psychosocial services and support to victims telephonically in terms containment, emotional support, dealing and management of trauma as well as counselling. The Social Service Professionals are working closely with different stakeholders such as SA Police Service, National Prosecution Authority and the Department of Justice. The GBV Command Centre ensures that victims are promptly connected with relevant stakeholders in cases of emergency. They activate the SA Police Service to dispatch a vehicle to the scene immediately to ensure the victim is assisted in a domestic situation. Furthermore, the GBVCC Social Service Professionals will then make the necessary follow up with SAPS as well as the victim within a period of 30 minutes to ascertain that the victim is indeed receiving the required assistance.

02 January 2024 - NW4155

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)Whether her department monitors all the listed Gender-Based Violence (GBV) contact channels 24/7; if not, why not; (2) Whether the reported GBV matters are referred to SA Police Service or any other agencies; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (3) Who is responsible for manning the GBV channels for each contact line; (4) What are the relevant (a) job descriptions and (b) qualifications of the persons who respond to the GBV contacts?

Reply:

(1) Yes, the Department monitors the GBV Command Centre on a daily basis through social workers and social work supervisors. The Technical Shift Supervisor performs at least one test per shift per channel to test that the channel is active, monitored and promptly responded to. In addition, the Quality Assurers of the GBV Command Centre provide quality assurance as part of monitoring and improving the times in which these channels are responded to.

(2) Depending on the nature of the call, the callers are referred for various services, including the SA Police Service, Civil Society Organizations including GBV Shelters in cases of domestic violence and rape. They are further referred to both Government and Non-governmental organisation (NGOs) i.e. the Department of Justice for protection orders, Department of Health for injuries and NGOs such as Family and Marriage Society of SA (FAMSA), Lifeline for face-to-face counselling on family preservations. The GBV Command Centre also refers cases to the Local DSD offices through the provincial offices.

(3) The GBV Command Centre is managed by qualified Social Workers and Social Work Supervisors with the support of Technical Shift Supervisors in terms of testing and ensuring that all the channels are fully operational.

(4) (a) Please see below attached annexure A on the three Job Descriptions as per the Occupation Specific Dispensation (Social Auxiliary Worker, Social Worker and Social Work Supervisor).

(4) (b) The qualifications are BA Social Work or Bachelor of Social Science in Social

Work for Social Workers and Social Work Supervisors; and a Certificate in

Social Auxiliary Work for Social Auxiliary Workers.

02 January 2024 - NW4207

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Smalle, Mr JF to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)What systems are in place to verify and prohibit deceased SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) grant recipients or card holders from getting paid; (2) whether there have been instances where deceased SASSA grant recipients were paid; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what (a) (i) total number of such recipients were wrongly paid in the past three years and (ii) steps were taken to recoup the funds and (b) is the monetary value of such payments in each of the past three years?

Reply:

1. SASSA works closely with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) on deceased data validation and conducts monthly checks to confirm the life status of beneficiaries before a payment is generated. Payment is effected to beneficiaries who are confirmed to be alive, as per validation outcomes.

(2) Yes, there are instances where deceased social grant recipients have been wrongly paid. This happens when a grant beneficiary dies after proof of life is confirmed by DHA and when the payment run is released to the beneficiary’s bank account.

(a) The numbers of such social grant recipients in the past three years are as follows:

(i) 2021/2022 = 32920

2022/2023 = 26512

2023/2024 = 15204

(ii) To prevent the withdrawal of social grant monies, SASSA freezes the accounts of the deceased beneficiaries through Post Bank and follows up with a letter to the next of kin to return the money to SASSA. Where a withdrawal has already taken place, a SASSA debt recovery process is followed.

b) The monetary value of such payments in each of the past three years is as follows:

2021/2022 = R59 256 000

2022/2023 = R50 372 000

2023/2024 = R31 928 000

02 January 2024 - NW4156

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)With reference to her department’s Ten Point Plan which represents the priorities to be addressed by the social development sector during the period 2000 to 2005, what are the reasons that the outdated Plan is still displayed on the official website; (2) which of the ten priority points are still applicable to her department’s work; (3) in light of the tenth point which refers to training, educating, re-deployment and employment of a new category of workers in social development, how many social workers have been trained and employed by her department each year since 2000?

Reply:

(1) The 10 Point Plan was introduced in the year 2000 and was well encapsulated in the 2000-2005 Strategic Plan of the Department. The Ten Point Plan was published on the DSD homepage and is still there even today. Since these are public documents, the Department of Social Development took a conscious decision to retain archived documents on its home page in line with the Public Access to Information Act for easy access by the public for purposes of research and general information.

In terms DPME Framework for Strategic Planning and Annual Performance Plans, strategic priorities are reviewed on a medium-term basis, every 5 years, in line with the dispensation of the government administration. Therefore, the strategic priorities have been revised in line with the National Development Plan (NDP) and the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF).

(2) The Ten-Point Plan is still relevant to the work of the Department and have since been institutionalised to inform the Programmes and the structure of the Department. The plan still forms part of our Departmental mandate and still finds expression in the strategic documents such as the APP, and through the key outcomes for the 2019-2024 MTSF. The key outcomes are:

  • Outcome 1: Reduced levels of poverty, inequality, vulnerability, and social ills
  • Outcome 2: Empowered, resilient individuals, families, and sustainable communities
  • Outcome 3: Functional, efficient, and integrated sector

(3) The Recruitment and Retention Strategy for Social Workers, which includes the Social Work Scholarship Programme was introduced in 2007. Since then, the Department recruited, trained and appointed 8 821 social work graduates. Since the 2018/2019 financial year, the Department has been experiencing capacity challenges to absorb all social work graduates due to budgetary constraints.

As a result, our country faces the paradox of social work graduates unemployment co-existing with major social ills in many communities. To address this challenge, the Department is working jointly with other key departments in the sector on Sector Strategy for Employment of Social Service Professionals as guided by the National Development Plan, which puts the figure at 55 000 social service professionals.

07 December 2023 - NW4020

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

Given that this department and the 4th Central Drug Authority hosted the 3rd National Summit on Substance Abuse and Illicit Trafficking from 14 to 16 November 2023 in Gauteng, what (a) was the outcome of the specified summit and (b) are the full, relevant details of the planned initiatives to fight the substance abuse crisis in the Republic?

Reply:

(a) Outcomes of the CDA 3rd National Summit on Substance Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

a) The 3rd National Summit hosted by the CDA was preceded by provincial dialogues and culminated into the adoption of resolutions to address the problem of alcohol and drugs misuse, and illicit trafficking.

b) The main aim of the Summit was not to come up with new plans, but to expedite the implementation of the key priorities and the 7 Goals of the National Drug Master Plan (2019-2024). The full report and programme of action will be submitted to the Portfolio Committee in due course for oversight purposes.

07 December 2023 - NW3609

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

What steps has she taken to ensure that (a) her department plays an effective oversight role over the SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) as it continues to pay people who are not eligible for a grant and (b) SASSA pays (i) eligible grant recipients on time and (ii) only persons who are eligible to receive a grant?

Reply:

a) In fulfilment of the responsibility to oversee SASSA’s management, administration and payment of social assistance, the Department has put systems and structures in place at different levels and there are regular engagements between the two entities to continuously monitor payment of social grants.

The following are some of the key oversight initiatives by the Department:

  • The Department has initiated the establishment of a Social Assistance Service Delivery Assurance Committee (SASDAC) comprising of senior officials from both DSD and SASSA and formalised through the terms of reference duly signed by accounting officers of both institutions (the Director- General and the Chief Executive Officer). The committee meets bi-monthly amongst other things the committee monitors compliance with social assistance legislation, service delivery norms and standards and deliberates on service delivery related challenges, with the intent to improve service delivery. The key focus areas include access to social assistance, spending in accordance to voted funds, service delivery quality and business processes. Since its establishment in the 2nd quarter FY23/23 two meetings have already been held.
  • The Department also conducts oversight visits at SASSA local offices, SAPO branches and cash pay points, to monitor compliance with legislation, as well as norms and standards. For this financial year, visits have been conducted to four Provinces namely North-West, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Western Cape.
  • The Inspectorate for Social Assistance also conducts financial and compliance audits on the integrity of the social assistance frameworks and systems at SASSA. Reports are subsequently shared with SASSA and the Department and presented to the Audit Committee.
  • The Agency also submits quarterly performance reports to the Department. The reports and other management issues are subsequently analysed and discussed at the Entity Oversight forum which is led by the Department on a quarterly basis.

(i) On a month-to-month basis, DSD ensures that a payment schedule is uploaded and payments are authorised well in advance. SASSA pays the grants directly into the bank accounts of eligible beneficiaries, every month without fail. Where incorrect payments are made it is sometimes as a result of instances where beneficiaries’ circumstances have changed and SASSA is not notified in time or the databases that are relied upon are not updated in time.

(ii) The error rate of grant approvals remains very low, as can be seen by the low number of appeals that get upheld; as well as research that indicates that South Africa has one of best targeted systems in the world. SASSA also implements stringent background checks on applicants when they apply as well as regular reviews while they are accessing the grant. However, there will always be applicants who attempt to defraud the Agency, or client who do not update their records when their circumstances change. These remain a small group of clients. SASSA has a relatively strong Fraud unit aimed at deterring such behaviour.

The Inspectorate for Social Assistance also conducts audits aimed at identifying any weaknesses in the systems that may expose SASSA to fraud.

 

 

07 December 2023 - NW3967

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

Whether, since her reply to a supplementary question on question 129 for oral reply on 8 March 2023, wherein she acknowledged, after having been alerted by a certain political party (name furnished) to the fact that very few telephone lines of the SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) are working in most provinces, that SASSA had some challenges and that systems needed to be fixed to avoid long queues, any action has been taken to improve the accessibility of SASSA; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details of the steps that have been taken in this regard?

Reply:

Yes, SASSA offices have undergone infrastructure upgrades to improve services. SASSA has a national toll-free number for the public to contact the Agency for any social grants related enquiries. SASSA has dedicated employees to receive and deal with public enquiries on the Toll Free: 0800 60 1011.

This is complemented by the national e-mail address for the public to contact the Agency for queries: [email protected]. There are SASSA employees dedicated to receive and respond to the public via this platform. For the younger generation SASSA also features on social media where members of the public can engage SASSA:

  • Twitter: @OfficialSASSA
  • Facebook: SASSA News and #SASSACARES

07 December 2023 - NW3969

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Singh, Mr N to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)With reference to the recent reports that the local office of the SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) in Chatsworth in KwaZuluNatal has been declared unsafe for occupation and will be closed until further notice, (a) how did the situation (i) leading to the closure unfold and (ii) reach a point where closure was deemed necessary and (b) what (i) form of inspection and/or maintenance was conducted to ensure the safety of the specified premises and (ii) oversight mechanisms were in place; (2) what (a) immediate measures are being (i) implemented to reopen the specified facilities, (ii) taken to address the safety concerns and (iii) introduced to facilitate the speedy reopening of the facilities and (b) is the timeline for the reopening of the facilities; (3) in light of the unfortunate incident, what preventative measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of other SASSA local offices in the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality region?

Reply:

1(a)

(i0 SASSA KZN Region has been the occupant of the Chatsworth building since April 2006 in a shared services arrangement with the Department of Social Development (DSD), with DSD being the primary contract holder with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure. After the departure of DSD from the premises, SASSA started experiencing glitches with the building maintenance as KZN Provincial Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (PDPWI) stopped maintaining the building on the basis that their tenant (DSD) had vacated the facility.

When it became apparent that PDWI would not provide maintenance services, SASSA attempted to address the issues they were experiencing by requesting for quotations to possibly manage the challenges but found the costs were prohibitive.

The next option was to approach National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (NDPWI) to take over the responsibility of the building. When an assessment was done on the state of the building by both NDWI and the Depart of Labour they both declared the building unfit for occupation as it had deteriorated to a point that it did not meet occupational and health standards.

(ii) Both NDWI and the Department of Labour declared the building unfit and unsafe for occupation after Occupational Health Safety (OHS) inspections were conducted leading to the declaration and the office being vacated.

(b)

(i) To ensure the safety of the specified premises, quarterly committee meetings between SASSA OHS and Durban District are held since 2017

(ii) As part of the oversight, a cost was established to correct the maintenance issues raised, but these costs were more than what the Agency could afford. NDWI was approached to take over the premises, however, upon inspection of the building by their OHS inspectors it was found that the building was no longer fit for purpose.

2. (a)

(i) NDPWI has taken over the Chatsworth building, and according to NDPWI the building has been prioritised for rehabilitation in its 2023/2024 financial year with their professional teams working on this project.

(ii) It is expected the rehabilitation of the building in the care of NDPWI will comply with OHS occupational requirements, norms and standards, and other property legislation applicable.

(iii) According to NDPWI, they have prioritised funding for the rehabilitation of the building in its 2023/2024 financial year budget with their professional teams working on this project.

b. According to NDPWI, rehabilitating the property will commence in January 2024. We recommend the MP engages NPDWI directly on the rehabilitation project plan and timeframe to re-open the building.

3. To ensure the safety of other SASSA local offices in the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality region, SASSA has taken the following preventative measures;

  • The more recent lease agreements entered into by SASSA directly with the Metropolitan Municipality include maintenance.
  • There are existing offices wherein SASSA has shared services costs with DSD KZN, with these SASSA is in the process of finalising a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on shared office service costs that includes maintenance, payment of utilities and other running costs related to each facility where such an arrangement exists.
  • All NDPWI contracts have been standardised to include a maintenance plan for the duration of a lease period. The NDPWI has since appointed an official from SASSA to form part of the Bids Specification and Evaluation Committees to represent SASSA’s interests to ensure that buildings selected meet the safety requirements.

27 November 2023 - NW3450

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Abrahams, Ms ALA to ask the Minister of Social Development

With regard to the child support top-up grant which was introduced to address the foster care grant backlog crisis, what (a) is the current foster care grant backlog in each province, in comparison to June 2022, when the top-up grant was implemented, (b) has been the monthly uptake of the top-up grant in each province since implementation and (c) are the reasons that the (i) relatives of orphans are still choosing the court process to obtain a foster care grant instead of the top-up grant and (ii) SA Social Security Agency does not include the top-up grant reporting in its Monitoring and Evaluation: Fifth Statistical Report 2023/4: Social Assistance for the period April 2023?

Reply:

a) Current foster care grant backlog per province compared to June 2022

REGION

2019 & Prior Years

2020

2021

2022

2023

EC

165

522

1525

720

3118

FS

14

4

26

40

458

GP

942

704

1124

1244

1778

KZN

49

26

127

224

1351

LP

801

618

921

944

1114

MP

32

150

165

82

206

NC

1

2

3

23

122

NW

7

5

8

18

425

WC

62

75

154

267

1549

TOTAL

2073

2106

4053

3562

10121

b) Top-up grant monthly uptake per Province

REGION

Jun 2022

Jul 2022

Aug 2022

Sep 2022

Oct 2022

Nov 2022

Dec 2022

Jan 2023

Feb 2023

Mar 2023

Apr 2023

May 2023

June 2023

July 2023

Aug 2023

Sep 2023

EC

306

1,249

2,711

4,072

5,314

6,153

6,825

7,388

8,167

8,764

9,274

10,046

10,751

11,341

12,108

12,715

FS

100

392

910

1,210

1,535

1,734

1,949

2,148

2,338

2,569

2,721

2,996

3,306

3,584

3,875

4,172

GP

239

579

1,339

1,843

2,578

3,097

3,578

4,049

4,508

4,939

5,265

5,732

6,154

6,460

6,900

7,281

KZN

458

1,228

2,602

3,717

3,717

5,386

6,046

6,378

6,925

7,438

7,798

8,282

8,602

8,959

9,476

9,873

LP

227

633

1,733

2,347

3,007

3,388

3,901

4,243

4,665

5,073

5,405

5,724

6,030

6,268

6,522

6,855

MP

119

283

712

1,084

1,591

1,803

2,080

2,382

2,659

2,989

3,229

3,628

3,973

4,258

4,533

4,779

NC

71

199

379

565

702

754

861

965

1,078

1,213

1,290

1,399

1,504

1,597

1,674

1,764

NW

64

249

550

894

1,289

1,499

1,716

1,931

2,191

2,432

2,617

2,904

3,178

3,373

3,590

3,767

WC

64

206

492

754

955

1,158

1,362

1,492

1,741

1,999

2,150

2,426

2,654

2,790

3,000

3,246

TOTAL

1,648

5,018

11,428

16,486

20,688

24,972

28,318

30,976

34,272

37,416

39,749

43,137

46,152

48,630

51,678

54,452

c) (i) The Children’s Act has been amended to allow relatives of orphaned children to refer this category of children for Child support grant (CGS) Top-Up grant. However, the regulations are not yet gazetted for implementation as a result Social Workers (legally) are still referring relatives of orphaned children to the Foster Care system.

It should be noted that the Department of Social Development and South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) are continuously conducting educational roadshows, stakeholder and public education about the Child Support Top - Up, including the eligibility criteria. We therefore believe that overtime, there will be tangible movement.

(ii) The Child Support Top-Up Grant is included in the report. The data is on page 45, table 27 of the attached report.

27 November 2023 - NW3451

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Abrahams, Ms ALA to ask the Minister of Social Development

With reference to her reply to question 1 840 on 15 June 2023, what are the reasons that the applications from 71 314 young adults who aged out of the child support grant and applied for the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress grant of R350 were declined?

Reply:

As the Honourable Member is aware, all applications for the COVID-19 SRD Grant are subjected to a means test, without any exceptions. The SRD Grant is targeted at the poor and the unemployed living below the food poverty line of R624. I take it that the Honourable Member is familiar with the eligibility criteria, which was published in the Government Gazette.

The fact that one has applied does not mean that they are automatically eligible. Vigorous checks, including bank validation and income conducted are conducted against various databases such as the Unemployment Insurance Fund to avoid double dipping and to ensure only eligible applicants receive the money.

There are various reasons as to why applications are declined or deemed not eligible, including the ones mentioned in the table below:

TABLE 1: REASONS FOR DECLINING COVID-19 SRD TO YOUNG ADULTS WHO AGED OUT OF THE CSG.

27 November 2023 - NW3829

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)Whether she has been informed of the appalling conditions at the Ikhwezi Lokusa Special School and the mistreatment of learners at the school in the Eastern Cape; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what plans has she put in place to remedy the situation; (2) (a) how often do officials of her department visit special schools to ensure that basic norms and standards are maintained and (b) what are the full relevant details of the visits to the (i) specified school and (ii) other special schools in the Republic; (3) what (a) actions had her department taken in 2018 when the school was in the news for the inhumane treatment of learners, (b) total number of teachers were disciplined and (c) are the relevant details of the disciplinary processes that were activated?

Reply:

1. Yes, the Provincial MEC of Social Development informed me of the situation and measures taken to deal with it to date. The matter relates to allegations of sexual assault of one of the learners by the Boarding Master on 21 May 2023. The Local, District and Provincial DSD Offices conducted a fact finding visit to the school and provided appropriate support. Following the report by the School, Social Service Practitioners (Social Worker and the Child and Youth Care Worker), the following interventions were performed as mandated by the Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:

-Empowered the Social Service Practitioners about the implementation of Section 125 of the Children’s Act No.38 of 2005 (Screening of educators and support staff against Part B of the National Child Protection Register);

-Telephone interviews were conducted with the school principal following up on the reported matter;

-The child in question interviewed and provided with psycho-social support.

-Engagements were held with school Social Service Practitioners (SSP’s) to give them support on steps to be followed in attending the case; and

-Referral to SAPS for police to open a case of sexual assault.

2. (a) The Department does not have regulations that guide the monitoring of special schools, including boarding hostels. The Norms and Standards: Partial Care; norm 12, subsection 1, paragraph C, regulates partial care facilities, as per the Children’s Act 38/2005 as amended, Chapter 5, section 87. A partial care facility is defined as a private hostel. This does not include boarding schools run by the Department of Basic Education.

(b) DSD participates in the Integrated School Health Programme. Currently, and due to lack of personnel, the Department provides services on a need basis. For example, Ikhwezi Lokusa Special School was visited on 08 August 2023 by the Social Worker, on 11 August 2023 by Local, District and Provincial Offices and on 06 September 2023 by the Local, District, Provincial Office and MEC for Social Development. Social workers at special schools are under the employ of the Department of Basic Education. Social Development provides support to special schools through awareness campaigns, psychosocial support, school uniforms and dignity packs for learners in need.

Social Development intends to roll out social behaviour programmes to special schools such as You Only Live Once (YOLO), Zazi and Chommy. The Provincial MEC has been in the forefront of efforts to ensure that the learner gets support and justice. Because of her efforts, the alleged perpetrator has been denied bail and is still in custody.

3. Refer to (1) (2) The role of Social Development is to ensure the protection of the learner from secondary victimisation. It is important for the Honourable Member to note that the alleged perpetrator is in the employ of the Department of Basic Education. Issues relating to disciplinary process are therefore the responsibility of the Department of Basic Education and the South African Council for Educators.

27 November 2023 - NW3949

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Khakhau, Ms KL to ask the Minister of Social Development

Whether (a) she, (b) the Deputy Minister and (c) any other official in her department attended the Rugby World Cup final in France in October 2023; if not; what is the position in this regard; if so, what (i) are the relevant details of each person in her department who attended the Rugby World Cup, (ii) is the total number of such persons and (iii) were the total costs of (aa) travel, (bb) accommodation and (cc) any other related costs that were incurred by her department as a result of the trip(s)?

Reply:

(a) (b) (c) (i) (ii) (iii) (aa) (bb) (cc) Not applicable to Social Development.

27 November 2023 - NW3580

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Herron, Mr BN to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)Whether, considering that about 250 persons from Hopefield are unable to get to the SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) office in Vredenburg (details furnished), and noting that they also have no guarantee of being assisted as they need to make an appointment to go to the SASSA office (details furnished), SASSA has a policy regarding site visits and/or pop-up satellite stations to take services to the communities who have difficulty in accessing the SASSA offices; if not, why not; if so, what is the criteria for requesting such a service in an area which is not accessible to the community; (2) given that the specified persons from Hopefield have difficulty in accessing the in-services, how will the SASSA office make provision for such persons to obtain the proper advice and/or services in their communities; (3) whether she and/or her department intends to assist the residents in Hopefield who have switched to bank accounts, but have not received their grant payments and are unable to travel to the nearest SASSA office; if not; why not; if so, by what date?

Reply:

BACKGROUND

The Saldanha Bay Municipality has a population of 154 635 according to Census 2022 spread over eight major towns where SASSA office was rendering its services. Prior to the onset of COVID-19, the office had 10 Grant Administrators- split into two teams to service the Vredenburg Office and linked service points. Over the past two years, the Vredenburg Office lost a total of fourteen officials due to various reasons. Unfortunately, the National Treasury placed a moratorium on the filling of vacant positions, which resulted in the closure of the office.

After noticing the growing number of applicants, SASSA decided to re-open the service point on an appointment basis, which has proven to be an effective way.

1. The SASSA policy norms and standards defines access to a service point to be within a 25-kilometre radius. To cater for the needs of the community, SASSA has negotiated with the Saldanha Bay Municipality to allow clients to utilise the Hopefield Thusong Centre to access the SASSA online application system free of charge with the assistance of the centre manager.

SASSA also does conduct home visits for frail/ sick clients who cannot access the offices. A request is generally made through the local office.

2. The Hopefield Thusong Centre serves as an access point where clients have access to use the SASSA online application free of charge. The Centre Manager also facilities the online application for clients who are not computer literate.

3.Beneficiaries in Hopefield who have switched to other banks but have not yet received their payments can still access their social grants using their Postbank card. SASSA has made arrangements for officials to visit Thusong Centre on 20 November 2023 to solve beneficiary concerns. Regarding beneficiaries who want to change to other banks, forms will be made available on the same day.

24 November 2023 - NW3146

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Abrahams, Ms ALA to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)What are the reasons that district surgeons are used in KwaZulu-Natal and not in other provinces; (2) what are the reasons that assessment doctors have not submitted their invoices for payment in the Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape provinces?

Reply:

1. SASSA utilises medical practitioners in the employ of the Department of Health doctors who were previously referred to as District Surgeon in all the provinces. While other provinces have changed the title, it is still being used in some provinces, but basically refers to same. There is no different arrangement for KZN. The medical practitioners conduct social assistance assessments.

2. According to our records, there are no outstanding invoices or outstanding payments for medical practitioners in any of the SASSA regions. Where such exists, it is because some medical practitioners prefer to submit their combined monthly invoices (that cover a number of months) for a bigger claim amount. On a continuous basis, SASSA encourages timely submission of invoices by doctors. All invoices that have been submitted have been processed.

24 November 2023 - NW3453

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Masango, Ms B to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)Considering that the strike by workers from the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) is seemingly having a direct and dire effect on the SA Social Security (SASSA) grant payment system, what (a) role does SITA employees play in the SASSA social grant payment environment and (b) is the scope of the role played by SITA in the payment of SASSA grants; (2) what (a) preparations have (i) SASSA and (ii) her department put in place should the specified strike continue and (b) measures have (i) SASSA and (ii) her department implemented to ensure that grant payments continue without disruptions; (3) what steps has her department taken to reduce the dependency on other government agencies and/or departments to protect the poor and vulnerable?

Reply:

1(a) The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) plays a very crucial role in the payment of social grants. Key amongst others, SASSA has contracted SITA to provide Social Pensions System (SOCPEN) application maintenance; SOCPEN functional support; SOCPEN mainframe hosting; geographical information services (GIS) support; Basic Accounting System (BAS); and PERSAL (Government employee Personal and Salary System) mainframe hosting project. These services directly impact SASSA’s ability to manage the administration and payment of social grants.

(b) Refer to A.

(2) (a)(i)(ii)(b)(i)(ii) SASSA had proactively engaged with SITA to ensure that social grants payments are not adversely affected by the strike action. In turn, SITA assured SASSA in a formal letter of its mitigation plans and business continuity in case they were unable to dissuade the participation of key personnel in the strike.

SASSA had also put in place contingency plans to ensure the administration and payment of social grants were not disrupted during the strike action. These would have included executing jobs that enable bank accounts verification and updating records prior to payment; extracting the payment file as per predetermined validation and Bankserv format, routing files to National Treasury (PERSAL) for routing to Bankserv and routing cash book files to National Treasury (PMG) for funding purposes.

(3) SASSA is in the process of drafting its requirements for supply chain procurement processes to source a service provider to replace SOCPEN. The replacement will ensure that SASSA opt for a standard modern technology and in a long run drastically reduce dependency on SITA. It is anticipated the transition will be phased-in over a 3-year project.

SASSA is also engaged in a Business Process Reengineering (BPR) project of which one of its aims is ensuring that the IT environment is resourced through a hybrid model (partially outsourced/ insourced/co-sourced) therefore reducing more technical dependence on SITA. Additional measures include the implementation of online application channel as an additional option for new applications and change of circumstances processing, thereby enabling activation of another channel should the accessibility to SOCPEN have been affected by the strike. This channel is not dependent on SOCPEN.

24 November 2023 - NW3413

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Nolutshungu, Ms N to ask the Minister of Social Development

Whether her department has put in place specific measure to address the problem of long queues for social grants in SA Post Office branches, specifically in the Mbizana Post Office, where it is alleged that grant beneficiaries wait in queues for almost seven days; if not, why not; if so, what specific measures has her department put in place?

Reply:

SA Post does not only process social grants but other payments, including stipends for Expanded Public Works Programme. The long queues that the Honourable Members refers to people at Mbizana Post office were made up of EPWP workers.

With regard to Mbizana, all SASSA payments were completed successfully within three (3) days at the Love Life Hall in Bizana from 3-5 October 2023.

 

24 November 2023 - NW3406

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Arries, Ms LH to ask the Minister of Social Development

(a) What total number of senior managers have been on acting appointments for the past two years in (i) her department, (ii) the SA Social Security Agency and (iii) the National Development Agency and (b) by what date will all the specified positions be filled on a permanent basis?

Reply:

(a)

DSD (i)

SASSA (ii)

NDA (iii)

 

9 senior managers were appointed to act in vacant position in terms of the Public Service Regulations

 

There were forty (40) acting appointments at Senior Management level at the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) over the past two years.

 

 

The following positions have had acting appointments within the past 2 years:

 

  1. Chief Executive Officer
  2. Company Secretary

 

(b)

 

1.Director-General: Social Development

2.Chief Financial Officer

3.Deputy Director-General: Welfare Services

4.Deputy Director-General:  Strategy and Organisational Transformation

 

The four vacant SMS posts have been job evaluated as per the DPSA prescripts and will be advertised and filled before the end of the current financial year.

 

The filling of the remaining five (5) SMS positions will be informed by the finalisation of the organizational structure and based on available budget for Compensation of Employees

The status with regard to acting appointments and or permanent appointments at the Senior Management System (SMS)category is as follows:

 

  • Twenty-three (23) positions have been filled;
  • Seventeen (17) positions remain vacant of which five (5) of these positions are prioritised for filling by 31 March 2024;
  • There are currently four (4) acting appointments and due to budgetary constraints and cost containment measures re-emphasized by National Treasury, in the current financial year (23/2024 FY);
  • Twelve (12) of these positions are not prioritized for filling in this financial year therefore, acting appointments have been terminated.

 

 

 

The positions are to be filled on a permanent basis on the following dates:

 

  1. Chief Executive Officer – interviews finalised and Cabinet Memo en route for Cabinet approval
  2. Company Secretary post is now filled

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 November 2023 - NW3397

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Marais, Ms P to ask the Minister of Social Development

What (a) are the reasons she and/or her department is removing baby savers, which have been a successful method of saving the lives of new-borns and (b) interventions will replace the system as the department has in the past failed to intervene?

Reply:

a) There are no legislative provisions for baby savers that mandates their existence in the Children’s Act which already has adequate child protection measures to care and protect abandoned children. Baby savers encourages child abandonment which is a criminal offence, and a person who abandons a child after birth may be charged and prosecuted.

The practice encourages infant abandonment; promotes the birth mother relinquishing her parental responsibility with no consequences, silences the voice of the father who also has a parental responsibility as well as the family of the baby, robbing the child of a right to a name, identity as enshrined in the Constitution.

b) Temporary safe care, child and youth care centres and adoption interventions are available as per the provision of the Children’s Act (Act No. 38 of 2005). The Act provides for the placement of abandoned children in temporary safe care pending further investigation and final placement through children’s court proceedings.

24 November 2023 - NW3393

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

In light of the report from the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town, titled Reducing Child Poverty: A review of child poverty and the value of the child support grant that she received on 5 October 2023, which provides detailed information on how to end child food poverty in the Republic, as well as options to increase the current grant, what are the detailed timelines that she has put in place for the implementation of the recommendations of the report, noting that she is allegedly on record saying the report will not gather dust?

Reply:

It is important for the Honourable Member to note that the report in question was commissioned by the Department of Social Development. It is for this reason that the d findings and recommendations of the report have already been put to good use to inform the Draft Policy on social assistance for children, which is currently in the initial policy development stages.

The Department is planning to develop an action plan to implement the recommendations of the study.

24 November 2023 - NW3394

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)Whether, in light of the fact that the pressing issue of unsafe abandonment of infants and the need for baby savers that are also known as haven boxes, which is intended to save lives and prevent babies from being abandoned in drains, open fields and/or rubbish bins, her department has (a) declared the haven boxes as illegal and (b) called on all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) offering the service to cease immediately; if not, what is the position in each case; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) whether the discussion around baby savers is no longer on the table; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (3) whether her department will ensure that the Gauteng Department of Social Development withdraws its decision to declare the haven boxes as illegal to ensure that babies are not abandoned in unsafe spaces but are allowed to be safely handed over through the life-saving interventions; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

1. (a) Yes, baby savers are illegal as they constitute a criminal offence in terms of the Children’s Act (Act No. 38 of 2005). Baby savers are regarded as an act of child abandonment and neglect as per the provision of Section 110 of the Children’s Act.

(b) Organisations that promote the use of the so-called baby savers contravenes the Children’s Act, which is the principal law in terms of the promotion and protection of children’s rights.

2. The issue of baby savers should not be seen in isolation from all other important issues aimed at strengthening child protection measures that were considered during the public hearings on the Children’s Amendment Bill. The Act makes provision for alternative care for children in need of care and support, and baby savers are currently one of those.

3. The Gauteng Provincial Department of Social Development bound by the same Act—the Children’s Act, according to which baby savers are a form of child abandonment and neglect.

24 November 2023 - NW3107

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

What (a) total amount in Rand of the social relief of distress grants has been returned to the National Treasury in the past financial year and (b) are the reasons that monies meant to alleviate distress did not reach beneficiaries?

Reply:

a) An amount of R4.3 billion was returned to the National Treasury due to the lower than expected up take of the SRD Grant.

b) All applicants for the SRD Grant are assessed on a monthly basis. When their financial situation improves and no longer meet the eligibility criteria or they voluntarily stop applying for the grant, there are significant savings on the fiscus. On average, SASSA pays the SRD Grant to over 8, 5 million eligible applicants every month.

 

16 November 2023 - NW3704

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Stock, Mr D to ask the Minister of Social Development

What (a) different funding models are being explored to fund the Basic Income Grant that has the potential to reduce the Republic’s poverty, unemployment and inequality scales, despite the concerns about its funding and (b) are the advantages and disadvantages of each funding model that is being explored?

Reply:

The key funding options that have been proposed for funding the basic income grant are through an increase in taxation, reallocation of current budget allocations or through borrowing.

The borrowing option has the advantage that it would provide additional funding without a need for budget reprioritisation or tax increases. However, this would be expensive for the country as it would increase the country’s debt burden and also increase the already very high interest payments which are already one of the biggest spending items in our government expenditure, which could crowd out other important spending priorities of government.

A second alternative would be a reprioritisation of current budget allocations. This would have the advantage of shifting funds from some government expenditures which are less effective and/or efficient, and redirect it to the urgent needs of the poor. However, such a reprioritisation would be very complex and difficult to implement quickly, since some projects would require significant time and careful planning to wind down without negative unintended consequences.

The tax options considered include wealth taxes, removal of tax expenditure subsidies, increases in the Value Added Tax (VAT) or personal income tax. The advantage of the VAT is that it would be a broad-based tax which enables government to collect sufficient revenue to fully fund the grant, which would be fairly easy to introduce and collect. The disadvantage, however, is that this would be regressive in that the poor would pay the same as the rich. Such an approach would negate the motivation for the grant as the poor would in effect pay proportionally more than the rich because VAT is a flat rate for everyone.

The wealth tax, on the other hand has the advantage of being quite progressive as it would target the rich only. The disadvantage however is that it could result in significant tax avoidance and thus result in inconsistent revenue on a year to year basis as the wealthy find ways to avoid it.

The tax expenditure subsidies on retirement savings were also considered as a possibility. The advantage of this is that, in addition to providing new tax revenue, it would create greater equity in the tax system by reducing support which is currently benefitting high income earners. However, the disadvantage is that it is difficult to quantify and would be unreliable as the only source of revenue, and may result in disincentivising retirement savings among some high-income earners.

The Personal Income Tax (PIT)approach has the advantage of being a more progressive tax which would take a greater contribution from the high-income earners than the lower income earners, thus ensuring a more sustainable revenue source. It is also more reliable than the other tax approaches, thus ensuring sustainable funding in the long term. The additional advantage of using the PIT to finance the grant would also improve the income inequality in our country, as the poor would receive an increase in their income while the rich would have a reduction based on the increase in the tax rate that they have to pay.

 

16 November 2023 - NW3689

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

What steps has she taken to ensure that she and/or her department protects vulnerable beneficiaries of SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) grants against the persistent system struggles and challenges at SASSA?

Reply:

The Postbank has confirmed to SASSA that all system glitches have been resolved as demonstrated in the recent payment run that went unhindered. Postbank also communicated the following to SASSA as remedial action they have taken to prevent future glitches:

  • Enhanced monitoring mechanisms to track the payment process in real-time.
  • Strengthened their technical infrastructure to handle higher transaction volumes, ensuring swift and uninterrupted disbursements.
  • Engaged specialists for a comprehensive review of their system and to continuously rectify any vulnerabilities.

16 November 2023 - NW3692

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Arries, Ms LH to ask the Minister of Social Development

What are the reasons that the R 6 billion rand that was underspent by her department and subsequently sent to the Department of Defence was not utilised to appoint unemployed social workers?

Reply:

The National Department of Social Development reflected an underspending of R 6.1 billion for the 2022/23 financial year. The main underspending was reflected in the Social Assistance Programme (Social Grants Budgets). R 4.3 billion of this amount is related to the SRD R 350 grant.

During the 2022 Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) in September 2022, an amount of R 755.303 million was approved by Parliament to be shifted from the National Department of Social Development to the Department of Defence for extended deployment as part of Operation Vikela in Mozambique.

The Department has requested the National Treasury to re-utilize any savings from social grants for poverty alleviation strategies in the social sector. This request was however not granted, and Parliament has re-allocated savings on social grants to other government pressures.

16 November 2023 - NW3691

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Arries, Ms LH to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)By what date is it envisaged that the current vacant positions of senior managers in her department will be filled; (2) whether there are any persons acting in the vacant senior positions; if not, why not; if so, what are the reasons that the positions have not been filled with full-time staff immediately when they became vacant?

Reply:

1. The Department envisages to fill these key Management positions by 31 March 2024.

The Department of Social Development has twenty-two (22) vacant posts in the Senior Management Service (SMS) level.

There are six senior management posts that are at various stages of the recruitment and selection processes – advertising, screening, shortlisting, interviews, and appointments.

The remaining sixteen (16) SMS positions are being considered in line with the re-alignment of the organization structure, cost containment measures and availability of budget.

2. The Department of Social Development has appointed officials to act in various vacant and funded SMS posts.

There are various reasons for not filling the posts immediately when they became vacant, and these include the cost containment measures, the continued reduction of the compensation budget, the funding of the wage agreement from departmental budgets, and the recent DPSA directive on the filling of posts.

16 November 2023 - NW3690

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Social Development

What steps has her department taken to significantly reduce the number of more than 1000 babies that are reportedly abandoned annually?

Reply:

1. (a) In response to steps taken by the department to significantly reduce the number of child abandonment annually, it is important to clarify that there are no records of 1000 babies abandoned annually recorded in the National Child Protection Register (CPR) which is a legislated register to keep records of child abuse cases including abandonment. The Department notes with concern the number of abandoned babies indicated in statistics that are not reported taken to CPR. The discrepancy in reporting could be attributed to low reporting to CPR.

(b) The steps taken by the department to address child abandonment are as follows

(i) The Department of Social Development in partnership with the Department of Health and Education conducts implementing Integrated School Health Programme conducts education and awareness on sexual and reproductive health rights including dealing with unwanted pregnancy.

(ii) Lifeskills programmes are conducted addressing teenage pregnancies.

(iii) Education and awareness also conducted through media campaign and community dialogues educating communities about available alternative care options and support for parents in distress, education about risks and dangers of child abandonment.

(iv) Isiqalo Program directed to vulnerable pregnant girls/women focussing on life skills, improvement of maternal health, baby care information, prevention of child abuse and reduction of child mortality.

(v) Flourish programme, a national network of antenatal and postnatal classes (10 weeks) that support, celebrate and empower mothers through the critical first 1000 days of a child’s life.

(vi) Sinovuyo Teenagers parenting programme as well as prevention and early intervention parenting skills development programmes to build capacity of parents to care for their children.

(vii) Promotion of adoption services and capacity building of social workers in the Department of Health, empowering them to provide the right information about adoption to birth mothers in order to prevent abandonment of children by the mother of a new born baby including cases when mothers are unable to care for their babies.

(viii) Work in partnership with stakeholders such as the South African Police Service, Department of Health, Department of Education, Faith Based Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations in the awareness campaign on challenges of child abandonment, empowering mothers with information on how they can safely relinquish their children within the child protection system.

(ix) Conduct holiday programmes through funded implementing partners, empowering communities and parents how to keep children and babies in a safe environment.

(x) Deploying Social Workers and Social Auxiliary Workers at borders over the festive period to ensure that children, inclusive of babies, who may be abandoned during the festive period, are receiving the necessary psychosocial services and are placed in a place of safety accordingly.

16 November 2023 - NW3706

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Manganye, Ms J to ask the Minister of Social Development

(a) How effective has the Community-Based Prevention and Early Intervention Programme been in identifying and removing children from vulnerable environments and (b) what is the ratio of identified vulnerable children to the number of available professionals providing social services?

Reply:

a) The Community-Based Prevention and Early Intervention Programme is effective as the programme is designed in a manner that facilitates early identification of vulnerable children through home visits conducted by auxiliary child and youth care workers who uses the assessment tool (Ungubani) that has seven domains to identify the level of risk a vulnerable children is exposed to. Upon identification of risks, the child(ren) are referred to drop-in centres where interventions informed by the seven domains of the programme are rendered to children and their families for purposes of building their resilience. Schools also act as referral point to Social Workers and Drop-in centres through the implementation of Integrated School Health Programme. Drop-in centres which are access points for the community-based prevention and early intervention programme provides psychosocial support and educational support to improve academic performance and this has been demonstrated by the improved academic performance including matric results. Children are encouraged to remain in school until matric, and those who continue with tertiary education are also supported. The effectiveness of the programme is also demonstrated in the implementation of prevention and early intervention services directed towards individual family members, improving interpersonal relationship, whilst building resilience of children and families. The programme has reached 222 152 by the end of the second quarter of 2023/2024 Financial Year.

b) According to the Guidelines for Community -Based Prevention and Early Intervention Services to Vulnerable Children, the ratio for identified vulnerable children to number of available professionals is as follows:

1:47 for qualified Auxiliary Child and Youth Care Workers; and

1:24 for learner Child and Youth Care Workers.

 

16 November 2023 - NW3705

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Bilankulu, Ms NK to ask the Minister of Social Development

What are the details of (a) the progress her department has made in assisting persons who were affected by the Eastern Cape and Western Cape floods and (b) her department’s social protection plan to assist persons affected by natural disasters in the future, as the country and world face frequent natural disasters which threaten to reverse the gains her department has achieved in supporting the poor and vulnerable?

Reply:

Eastern and Western Cape

DSD

a)

1. The core mandate of the department is to render psychosocial support services through its cadre of professions to victims of disasters. This service continues to be available to those who need it and its availability was communicated at the Provincial Disaster Management Centre meetings where all Heads of Centres of the respective District Municipal Disaster Management Centres are in attendance.

2 The role of DSD in the response to a disaster is to coordinate own services in the form of psycho-social services and access facilitation to humanitarian relief to the affected communities.

In this regard DSD did the following:

  1. The Red Cross Society of South Africa was identified by DSD as a collection and distribution point for donations due to their experience in responding to disasters.
  2. Vodacom worked with Gift of the Givers to provide relief in areas identified by DSD through the Joint Operations Committee (JOC).
  3. DSD linked Heal Our Land with the Cape Winelands and Overberg District Municipalities to support with the humanitarian relief response. Heal Our Land is still busy with providing relief in some areas within the Overberg Municipal area.
  4. In the Metro, several humanitarian relief organisations provided support to the affected communities in collaboration with the City of Cape Town Disaster and Risk Management Centre.
  5. The WeLoveUFoundation has also come on board and is willing to provide support in any identified area. DSD is working with the City of Cape Town (COCT) to identify an area where support is required. WeLoveUFoundation prefers to work within a metropolitan area oppose to a rural area.
  6. The following Municipalities - Cape Winelands District Municipality, Overberg District Municipality and the City of Cape Town arranged with numerous Humanitarian Relief Organisations to provide hot meals and other nutrition as required to the affected communities within their area of operation.

The department continues to work collaboratively with all strategic partners and stakeholders to mitigate against the social vulnerabilities heaped upon the poorest of the poor resultant from the flood disaster.

b) The Department’s future social protection plan for vulnerable persons affected by disasters is to continue to work collaboratively with municipalities, community representatives and other stakeholders to identify hot spots for disasters. The whole of society and the whole of government approaches need to be engaged to raise awareness and caution vulnerable groups from illegally erecting informal structures in swamp, wetlands and/or low-lying areas. The Department works with all municipalities and stakeholders to development and implement the annual summer/winter readiness plans.

The Department will continue to establish and monitor the existing humanitarian social relief work-streams in the metro and rural municipalities as part of its preparedness and response mitigation plans.

The department will also continue to provide capacity building and education to internal staff and stakeholders on the DSD Social Relief Plan, Protocols and SOP’s that are in place.

The Department will also continue to provide psycho-social support to the vulnerable individuals affected by the disaster and where appropriate, refer affected and vulnerable individual to our sister departments and relevant stakeholders for material support and other needed services.

SASSA

a)

SASSA provides Social Relief of Distress to any person in need of immediate relief, as per Social Assistance Act 13 of 2004 (Section 13), together with Regulations 11, 16, 17, 18 and 19

The form of relief can be meals, thick foam sponges, blankets, vanity packs, baby pack, school uniforms, and or cash voucher as prescribed and approved by the Agency provided the affected persons meet the qualifying criteria.

The relief provided is on a short-term basis to persons affected by a disaster, declared or undeclared.

Declared disasters:

  • A person may qualify for Social Relief of Distress if that household has been affected by a disaster as defined in the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act 57 of 2002).
  • The value of social relief of distress paid to a person as a result of a disaster may not be recovered from any social grant payment, including an arrear payment.
  • A list of persons or households affected by a disaster as verified by the Provincial or Local Disaster Management Response Unit will be regarded as the final list for the provision of immediate humanitarian relief.

Undeclared disaster:

  • A person may qualify for Social Relief of Distress if that household has been affected by a disaster incident.
  • A list of households affected by a disaster as verified by the provincial or local office of the Agency will be regarded as the final list of those who are affected for the purpose of disbursing Social Relief of Distress.

The below table depicts the number of people affected by floods in the Eastern and Western Cape and related costs dispersed in the 2023/2024 financial year.

Provinces

No. of people affected

Expenditure FY23/24

Eastern Cape

5,317

R2,446,125.00

Western Cape

16,611

R19,075 581.00

TOTAL

21,928

R21, 521,706.00

It must be noted the Social Relief of Disaster (SRD) response depends on the availability of funds. Further to that, assistance is discretionary.

b) DSD is in the process of drafting a National Disaster Framework which will incorporate, Disaster Preparedness, Response, Recovery and Rehabilitation processes. DSD is also working with NDMC to finalise the process of Disaster Funding Institutional Arrangement which will assist departments to access funding in the event of a disaster.

This will ensure that DSD has access to the much needed funds during disasters to effectively respond and assist the most vulnerable and poor people in the society.

 

23 October 2023 - NW3067

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Abrahams, Ms ALA to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)With reference to her reply to question 1231 on 20 April 2023, what (a) is the remuneration of each doctor contracted for each assessment for (i) temporary and (ii) permanent disability assessments and (b) number of clients is an assessment doctor contracted to assess in a (i) day, (ii) week and (iii) month; (2) whether all assessment doctors throughout the Republic are remunerated at the same Rand value; if not, what are the various categories of remuneration in each province; if so, what are the relevant details; (3) what are the qualifications, skills and years of experience required to be an assessment doctor?

Reply:

1. (a) (i)(ii) The current rate is R169,68 per each assessment, which is the same for disability-related grants.

It is important for the Honourable Member to note that the achievement of the targets is dependent on availability of the assessor and space at the health facility where assessments are to be conducted.

(b) The targeted number of assessments per day is 40

(ii) 200

(iii) 800

2. The assessment current rate of R169, 68 is uniform across the country.

3. MBCHB qualification from a recognised institution, registration with HPCSA plus 2 years post registration as a medical officer. Privately contracted doctors and doctors in the employ of the state are also allowed to undertake social assistance work in the internship programme.