ATC140313: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on the Oversight visit to Gauteng Department of Social Development, South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) Regional Office, SASSA SERVICE Area and the National Development Agency (NDA) projects, dated 05 February 2014

Social Development


1. Introduction

The Portfolio Committee on Social Development conducted an oversight visit on 29 July – 02 August 2013 to the Gauteng provincial Department of Social Development (DSD), South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) regional office and its service area in Maponya Mall, old age home, child and youth care centre, family preservation programme, victim empowerment programme and the National Development Agency (NDA) projects. The oversight visit formed part of the Committee’s method of work as stated in its Five Year Strategic Plan: 2009-2014.

The Committee resolved that its method of work for this Parliamentary term would be more action orientated. It planned to conduct oversight visits that are well informed and respond to the needs of the society and ensure that the executive is accountable to their needs. The Committee thus resolved to conduct oversight to all the nine provinces in the country during its term of office. The Gauteng was the sixth province to be visited by the Committee. [1]

1.1 Objectives of the oversight visit

One objective of the oversight visit was to assess the performance of the provincial Department of Social Development, SASSA and the NDA. The oversight visit particularly focused on the alignment of the provincial department and SASSA’s performance to the strategic priorities and policies set by the national department in line with the 2013 State of the Nation Address. These included r ecognising education as an apex priority, job creation, fight against violence on women and children and against corruption. The DSD contributes towards recognising education as an apex priority through the implementation of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme. The ECD programme is critical in the context of children’s development and preparation for basic education.

Another objective of the visit was to evaluate the implementation of the Older Persons Act, Children’s Act and the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act by visiting old age homes, children’s home, child and youth care centre and the rehabilitation centre. It wanted to assess and evaluate the extent to which these facilities adhere to the policy and legislative stipulations.

The Committee also wanted to assess the performance of the regional SASSA and the NDA. Of particular interest to the Committee was to get progress made on the standardization of SASSA processes, roll out of biometric system to the retail sector and staff and progress made on the upgrade of the local offices.

Regarding the performance of the NDA, the Committee wanted to assess the successes or the impact the NDA funded projects have had on the lives of the beneficiaries, particularly in the eradication of poverty and job creation. The Committee aimed to visit food security and youth skills development projects.

2. Delegation

Members of Parliament

Hon Botha ,Y R ANC ( Chairperson )

Hon Khumalo , F ANC

Hon Mafolo M V ANC

Hon Magagula , V V ANC

Hon Xaba , PP ANC

Hon Waters M DA

Hon Gcume, N P COPE

Hon Bhoola R MF

Hon Makhuba, H N IFP

Parliamentary staff

Ms Ntsabo L Committee Secretary

Ms Nogenga Y Content Adviser

Ms Koyana S Researcher

Ms Mnyovu N Committee Assistant

3. Briefing at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature

3.1 Opening remarks by the MEC

In her opening remarks, the MEC, Ms Mayathula-Khoza , expressed her appreciation to the Committee for visiting the Gauteng province as this was in line with keeping the principle of inter-governmental relations in a democratic society. She reported that the department was continuing to improve ECD and provide access to the ECD services to children aged 0-5 years as a way of contributing towards the attainment of Government’s Outcome 1 of providing quality education. It will also contribute towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal 2.

To achieve Government’s Outcome 2 to provide a long and healthy life for all South Africans, the department’s output was to provide an integrated substance abuse prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services to 379 044 recipients in the 2013/2014 financial year . The MEC stated that about 15% of South African youths were susceptible to drug abuse. Alcohol remains the primary substance abuse in many communities and it causes the greatest harm and leads to secondary risks such as injury, premature non-natural deaths and alcohol syndrome. To curb this scourge the department was implementing an integrated Anti-substance abuse strategy to reduce or eliminate the incidence of substance abuse in the province. The strategy involved school holiday initiatives and the ‘ Ke Moja ’ Drug Prevention Programme.

The department had convened a summit to find ways to address the classification of nyaope as an illegal drug. The department and the stakeholders had resolved to lobby for the strengthening of law enforcement efforts to reduce access to this drug and other drugs. To ensure that criminal justice system becomes an effective deterrent for offenders through harsher punishment of drug-related offences. To establish a technical committee to pursue the classification of nyaope as an illegal drug and to conduct a research study on nyaope to establish the extent of the problem associated with this drug and its impact on communities and standardize treatment regimes at all treatment centres.

With regard to achieving Outcome 3 to ensure that all people in South Africa are and feel safe, the department aimed to provide an integrated care and services to older persons. The MEC pointed out that older persons were vulnerable to various forms of abuse inflicted to them by the younger generation and from opportunistic diseases associated with old age. The department supported no fewer than 74 luncheon clubs for older persons managed by NPOs and funded several NPOs to provide services to older persons.

With regard to achieving Outcome 4, which advocated for an integrated childcare and protection services for children, the department implemented a number of interventions focusing on the prevention of child abuse and neglect as well as child trafficking. During the 2013/2014 financial year the department provided funding to 106 Child and Youth Care Centres (CYCCs) and it would cater for a total of 6 275 children in need of care and protection.

The MEC also reported on the integrated victim empowerment services for victims of domestic violence wherein she informed the members that the department was intensifying the implementation of Victim Empowerment Programmes. The department was using an inter-sectoral and inter-departmental approach which was based on building and maintaining partnerships between the government and NPOs, media, volunteers, academics and research institutions as well as communities.

3.2 Remarks by the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Hon Y R Botha

Hon Botha explained that the purpose of the oversight visit was to assess performance of the department in delivering services and meeting its strategic plan and objectives in line with the priorities set by the national Department of Social Development. The visit afforded the Committee an opportunity to identify challenges and areas of intervention. The Committee then forwards these to the Minister of Social Development for her intervention. She explained that social development is the crucial service which helps people face daily challenges with dignity. Therefore, the Committee’s oversight programme was essential in ensuring that the Department of Social Development and its entities fulfil their constitutional mandates. Also, it afforded the Committee an opportunity to assess the level of intergovernmental relations between the national and provincial departments. She undertook that the Committee would provide the provincial legislature with the copy of its oversight report. Also, the resident members (Hon Waters, Hon Makhuba and Hon Xaba ) would do a follow up on the recommendations made by the Committee. These members would make follow ups with the MEC and the provincial Portfolio Committee on Social Development. Then they would report back to the national Portfolio Committee on Social Development.

3.3 Presentation by the Provincial Department of Social Development on service delivery

Ms S Tshabalala , the Head of the Department, informed the delegation that the presentation would provide an overview of the departmental outcome plans and goals for 2013/2014 financial year. She reported that the department had set three strategic outcome orientated goals, namely:

· Goal 1 was to have the department’s human capital management and development improved from adequate to good by 2014;

· Goal 2 was to provide efficient and effective integrated welfare services to 879 846 service recipients including children, older persons, persons with disabilities and women by 2014/2015 financial year; and

· Goal 3 was to provide an efficient and effective community development and youth services to 424 493 sustainable livelihoods beneficiaries and 31 834 youth within communities.

To achieve Goal 2, the department set the following strategic objectives for the year under review (2013/2014):

(i) to have an integrated substance abuse prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services to 379 044 recipients;

(ii) to integrate care and services to 34 230 older persons ;

(iii) to integrate crime prevention and support services to 72 804 adults and children in conflict with the law;

(iv) to integrate services to 15 221 persons with disabilities;

(v) to provide an integrated child care and protection services to 126 818 children;

(vi) to integrate victim empowerment services to 57 101 victims of domestic violence;

(vii) to c ombat the spread of HIV and AIDS to 162 079 infected and affected people, and (viii) t o provide care and support services to 32 549 families.

To achieve goal 3, the department would facilitate community development services through sustainable livelihoods strategies to 424 493 recipients and facilitate community development services through youth development strategies to 31 824 youth. It also aimed to facilitate the development of institutional capacity to 3 031 non-profit organisations and other emerging organisations. It would also facilitate, conduct and manage the population and social development research in support of policy and programme development

To achieve the Government Outcomes, the presentation reported that the department had undertaken to achieve the following:

Outcome 1: Quality Basic Education: the targeted output of the department to this outcome was to develop an integrated protection services to children and provision of ECD services to 73 508 children aged 0-4 years. It also intended to increase the number of registered partial care sites and improve capacity of registered partial care sites. It aimed to implement the ECD regulating and funding strategy.

The department also planned to provide education support services to 310 000 children in the year under review. It also aimed to facilitate the distribution of dignity packs to ensure that the dignity and the rights of the girl child to school was restored, the rate of school attendance was improved and the health and reproductive rights of the girl children are upheld.

Outcome 2: A long and healthy life for all South Africans: the target output to this outcome was to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS to 162 079 infected and affected people. It also intended to integrate substance abuse prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services to 379 044 recipients.

Outcome 3: All people in South African are and feel safe: the department planned to provide an integrated care and services to 34 230 older persons in the 2013/2014 financial year. It also planned to provide integrated crime prevention and support services to 72 804 adults and children in conflict with the law. It also planned to establish community based structures. It started with organising active ageing programmes and provided old age homes with appropriate equipments, such as gym equipment, medical equipment, Occupational Health and Safety and fire fighting equipments which have prompt fire alerts to the Fire Department.

The department intended to establish an integrated services to 15 221 persons with disabilities. There was still a need to improve on preferential procurement, such as, provision of stationery.

· Outcome 4: decent employment through inclusive economic growth: the department’s objectives were to have sustainable employment creation by facilitating the participation of youth in the department’s internship, learnerships and external bursary programmes.

Deliberations on issues that emanated from the presentation

Having been briefed on the performance of the provincial department, the Committee raised the following issues:

· Adoption was an important policy issue that the department needed to address urgently by resolving challenges pertaining to red taping, particularly in the government. There was a need by the department to embark on awareness campaigns educating communities about adoption. The campaign should also focus on destigmatising adoption.

· The establishment of children’s home and child and youth care centres was a positive direction taken by the department to ensure the safety of children. However, the shortage of old age homes was a serious concern. Also, these homes were not adequately equipped for frail care, to provide care to patients suffering from parkisons and Alzheimers diseases.

· A strategy should be developed to ensure that old age homes are assessed to ensure compliance with norms and standards.

· The existence of the illegal rehabilitation centres was a serious concern that needed to be addressed urgently.

· The department should work with the Faith Based Organisations in its initiatives to fight substance abuse.

· The critical role played by the Local Drug Committee in the fight against substance abuse in communities needed to be strengthened.

4. Site visits to NDA projects

4.1 Visit to the Ujimabakwena Shoe Cooperative

Ujimabakwena is a shoe manufacturing cooperative, located in Roodepoort. It was established in 2006. It was formed as a result of a merger between Ujima and Bakwena cooperatives that were founded in 2005. The cooperative has 23 members who are fulltime workers, 14 are women, 7 are young people and 2 are people with disabilities. The cooperative had a contract with the Department of Social Development to produce 55 000 school shoes, which had to be delivered by November 2013. The workers were recruited from the impoverished neighbouring townships such as Princess and Dobsonville . The cooperative produces SABS approved school shoes.

The department funded the cooperative with the amount of R150 000 in 2006 for the purchase of equipment with an intention of ensuring that the cooperative was able to manufacture and deliver school shoes to the department for the School Uniform Project. The NDA also funded the cooperative with an amount of R819 000 to purchase a delivery van, office furniture and computers. The Department of Trade and Industry also supported the cooperative with equipment through Cooperative Incentive Scheme. It also received support from Sasol Chemistry for branding. It also received a financial support from the Independent Development Trust to pay stipends to trainee workers.


The delegation was told that the cooperative had a challenge of accessing mainstream markets to sell its products. The Department of Social Development approached the National Empowerment Fund to assist the cooperative in developing a marketing strategy. After the presentation the delegation took a walk about at the factory floor to witness the shoe production process from inception to the final stage.

4.2 Visit to the Thusa Farming and Multi Purpose Cooperative

Thusa Bagale Farming and Multi Purpose cooperative was established by eight young people in plot six in Bagale village, under the Mogale Local Municipality. The cooperative had a permission to utilise a quarter hectare of land for the purpose of vegetable production. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development supported the establishment of the cooperative by providing funding for fencing and installing taps for the purpose of irrigation. The department also provided basic agricultural technical training to the employees.

The main objective of the cooperative was to establish a sustainable agricultural project for the purpose of income generation, job creation and local economic development in Thusa Bagale within Tarlton . Specific objectives of the cooperative were to erect six hydronics for production of vegetables (cabbages, tomatoes, etc), create jobs for eight unemployed members and 20 seasonal workers from Tarlton community and develop a strong institutional capacity in organisational management and technical training.

The NDA funded the cooperative with an amount of R1.5 million for the purpose of purchasing six tunnels. At the time of oversight the cooperative had three tunnels, office equipments and an irrigation system. The cooperative had an agreement with the Spar supermarket in Krugersdorp, Fruit and Vege supermarket and with the South African Food Bank to supply them with vegetables. It was planning to expand its market to the bed and breakfast establishments and a hotel located nearby the Cradle of Humankind in Sterkfontein . It was also in a process of purchasing a truck that would assist with deliveries of the vegetables. The cooperative won a Best Community Project Award in June 2013.


· The cooperative is located closer to an informal settlement and incidents of theft were very high, as a result a bore-pipe was stolen.

· It did not have a truck to transport production but it was in a process of purchasing one.

4.3 Visit to the National Development Agency, (NDA) Manger Care Centre

The Manger Care Centre was established in 1987 as a non-profit organization caring for the homeless, destitute and abandoned. It was accredited as an education and training service provider by the Agri -Seta in terms of the South African Qualification Authority Act. The organization follows a non-discriminatory policy and provides for the needs of all those members of society who are unable to do so for themselves. The initial objective of the project was to provide beneficiaries with agricultural and management skills to produce spinach in an 800square meter tunnel. The specific objectives of the project at the time of the oversight visit were to expand the existing successful garden produce unit from 6 tunnels to an additional 800 square metres , to improve the lives of the target beneficiaries through skills training, life skills training and job creation and to develop capacities for self-reliance through skills transfer and income generation.

In 2012, the project received a funding of R580 000 from the NDA. The total turnover of the project amounted to R11 million per annum. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries provided agricultural technical training of six months to the staff.

The project operates in a five hectare property with an office building that has training facilities, a pack house, three plant tunnels, drip-irrigation, borehole, tool shed, a cold room and vermicular ( womery ) for organic fertilizing and plant nursery. These facilities make it possible to undertake agri -processing such as washing and packaging of produce.

For some of its projects (such as vegetable gardening and carpentry) the centre makes use of services from homeless people and provides them with accommodation for a period of three months and pays them a stipend of R20 per day. The vegetable gardening project comprised of four members. The total staff compliment of the project is 96. The production of spinach allowed the project to supply commercially to supermarkets such as OK, Spar, Fruit and Vege , Springs Market, local shops and vendors at the taxi ranks.

In addition to the aforementioned, the centre had initiated various projects that assisted communities with services ranging from:

  • feeding schemes to ECDs, NGOs and homeless people in various centres in Ekurhuleni;
  • clothing and access to social and medical assistance;
  • provision of protective housing to abused women and children and orphanage for HIV and Aids affected orphans; and
  • Training and skills development.

5. Visit to the SASSA Regional Office

5.1 Presentation by SASSA (hereafter “the Agency” or “regional office”)

The presentation reported on four performance areas, namely; standardisation of the business process, roll out of the payment biometric system to merchants and registration, upgrade of local offices and capacity building of staff and filling of vacant posts.

Standardisation process

It was reported that the purposes of standardisation were to standardize the Grants Administration business processes at service delivery level (at Local Office); to ensure uniformity in delivering services to customer so that all office lay outs were the same; to re-organise the flow of work so as to improve the quality of service delivery, thus implementing the Service Delivery Model and to ensure that there was provision of the same level of service and standardised Grants Administration forms for all grants units.

Implementation of the standardisation process would ensure that all social grants application processed were carried out in a Four Step process – screening, attesting, quality control and verification. By the time of the oversight visit, the regional office had managed to implement this process in 37 local offices out of 38 local offices. All grants applications with the exception of the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) and the completion of the reviews of grants were done online using the SOCPEN database. Implementation of the online applications for SRD and Grant Reviews were still awaiting further enhancement of the SOCPEN to support these applications, which would be completed in 2014. Despite these achievements, it was reported that the manual applications were still done at 44 service points.


The regional office faced challenges pertaining to overcrowding at local offices due to high demand for services; shortage of staff in level 8; limited space to accommodate applicants and their children who were supposed to be enrolled once the application process was approved; not all administration processes were fully automated and the SOCPEN was not able to accommodate the increased volume of online applications.

The delegation was told that the Agency believed that the challenge of overcrowding would be resolved through the implementation of the Service Delivery Model. Regarding addressing the shortage of staff, the office was in the process of filling 11 team leader posts. To address the challenge of limited office space, the regional office was implementing the Integrated Community Registration Outreach Programme ( ICROP ). It also planned to decentralise big service offices.

Roll out of the biometric system and re-registration

The biometric system was rolled out to 141 pay points and to 129 participating merchants (mainly Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Boxer and Spar outlets). The Agency employed 122 Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) school leavers, of which 43 were child support grants recipients, to implement the new SASSA card and biometric re-registration of beneficiaries.

The advantage of this system was that SASSA cardholders could use their cards to purchase goods and draw cash at any merchant store. Other advantages of the system were that transactions in the merchant stores did not attract any bank charges, cardholders had access to a wide range of services such as purchasing prepaid airtime and electricity and making bill payments. The disadvantage of this kind of payment was that it caused overcrowding and long queues at the payment outlets. To address this challenge, the regional office embarked on a campaign to educate beneficiaries on other payment channels available. It also opened the payment system of a 12 day period to stagger the payment over these days.

It was reported that 3 206 638 beneficiaries and dependants were re-registered during the re-registration process and 140 396 re-registrations were still outstanding.


The regional office reported that it faced the following challenges regarding the implementation of the re-registration process:

· Despite the communication campaigns there were beneficiaries who still seemed ignorant of the requirement to be re-registered.

· Beneficiaries were not accompanied by dependants or were not always in possession of the correct documentation required for the re-registration process. Documents such as birth certificates or court orders were, for example, not brought to the enrolment venues where dependants needed to be enrolled.

· There were beneficiaries who were inclined to be afraid of the new technology and were weary of re-registering as they preferred to continue receiving their social grants as they had been receiving over the past number of years.

The delegation was told that the regional office would address the aforementioned challenges through i ncreased communication campaigns targeting beneficiaries who had not re-registered. The Agency also started with the mop- up process (follow ups) via ICROP in May 2013 and would end in August 2013.

Upgrade of local offices

In 2012/2013 financial year the regional office had planned to upgrade eight offices but ended up upgrading 14 offices. The budget allocation for the upgrade was R5, 649 million and the R1, 509 million had been spent by the time of the oversight visit.


The delegation was told that the upgrading of local offices encountered challenges relating to the alignment of SASSA strategic objectives to the National Department of Public Work’s (NDPW) policies. For instance the NDPW’s long turnaround times required that all lease renewals should only be for a period of 8 months. Other challenges related to the non availability of office space in certain areas, such as Bekkersdal ; price collusion amongst service providers, failure by landlords and/ or service providers to meet their duties and/ or obligations.

To address the above mentioned challenges the regional offices reported that it requested approval from the SASSA Head Office to deviate from the approved procurement strategy. This was done to address challenges over the upgrade of the Kempton Park, Benoni , Springs and Alexandra offices. It would also engage with the Head Office to obtain approval to erect park homes. With regard to the price collusion, the regional office reported that such cases would be referred to the Head Office for investigation. To address the failure of landlords and service providers to meet their duties, the regional office reported that it would implement penalty clauses and/or refer such cases to the Legal Services unit in the Head Office to implement breach remedies.

Capacity building of staff

The regional offices reported that it had identified different training programmes for all salary levels. However, there were certain challenges that needed to be addressed. The challenges related to the following:

· Lack of funding to capacitate the support posts, resulting in the compromising of service delivery processes.

· Lack of sufficient funding to fill critical posts to implement the 4 step model in line with the delegations for Social Grants Administration.

· Longer processes taken by the State Security Agency to finalise the Personal Suitability Check during recruitment.

· Longer processes taken by the National Department of Public Works to improve and identify offices to provide reasonable accommodation for all customers and people with disabilities.

To address the above challenges the regional office informed the delegation that it had identified funding and/or savings to fill vacant support posts and new posts at local offices. Particularly, the funding would enable the Agency to fill critical staff required for the implementation of the four step model. In addition, the Agency had proposed that it should be allowed to appoint its vetting officers at a central point to fast track the recruitment process. Pertaining to the issue of office identification, the Agency had proposed that it should be allowed to use its own model of office identification.

Deliberations on the issues that emanated from the presentation

The delegation welcomed the progress made by the Agency in implementing the standardisation process as it believed this would address the challenge of regions implementing different business processes. This had proved to be a serious challenge to the offices that were affected by the demarcation process where local offices and pay points were moved to other provinces. This had created inconsistencies in the applications processes and general service delivery. Hammanskraal , Bronkhorspruit and Merafong were identified as examples of those affected local offices. These offices are located at the borders of Gauteng and North West; Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces.

Related to the issue of office identification, the delegation sought clarity over the closure of the Kempton Park local office. The office had been closed for over a year. The Agency explained that, that office used to share office space with the Department of Social Development. The department vacated the premises because of problems related to the rent. Subsequently, the landlord decided not to renew the lease. The Agency then approached the Department of Public Works to address this issue. It was then found that the landlord did not have a tax certificate and at that time the building had been taken over by a new landlord. The new landlord had promised that the transfer of ownership would be finalised by end of July 2013. The Agency had also tried to find another office space as an alternative option but it had not been successful. A piece of land had been identified in Tembisa but there were delays in finalising the documents.

The challenge of long queues at payment outlets was also raised as an issue of concern. The delegation wanted to know if it was possible for SASSA to negotiate with local businesses to pay grants as an alternative option to ease queues at the big payment outlets. This could also be another measure of empowering local businesses. The regional office reported that the Minister of Social Development and the CEO of SASSA were already exploring that option.

The issue of money lenders was also raised as another area of concern. The regional office indicated that this was still a challenge but with the introduction of the payment card, SASSA had been able to monitor deductions from beneficiaries’ accounts.

5.2 Site visit to the Maponya Mall SASSA service office

The Maponya service office is one of the biggest SASSA service offices in Gauteng. The office had identified certain areas to implement the four step process. It had a designated disability management unit which processes applications for disability grant. It also had consulting rooms that accommodate three SASSA doctors. The delegation observed that the office was adequately resources in all service areas.


The delegation’s visit to the service office coincided with the cut off date (31 July 2013) of re-registration of beneficiaries who had received follow up letters. These had not re-registered by the end of April 2013. It therefore observed that there were long queues of beneficiaries who came for the re-registration. The beneficiaries complained to the delegation that SASSA officials had turned away some of them without attending them on a number of times. They also complained that some officials told them that “they were doing them a favour” when they were attending to their applications.

Regarding the officials not attending to some applications, the regional office explained that the reason was that the CEO of SASSA had issued a directive that there should be a cut off time (17:00) of the re-registration system to avoid security risks.

6. Site visits to the department’s programmes

6.1 Visit to the Walter Sisulu and Youth Care Centre

The centre was officially launched as a pilot project of the Gauteng Provincial Government on 01 April 1997 by the political stalwart, Mr Walter Sisulu. The primary aim of the centre was to provide a positive and safe environment for the development and containment of children and youth at risk. The aim and objectives of the centre were to assist a child to reach a balance in his/her life in physical, emotional, educational, social and spiritual areas. It also assisted a child to adjust in his or her environment by developing and reducing the negative trauma and behavior that the child could have experienced. It also provided awareness, prevention, early intervention programmes and counseling services. The centre had two components, namely; the Temporary Safe Care and the Secure Care. The Temporary Safe Care admits children who are in need of care and protection referred through the Children’s Court. The Secure Care admits children in conflict with the law referred through Criminal Courts.

Amongst other basic principles of the child and youth care centres, is to ensure that each young person has an appropriate development plan (Individual Development Plan) and a programme of care. It is also to ensure that young persons have access to educational opportunities, therapeutic services and participate actively in the development and review of this plan. Children are also given opportunities to participate in religious activities. The centre has a Chaplin that provides church services over weekends and during religious holidays. The centre endeavours to protect young persons from all forms of exploitation, discrimination and abuse. Children are given opportunities to enable them to learn, develop, and participate in programmes that seek to promote their rights and care for others.

Reasons for admission of boys to the secure centre were mainly due to the possession of drugs, rape, house breaking, theft, hijacking, fraud, murder and robbery. Girls were mainly admitted as a result of committing offences ranging from theft, assault with gravely body harm, murder robbery. The centre had three units with a capacity of accommodating 20 girls. However, only two units were underutilized. One had not been utilized due to a small number of girls admitted in the secure centre. The centre had six units for boys and all of them were utilized. It was pointed out that more children were mostly admitted to the centre during school holidays and December holiday period.


The centre had partially implemented the Secure Care Norms and Standards (Blue print) commissioned by the Department of Social Development. It had established Active HIV/Aids and Substance Abuse Committees and young persons were participating in various research projects.

In terms of temporary safe care, it was reported that 22 children were on extended leave of absence as part of family reunification services and five children with special needs were placed to alternative care. It was also reported that at least more than six unaccompanied minors had been reunited with their families or placed in an alternative care in the past year (2012). The centre held regular meetings aimed at assisting with the fast tracking of placement of children.

Service delivery challenges

It was reported that the centre was the only facility that admits girls in conflict with the law. Another challenge faced by the centre was that children with mental illnesses had to be admitted without having been properly diagnosed and therefore with no appropriate medication. Another challenge was that unaccompanied minors from other countries admitted in the centre were unable to converse in any of South African languages. This makes it difficult for the centre to provide services to them. Other problems faced by the centre included admission of pregnant girls and girls who had babies, children who had completed the diversion programme and had no place to go afterwards and xenophobic attitudes among children.

In terms of temporary safe care challenges, it was reported that the longer the children (especially orphans) stayed in the centre the more difficult it was to create accommodation for new admissions. The lack of alternative placement options to admit children was raised as another serious challenge. More children with special needs were admitted in the centre, even though the staff was not capacitated to work with such children. Foster parents were reluctant to foster children with behavioural problems.

It was further reported that physical infrastructure of the centre was not conducive for the physically challenged children. Other infrastructural challenges identified related to water seepage, plumbing and sewer problems.

Deliberations on the issues emanating from the presentation

The Committee expressed its appreciation for the work done by the officials to ensure the smooth running of the centre. It however raised a concern over the delays in the registration of the centre due to the challenges experienced with the local government in ensuring that the centre was zoned. It encouraged the centre to try and get additional funding from other donors as this would assist it in meeting its financial needs.

6.2 Visit to Othandweni Children’s Home

Othandweni means a “Place of love”. The centre was established in 1984 and it offers residential care to 90 children who were abused, abandoned, neglected or orphaned. It acts as a place of safety where children are placed until suitable families are found, either by foster care or adoption agencies. Children who could not be immediately placed stay at the centre for as long as it is necessary.

The centre has a nursery which provides care to 30 babies from 0-4 years of age. The nursery receives 24 hour supervision from qualified nurses, auxiliary nurses and nursery assistants. The delegation was told that babies who had been found abandoned or neglected were often suffering from a variety of ailments. These babies are nursed back to health while awaiting adoption, foster care or re-unification with their families.

In addition, students from the Occupational Therapy department at the University of Witwatersrand assisted the home by providing stimulation and support to the babies. Qualified occupational therapists from Thusanani foundation also provide the home with professional support. They visit the home every Thursdays. The delegation was told that it was the home’s priority to place babies with suitable families as soon as possible so that they would not experience prolonged institutionalization, which can be detrimental to their healthy development.

The home also provides a granny programme for the babies. This programme is aimed at providing much needed nurturing stimulation and bonding programmes for children who reside in the home. The programme was launched in 2011 with funding from an American based NGO, called Spence- Chapin. The programme involves services of 15 grannies ( gogos ) from the community who spend quality time with specific young children aged between 0-6 years. Each granny is responsible for two children and they spend 2 hours with each child every day. They offer love, care, support, warmth and stimulation to the children and ensure that they develop well mentally, physically, and socially. It was highlighted that children in residential care institutions who have had minimal or no opportunity to receive proper care from their parents often developed bonding and attachments issues. This programme enables them to learn how to form positive social attachments that are key to early childhood developments.

The programme also offers supervised care in a family setting to 60 school going children and teenagers from 5 to 18 years of age. Children are housed in five cottages. Each cottage is named according to values that are core in any child’s development, namely; the Houses of Hope, Dignity, Respect, Trust and Honesty. These same values are inculcated a nd re-modelled to the children on a daily basis. The children in each house live und er the care of a child care worker.

The home also offers therapeutic services and developmental programmes to children. They also receive counselling from social workers and engaged in recreational programmes such as soccer, netball, karate, basket ball, indigenous games, gumboot dance, kwasakwasa , traditional dance, music, art, drama, etc.

It also offers an independent living programme which was designed for older children aged 16 years and above to receive training and guidance to prepare them for a transition from institutionalized living to an independent living as young adults. Relevant independent skills are also taught to all children. The home invite guests to present relevant topics such as financial literacy, entrepreneurship, career, guidance etc. A social worker was assigned to ensure that the programme runs smoothly.

The home consists of 40 permanent staff members, comprising of a manager, assistant manager, 2 social workers, 1 receptionist, 2 nursery supervisors, 12 nursery staff, 10 child care workers, 2 laundry staff, 1 driver, 1 cook, 2 gardeners and 5 general assistants. It also employed non-permanent staff members. These were relief workers, overnight s upervisor and 15 grannies. Staff members attended workshops, seminars, teambuilding sessions, debriefing sessions and other relevant trainings to ensure that professional service is rendered to the beneficiaries

6.3 Visit to the Soweto Old Age Home

The old age home was established in 1988 to address the problem of abandoned older persons. It provides residential care to 122 older persons both males and females of all races. Its main objective is to provide health care services and social work services to the older persons.

The delegation was informed that the home had, at the time of the oversight visit, an interim board. It was in the process of recruiting members of the new board. The home is structured into four departments and its personnel comprised of an administrator, a secretary, a centre manager, a professional social worker, a social auxiliary worker, a bookkeeper and an independent auditor. One of the departments, is the maintenance department, which is under the supervision of the house keeper. The department also supervises the security unit. The second department is the nursing department consists of of 16 care givers, 3 Enrolled Nursing Assistants, and 2 professional nurses. Two members of the staff had attended a training workshop in occupational therapy. The rest of the staff was scheduled to attend the training at the end of August 2013. In addition, the Lelakabe Fire Department regularly trained older persons and staff on fire drills. The home is also supported by Baragwanath Hospital and Mfulo clinic for referrals for medical treatment.

The home provides wellness programmes, golden games, intergenerational activities and indoor activities. These are organised under the supervision of a social worker and a social auxiliary worker. With regard to nutrition, it was reported that the menu was revised every three months and fruit and vegetables were bought every Thursdays.


The delegation was informed the home faced the following challenges:

· It was still waiting to be issued with a health certificate for it to be registered. The problem was that the building plan could not be found and so the home was using a temporary building plan. The National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) was assisting the home to get a new building plan.

· The frail care unit had a shortage of nurses and health care workers to both attend the elderly people in their wards and to escort them to the clinics.

· It had a shortage of some medication, particularly pain tablets. The Hillbrow clinic used to supply it with medication but it had since stopped. It also had a shortage of diabetes testing machines. It only had one visiting doctor.

· It had a shortage of crockery. The walking freezer was old and it required constant repairs. There was a need for a laundromat and kitchen for the frail care unit.

Financial report

The home’s main source of funding was the Department of Social Development. In 2013, the department funded it with an amount of R3 million. Each beneficiary was allocated an amount of R2 500. The delegation was told that funding from donors had been reduced. In 2012/2013 financial year the home had received an amount of R980 894 from its fund raising activities. This money and some of the amount received from the Department of Social Development was used to pay salaries of social workers and social auxiliary workers. Despite of this, the delegation was told that the payment of salaries was not guaranteed because it was paid largely from the money received from the fund raising activities.

The beneficiaries contribute 75% (R890) per month from their Old Age Pension (OAP), which is paid into the home’s account. Older persons who are in frail care contribute 100% of their OAP to the home’s account. This was according to the arrangement the home made with SASSA.

6.4 Visit to the FAMSA Family Preservation Programme in Lenasia

The centre provides family and preventative oriented programmes to members of Lenasia and surrounding communities. It organises support groups for parents (single and married), child headed households, teenage mothers, children, individuals and older people to help them realise their role in the society. Older people support group sessions are held every Thursdays. These sessions enable older people to share their experiences. Each group is taught life skills, stress coping mechanisms, relationships and family preservation skills.

The centre also provides a variety of trainings which are fully accredited and some of them are therapeutic. The therapeutic training teaches counselling skills to 150 adolescent counselling groups.

The delegation was informed that there had been an increase of single parenting in Eldorado Park. FAMSA in collaboration with the Faith Based Organisations had established a men’s forum to raise awareness and educate men on the responsibilities of fatherhood. It was also reported that substance abuse and domestic violence were the two main social ills that affected the surrounding communities. Through these forums, FAMSA provided couples and families with coping mechanisms that were responsive to the changing structure of the families, such as single parenthood, divorced families and teenage parenthood.

The Centre gets referrals from schools and other entities in the society and its services are free of charge. It refers the cases which it is not able to provide intervention to the Department of Social Development for intervention.

Senior Survivor Club

The centre also formed a Senior Survivor Club. The club consisted of a group of elders who are between the ages of 60 and 80 years. The club consisted of 49 (5 men and 44 women) members. The club meets every Tuesdays and Wednesdays and they are provided with meals. The members paid a membership fee of R30, which was used to buy things that the group needed. The members are transported to the centre but those who can, walk to the centre. It was reported that the benefit of the club was that it served as a place where the members could belong. The groups participate in various wellness activities like exercising and hairdressing. The members also receive motivational talks on different social issues. The club had a bookkeeper responsible for the management of books.

6.5 Visit to D e Mazenod Pre-Primary School

De Mazenod Pre-Primary School (or ECD centre) is located in Eldorado Park. It is managed by and funded by a Catholic Church. It is funded for 105 beneficiaries between the ages of 1 to 6 years in accordance with the National Integrated Plan for Early Childhood Development. The Department of Social Development provided the school with infrastructure aids to improve the educational stimulation of the children and means to improve the nutritional status of children. The department also assisted the centre in its registration to ensure that it complies with norms and standards. The Department of Basic Education trained the practitioners.

The Department of Communications provided the centre with two computers, which came with educational DVDs. Practitioners were trained on how to teach using these DVDs. The centre also has a sick bay, fitted kitchen and classes have fire detectors.


The delegation was satisfied with the condition of the centre and its cleanliness.

6.6 Presentation by the Department of Community Safety on the report on the Eldorado Park VEP Functionality and the Department of Community Safety VEP support programmes

It was reported that Tik (scientifically called Methamphetamin ), cocaine, mandrax , marijuana (or dagga) , alcohol and Nyaope were the main substances of choice in the area. As a result the VEP centre deals with a lot of cases of rape, missing children, domestic violence, substance abuse, behavioural problems, trauma counselling and any other family crisis. It also organises school anti substance abuse programmes as part of educational and awareness campaign.

The Department of Social Development and the South African Police Service hold regular meetings to discuss crime related issues in the area.

The high incidences of crime and substance abuse were attributed to the dysfunctional family environments. The presenter therefore strongly emphasised the importance of family preservation programmes.

The delegation was told that the centre had also conducted the following Social Crime Prevention programmes:

— Drug awareness campaigns at secondary and primary schools according to the Social Crime Prevention plan.

— Drug awareness campaigns in conjunction with the churches and pastors of different denominations.

— Weekly radio talks on Radio Eldo to inform listeners on the dangers of drug abuse.

— A forum for “men against women abuse” where issues of drug abuse and domestic violence were addressed.

— Frequent publications on the local newspaper on social crime prevention interventions in the community.

— Men’s Indaba to address drug abuse and domestic violence .

6.7 Visit to the Eldorado Park Crisis Centre (Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) centre

The centre is situated in Eldorado Park police station. It provides overnight shelter for victims of domestic violence and counseling sessions. It has a warrant officer who is responsible for opening cases of domestic violence. It also has a social worker who is responsible for providing counseling to the victims and makes referrals to the Department of Social Development and to the courts. The delegation was told that most community members did not have a clear understanding of the role and purpose of the VEP. They mainly used it as an information centre.


  • The centre had inadequate office space. For instance, it does not have a waiting room.
  • The centre had a high volume of cases.
  • It did not have adequate supervision of its programmes.

6.8 Site visit to the SANCA in Eldorado Park

The SANCA Eldorado Park is a satellite office of the SANCA (South African National Council on Alcoholism) Central Rand, which was founded in 1963 by a g roup of concerned community leaders in the Western Coloured Township (known as Westbury) to address the scourge of social problems that had manifested in the community. Their objectives were to address the problems that had escalated due to the misuse and abuse of alcohol. The group was particularly concerned about gangsterism , domestic violence, and abuse of women. The centre receives funding of R1.4182 million per annum for medical component ( sessional doctor and a nurse) from the Department of Social Development. It received additional funding from the National Lottery Distribution Fund. The centre conducts outreach programmes to educate communities on substance abuse. The awareness and prevention programmes are funded by SANCA under the Newclare outreach programme. These programmes have a target to reach 20 000 beneficiaries. The project management component of the centre is allocated R272 000 per annum.

The Eldorado Park satellite office was established in 1985. It operates from a donated house that was turned into an office. The office staff comprises of 2 Social Workers, 2 Social Auxiliary Workers, 2 Community Development Workers and 1 nurse. This office had the highest number of clients compared to other SANCA satellite offices. It received referrals from the Department of Social Development social workers.

During the period of 01 May – 26 July 2013 the centre assessed a total of 130 clients. Eighteen of these clients were working full time, 38 were abusing marijuana and 15 were abusing nyaope . Services that are provided in the centre include: one on one counselling, group work for significant others and facilitation of patients into treatment centres, referrals for in-patient service assessments, drug testing, awareness and prevention programmes on substance abuse, after care and re-integration programmes. The centre also offers the following school holiday programmes:

  • Programmes of Primary Prevention: Educating Through Stories (POPPETS)

POPPETS is one of the oldest SANC A programme that educates children in Early Childhood Development centres and junior primary schools of the dangers of substance abuse.

  • Diversion

This programme aims at changing behaviours of teenagers who had been in conflict with the law. It focuses on attitude change and encouraging responsible behaviours among the youth with the aim to divert them from the criminal justice system. The programmes offers the following services:

· Assessment

· Motivational interventions

· Individual counselling

· Group therapy

· Family/significant other program

· Drug testing

· Referrals where indicated

· Networking with community resources

· Community service

· Regular reporting to point of referral

  • Out-patient treatment

The out-patient treatment programme is provided to the alcohol and drug dependent persons. The programme conducts therapeutic assessments, medical assessments, on-going therapy and aftercare.

  • Training and educational programmes

These programmes encompass training and educational programmes to schools, professionals, para -professionals and community groups educating them on the dangers of substance abuse.

  • Community Development

Due to the high rate of poverty, unemployment, crime and substance abuse, SANCA provides a number of services to communities, such as help with needs assessment, initiate job creation projects and arrange skills training.


The presentation reported that the centre faced the following challenges:

  • Lack of facility to offer detoxification programmes and many clients are in need of this programme at the start of the treatment programme;
  • High rate of youth unemployment in the community and increased usage of substance abuse by youth;
  • Family members of the users are not always willing to make changes in their own lives and therefore clients often go back to the same circumstances that they were exposed to before they received treatment;
  • Limited financial resources affects the needs to expand programmes to reach more people; and
  • Getting clients into the treatment centres for in-patient is sometimes a lengthy process and some clients drop out.

To address the above-mentioned challenges, the centre identified interventions that link recovering users to the economic opportunities, such as, the Ennerdale Development Centre, SANCA and the Department of Social Development

6.9 Visit to the SANCA Johannesburg Society ( SANCA Phoenix House)

As part of the introductory remarks the presenter presented some general facts about the trends of substance abuse in the country. She reported that children as young as seven to twelve (7-12) years were starting to abuse alcohol and drugs. The most affected age groups were adolescents and young adults. Addiction was prevalent among males than females. Generally women were found to abuse mostly over the counter drugs, but, they are not accessing treatment programmes as easily as men due to gender stereotypes. She indicated that the most serious addictions were still with socially acceptable drugs like alcohol and marijuana.

The SANCA Phoenix House is a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) specializing in the prevention and treatment of chemical dependency. Over the years, it had expanded to provide a range of services to address all the stages of the dependency process, which are:

· Prevention and awareness through education and capacity building;

· Early intervention programmes, such as adolescent and adult diversion; and

· Out-patient and in-patient treatment for more severe addictions.

The objectives of the centre are to increase public understanding of the nature and treatment of addictions in general, and specifically on alcoholism and drug dependence; to promote the tenets that substance abuse and addiction is a treatable medical condition with associated social, physical, psychological and community implications and to network and co-operate with other organizations or forums that have similar objectives.

The Phoenix House was registered to provide substance abuse services to adult male and females. It provides both in-patient and out-patient programmes. It receives an annual funding of R420 000 from the Department of Social Development. During the presentation, the department indicated that it would negotiate with the Phoenix House management to increase its bed capacity. This was critically important due to the high substance abuse in the country.

Its in-patient programme comprises of a three to six weeks treatment programme. The programme consists of four to five therapeutic and educational groups per day, two Alcohol Anonymous sessions per week, weekly individual, family and group therapy sessions, 12 months aftercare programme and an integrated treatment model. The latter offers behaviour modification and psychodynamic services. The out-patient programme consists of eight to twelve week programme, adolescent diversion programme for youth under the age of 18 years who had been in conflict with the law, adult diversion programme, early intervention programme for adolescents, weekly individual, group and family sessions.

Through its community awareness and prevention campaigns for high risk groups, the centre reached over 40 000 people. The aim of prevention and awareness campaigns was to supply reduction programme to postpone the onset of experimentation with substances as well as to reduce the harmful effects of substances for people already using substances. Examples of campaigns are as follows:

· Foetal Alcohol Syndrome education at 14 Gauteng Community Clinics in Johannesburg and Midrand with expecting mothers;

· “ Poppets ” programme for ECD Centres and crèches with three to ten year olds. “ Poppets ” is a programme of primary prevention and education through stories. It is a structured nine session programme with a manual that enables ECD and primary school educators to implement this programme for three to nine year olds. The centre trained 30 ECD practitioners and principals who were implementing the programme in Ennerdale .

· Youth Leadership Camps (or YADA – Youth Against Drug Abuse);

· Capacity building to provide skills to parents, educators, community leaders, professionals and para -professionals;

· Sewing groups for unemployed women;

· Public education and awareness through organised community marches, door-to-door campaigns and soccer tournaments; and

· Establishment of Local Drug Action Committees as per the requirement of the National Drug Master Plan.


The presentation highlighted the following challenges faced by the centre:

· It receives 47% of income from the Department of Social Development. As a result, i t could only treat five in-patients per month and 550 out-patients per annum at both the Sophia Town and Ebony Park out-patient clinics and conduct 40 000 awareness and prevention programmes. The demand for free services exceeded what the entre could provide.

· It had a long waiting list for the in-patient clinic.

· It received no financial support from the National Lotteries Board for 2013. It was therefore expected to raise 37% funding through its fundraising initiatives. The challenge was that the donors were always reluctant to fund anti-substance abuse programmes.

· It could not afford fulltime staff and so it employed only sessional social workers and psychologists.

· It had staff retention problems due to its salaries not being competitive. The staff had not received bonuses for two years.

· It could not also afford a fulltime medical officer and a sessional psychiatrist.

To address the above-mentioned challenges, the centre identified short term and long term strategies. The short term strategy aimed at developing and implementing the fundraising and marketing strategies for financial sustainability, expanding the centre’s service delivery to increase accessibility such as Ivory Park and in Hillbrow and revamping the centre’s programmes to make them in line with the changing needs of the communities.

The long term strategy aimed at making SANCA Phoenix House financially sustainable and be able to pay its staff competitive salaries and thus retain them. The centre also aimed at opening out-patient clinics in Ivory Park, Randburg and in Hillbrow . It also aimed at opening its own adolescent inpatient clinic. The clinic will use the services of the young people to help their peers. It also aimed at opening its own half way house with a skills development section.

6.10 Recommendations

The Portfolio Committee recommends that the Minister of Social Development and its entities should consider doing the following:

The provincial Department of Social Development

· The Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) play an important part in the fight against substance abuse.

· The challenge of illegal rehabilitation centres receives an urgent attention.

· A coordinated approach between the provincial department and its stakeholders in the fight against substance abuse is strengthened.

· A strategy to ensure that old age homes are monitored to ensure compliance with norms and standards is developed.

The Gauteng South African Social Security Agency

· The Provincial Portfolio Committee on Social Development and the SASSA Gauteng Office strengthen their working relationship by having regular meetings to discuss service delivery issues. One area that the provincial committee and the regional SASSA needed to urgently address was the issue of cross border local offices. The residing members of the national Portfolio Committee on Social Development would make a follow up with the provincial portfolio committee on this issue.

· The regional SASSA office establishes working relationships with the constituency offices, especially those that serve cross border areas. SASSA acknowledged that the transfer of these offices had been a challenge and it would appreciate an opportunity to meet with the provincial portfolio committee to discuss this issue.

· The regional SASSA office establishes working relationships with the non-government organisations (NGOs), the FBOs and community based organisations (CBOs) to strengthen its information dissemination and address challenges that were inherited with the transfer of local offices from neighbouring provinces.

· The regional SASSA office refers the issue of the closure of the Kempton Park local office to the CEO of SASSA as this was an area of serious concern.

The Walter Sisulu and Youth Care Centre

· Allocating additional budget to the centre to cover for the maintenance expenses.

· Assists the centre in developing a funding strategy that would enable it to source funding from donor organizations.

Othandweni Children’s Home

· Assists the home in its fundraising strategy to look for sponsors to assist with the replacement of furniture so as to improve its interior decor in order to make the home more homely.

Soweto Old Age Home

· Assists the home to intensify its fundraising activities by approaching businesses that had visited it during the Mandela Day.

· Assists the home in reporting the challenges of the shortage of medication to the Department of Health to prevent the situation from escalating.

Report to be considered.

[1] In 2009, the Committee visited the Western Cape South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) offices and service points. In the same year, it conducted oversight in Mpumalanga where it visited the provincial Department of Social Development, SASSA regional office and the NDA. In 2011, it visited the Free State province (as part of People’s Assembly programme) and the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development, SASSA and the National Development Agency (NDA). In 2012 it visited the KwaZulu Natal provincial Department of Social Development, SASSA, the NDA, coalition of NGOs, Children’s Court and LifeLine .


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