ATC211122: Report of the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings on the Executive Undertakings made by the Minister of Social Development During the House Sitting of 22 July 2020, Adopted on 11 November 2021
Report of the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings on the Executive Undertakings made by the Minister of Social Development During the House Sitting of 22 July 2020, Adopted on 11 November 2021
On 22 July 2020, the Honourable Minister of Social Development made the following executive undertakings during the Question and Answer Session in the National Council of Provinces (House):
- Executive Undertaking 1: “We are strengthening the capabilities of our programmes relative to the challenges that accompany the COVID-19 pandemic.”
- Executive Undertaking 2: “To date, we have received over seven point eight million (7.8 million) applications for the Special COVID-19 SRD Grant. Of this number, we have approved over four (4) million applications unto whom just over one point seven billion Rands (R1 7 000 000) will be disbursed.”
- Executive Undertaking 3: “I have been inundated with concerns from members of the public and organisations representing persons with disabilities, including some Honourable Members of this house regarding the intake for disability grants. SASSA is currently exploring ways in which we can safely and progressively reintroduce these services and we will make an announcement in due course.”
- Executive Undertaking 4 “Our long term plan, starting in the current financial year is to introduce the food voucher system and expand it beyond well-established retailers for communities to buy directly from their local food suppliers who are small, medium and micro enterprises, community-owned or cooperatives”.
- Executive Undertaking 5 “From its original budget allocation of seven million Rands (R7 million) the National Development Agency (NDA) targets to benefit Cooperatives and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), especially those involved in the production of COVID-19 related PPEs”.
- REFERRAL PROCEDURE TO THE COMMITTEE
The concerned executive undertakings were referred to the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings (Committee) by the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, on 03 August 2020, for it to scrutinise and subsequently report to the House on their implementation.
After their referral the Committee proceeded to extend an invitation to the Minister to appear before it and report on the progress made by the Department of Social Development(Department) in implementing the concerned executive undertakings.
- COMMITTEE MEETING PROCEDURES
On 18 November 2020, the Minister and relevant officials of the Department appeared before the Committee to report on the progress made in implementing the executive undertakings under consideration.
The following Committee Members were present at the meeting:
3.1 Hon Z V Ncitha, ANC, Eastern Cape (Chairperson);
3.2 Hon S Shaikh, ANC, Limpopo;
3.3 Hon T S C Dodovu, ANC, North-West;
3.4 Hon Ms N E Nkosi, ANC, Mpumalanga;
3.5 Hon E M Mthethwa, ANC, KwaZulu-Natal;
3.6 Hon B M Bartlett, ANC, Northern Cape;
3.7 Hon G Michalakis, DA, Free State;
3.8 Hon C Visser, DA, North West,
3.9 Hon I M Sileku, DA, Western Cape;
3.10 Hon K Motsamai, EFF, Gauteng;
3.11 Hon Zandamela, EFF; Mpumalanga; and
3.12 Hon S E Mfayela, IFP, KwaZulu-Natal
The following Committee officials were in attendance:
3.13 Mr N Mkhize, Committee Secretary;
3.14 Adv. T Sterris-Jaffer; Committee Researcher/Acting Content Advisor;
3.15 Mrs N Fakier; Executive Secretary; and
3.16 Mr M Erasmus, Committee Assistant
The following representatives of the Department of Social Development appeared before the Committee during the meeting:
3.17 Hon L Zulu – Minister;
3.18 Mr L Mchunu - Acting Director General;
3.19 Ms B Sibeko, Director General (DG)-Social Security;
3.20 Mr K Ndaba, DG-Cooperative Services;
3.21 Mr T Buthelezi, DG-Strategy and Organization Transformation; and
3.22 Mr P Netshipale , DG-Community Services;
3.23 Mr A Phahlamohlaka, Chief of Staff;
3.24 Ms J Longwe, Cabinet and Parliamentary Liaison Officer
3.25Mrs B Mamela-Khambula, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)- South African Social Security Agency (SASSA); and
3.26 Mrs T Mzobe, CEO- National Development Agency (NDA):
- PROGRESS REPORT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
The Department reported as follows:
- Executive Undertaking 1:
The Department reported that they have reviewed their 2020/21 Annual Performance Plan in order to align it to the government priorities in response to Covid-19. The Department has strengthened its corroboration and coordination with other government departments and entities to deliver services during COVID-19. (I.E – Partnership with Solidarity Fund to increase they intervention on Food Security as well as renovating the Gender Based Command Centre).
4.2 Executive Undertaking 2:
The Department reported that between May 2020 - October 2020, the number of valid applications received and processed increased from 6 million to 9.3 million. The majority declined applications were applicants found in the SARS, UIF, and NASFAS databases, including those identified in the AGSAs report i.e. beneficiaries from other COVID-19 Government support grants including; Spaza-Shop owners, Sportspersons, farmers, etc. .
4.3 Executive Undertakings 3:
The Department reported that to address the challenges, the Directions were amended to allow for the continued payment of temporary disability grants to end in December 2020. Further reporting that SASSA is now working on a plan to address the significant number which will expire at the end of December, which is approximately 210 000. SASSA continues to progressively implement disability services for new applicants for disability related grants but a backlog persists.
4.4 Executive Undertakings 4:
The Department reported that since the start of the nation-wide lock-down, Department shifted its food provision from using existing network of Community Nutrition and Development Centres (CNDCs) to food parcels distribution as a short-term relief measure, and through knock-and-drop methodology, in compliance with COVID-19 protocols. The delivery of food parcels is targeted to beneficiaries in the Department centre based feeding programmes, households that have no income, and those affected by COVID-19 and are distressed, through SASSA and the Department.
4.5 Executive Undertakings 5:
The Department reported that the NDA economically uplifted the Cooperative and Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) and people from designated groups at a time when many businesses struggled to get business because of the lockdown. An amount of R5,7 million (R5 757 406) was spent on COVID-19 related personal protective equipment’s (PPEs), which mostly benefitted designated groups of women, youth and persons with disabilities based in the townships and rural areas.
5. OBSERVATIONS AND KEY FINDINGS
In noting the progress report given by the Department of Social Development in relation to the implementation of the executive undertakings under review, the Committee made the following observations and key findings:
- The Department assured the Committee that it could account for all donations that it had received from the various players who had assisted it in terms of food distribution. And it could also account for all food that it had distributed as the Department and SASSA since their systems were very sound in this regard.
- The Department indicated that many opportunities would arise as a result of what the President had announced in terms of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. And it should be noted that the Department and other Departments would be working to provide the database and assist those people to be able to get into these economic opportunities.
- National Treasury had been very strict in the sense that it had raised the issue of fiscal constraints, which limited the Department’s capacity and ability to employ more social workers. However, the Department informed the Committee that it has continued to engage with National Treasury and it was a continuous process.
- Regarding the issue of GBV and the specific programmes that the Department was working on, it reported that there was a GBV Command Centre that provided real time information in terms of what was happening in various districts, it has high-end technology and geolocation systems. And that the Ministry had recently launched a programme, with a number of other programmes that the Department was working on with the provinces and other role players and stakeholders, particularly in civil society, to try and extend the message of GBV.
Further, in noting the progress report made by the Minister of Social Development, the Committee, lastly, observes that the executive undertakings have been adequately implemented and therefore recommends that they be closed.
Report to be tabled for consideration.
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