ATC230921: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on the Fourth Quarter Performance and Expenditure Report for 2022/23 of the Department of Social Development (DSD), Dated 20 September 2023

Social Development

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on the Fourth Quarter Performance and Expenditure Report for 2022/23 of the Department of Social Development (DSD), Dated 20 September 2023

 

  1. INTRODUCTION

The Portfolio Committee on Social Development (hereinafter referred to as the Committee) having examined the Fourth Quarter Performance and Expenditure Report for 2022/23 of the Department of Social Development (hereinafter referred to as Department) on 31 May 2023, reports as follows:

 

2. MANDATE OF THE COMMITTEE

 

The Committee’s mandate as prescribed by the Constitution of South Africa and the Rules of Parliament is to build an oversight process that ensures a quality process of scrutinising and overseeing the department’s action. It is to conduct oversight that is driven by the ideal of realising a better quality of life for all people of South Africa.  The Committee is also required to facilitate public participation, monitoring and oversight over the legislative processes relating to social development. In doing this, it also confers with relevant governmental and civil society organs on social development matters.

 

The Committee also enhances and develops the capacity of its members to exercise effective oversight over the Executive Authority in social development.  It monitors whether the Department of Social Development fulfils its mandate according to priorities. 

 

It also has a mandate to perform the following:

  • Considers legislation referred to it;
  • Conducts oversight of any organ (s) of the state and constitutional institution(s) falling within its portfolio;
  • Facilitates appointment of candidates to entities;
  • Considers international agreements; and
  • Considers budget of department and entities falling within its portfolio.

 

For the current medium term (2019 – 2024), the Committee’s oversight focuses on the department and its entities performance with regard to the implementation of the priorities set in the National Development Plan and in the Medium Term Strategic Framework.

 

3. THE MANDATE OF THE DEPARTMENT

 

The department derives its mandate from several pieces of legislation and policies, including the White Paper for Social Welfare (1997) and the Population Policy (1998), which sets out the principles, guidelines, policies and programmes for developmental social welfare in South Africa. The White Paper for Social Welfare has provided the foundation for social welfare in the post-1994 era.

 

The Constitutional mandate of the department is to provide sector-wide national leadership in social development by developing and implementing programmes for the eradication of poverty and social protection and development amongst the poorest of the poor and most vulnerable and marginalized.

 

3.1 Policy priorities for the medium term

 

  • Priority 1: A Capable, Ethical and Developmental State
  • Priority 2: Economic Transformation and Job Creation
  • Priority 3: Education, skills and Health
  • Priority 4: Consolidating Integration, Human Settlement and Local Government
  • Priority 5: Spatial Integration, Human Settlement and Local Government
  • Priority 6: Social Cohesion and Safe Communities
  • Priority 7: A better Africa and World

 

3.2 National Development Plan (NDP)

 

The abovementioned priorities are in line with the (NDP) vision 2030, which inter alia promotes social protection and is defined by:

 

  • Protective measures to save lives and reduce levels of deprivation;
  • Preventative measures which help people avoid falling deeper into poverty and reduce their vulnerability;
  • Promotive measures which enhance the capabilities of individual communities and institutions;
  • Transformative measures which tackle inequities through changes in policies, laws and budgets; and
  • Developmental and generative measures, which increase the poor’s consumption by promoting local economic development.

 

3.3 Key strategic themes emerged from the State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2022, which have a bearing on the Department:

 

The following key strategic themes emerged from SONA 2022, which have a bearing on social services sector:

  • Ending gender-based violence (GBV): government is intensifying the fight against gender-based violence and femicide through implementation of the National Strategic Plan on gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and other measures to promote the empowerment of women. For an example, February 2022, the President signed into law three new pieces of legislation, which strengthened the criminal justice system, promoting accountability across the state and supporting survivors. The implementation of this legislation will go a long way to ensuring that cases are successfully prosecuted, that survivors are protected and that there are more effective deterrents in place. The President noted that the fight against gender-based violence will never be won unless, the society mobilises all formations and all citizens behind a sustained programme of social action.
  • Extension of the special covid-19 grant: since the onset of covid-19, the social relief of distress grant has provided support to more than 10 million unemployed people who were most vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic. As much as it has had a substantial impact, government must recognise that the country faces extreme fiscal constraints. A fiscal crisis would hurt the poor worst of all through the deterioration of the basic services on which they rely. In this regard, the President announced that the period for special covid-19 grant would be extended for one further year, to the end of March 2023.  This was because of the proven benefits of the grant during the covid-19 health pandemic period.
  • A need to improve payment systems and sustainability of R350 grant: the President assured the country that any future support must pass the test of affordability, and must not come at the expense of basic services or at the risk of unsustainable spending. During this time, government will engage in broad consultations and detailed technical work to identify the best options to replace this grant.
  • Job Creation - Expanding Public and Private Employment: it is the responsibility of the private sector to create jobs and government needs to provide a conducive environment for this to happen. As government works to grow the economy and create jobs, SONA 2022 assured the nation that government would expand support to poor families to ensure that no person in this country has to endure the pain and indignity of hunger.  The President said that, the Social Employment Fund will create a further 50,000 work opportunities using the capability of organisations beyond government, in areas such as early childhood development, and tackling gender-based violence among others. In addition to expanding public employment, government is providing support to young people to prepare them for work and link them to opportunities. SONA 2022 made a comment that the social economy, including early childhood development, has significant potential not only to create jobs, but also to provide vital services that communities need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.   OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF THE FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE

 

4.1 Overall budget allocation

 

Figure 1: Adjusted budget appropriation for 2022/23

 

The Department received an adjusted allocation of R247.9 billion for the 2022/23 financial year, of which R246.3 billion was appropriated for transfers and subsidies.  This was mainly in the form of social grants for households, i.e. R239.1 billion. In addition, R7.3 billion was earmarked for the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) for administration of social grants, and R219.3 million to the National Development Agency (NDA).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Overall expenditure as at fourth quarter

Table 1: Budget and Expenditure Summary

 

As at the end of the fourth quarter, the Department had spent R241.7 billion (97.5%) of its allocation. The Department thus incurred an under-expenditure of R6 billion for the 2022/23 financial year. The lower-than-expected expenditure was mainly due to the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant. This was due to lower than anticipated uptake of the grant following implementation of stringent income verification measures intended at improving targeting the poorest. A Second Adjustment Budget was tabled in March 2023 where an additional amount of R3.7 billion was declared a saving on the SRD R350 grant, which resulted to a total amount of R9.7 billion declared as saving on this grant for the 2022/23 financial year.

 

 There was also an observed under expenditure of R1.5 billion in the Old Age Grant (OAG), and R647 million on the Child Support Grant (CSG) also due to lower than anticipated beneficiaries.

 

In terms of economic classification, R240.4 billion was spent on Transfers and Subsidies line item spent R240.4 billion, i.e., underspending of 2.4%. Expenditure on Compensation of Employees (CoE) reached R512.9 million, resulting in 1.9% less than what was allocated.  Spending on Goods and Services was R470.6 million, i.e. 5.7% lower than what was budgeted for. The reasons for under-expenditure will be discussed under the each of the relevant programmes.

 

  1. Programme expenditure as at fourth quarter

 

Programme 1 exceeded its allocation with 4.9%, whereas programmes 2, 3, 4, and 5 all incurred under expenditure. As was the case in the previous financial year (2021/22), Programme 4 is the lowest performing in terms of underspending. There was a slight improvement in spending for Programme 5, from 6.5% in 2021/22, to 0.5% in 2022/23.

 

  1. Programme 1: Administration

 

Table 2: Programme 1 expenditure

Programme 1: Administration

2022/23

2021/22

Total adjusted allocation

Projected expenditure

Actual expenditure

% expenditure

Available budget/ underspending

%

expenditure

R513.7m

R513.7m

R539.1m

104.9 %

R-25.4 million

113%

 

This programme spent R539.1 million, exceeding its budget with 4.9%. During the previous year (2021/22), spending exceeded by 13% of its allocation.  For 2022/23, the programme incurred over-expenditure to the value of R25.4 million mainly on communications. This was due to:

  • Telecommunications for the Toll-free Hotline for grants and “compensation of employees (R13.4 million higher than available budget); and
  • Goods and Services (R8.0 million higher than available budget) driven by various goods and services items including property payments, contractors, travel and subsistence and operating payments. Spending on Payment for Capital Assets was also higher than the available budget.

 

  1. Programme 2: Social Assistance

 

Programme 2: Social Assistance

2022/23

2021/22

Total adjusted allocation

Projected expenditure

Actual expenditure

% expenditure

Available budget/ underspending

%

expenditure

R239.1 bn

R239.1 bn

R232.1 bin

97.3%

R6.4 bn

100.5%

 

This programme was allocated R239.1 billion in 2022/23, compared to R221.7 billion the previous year. Expenditure reached 97.3% (or R232.7) at the end of 2022/23. In 2021/22, this programme exceeded its allocation with 5% (105% overall spending). The contributing factors to under-expenditure in 2022/23 included:

 

  • COVIDÔÇÉ19 SRD grant which spent R4.8 billion less than budgeted due to lower than anticipated uptake of the grant following implementation of stringent income verification measures intended at improving targeting of the poorest.
  • There was also underspending of R1.5 billion on the old age grant and R647 million on the child support grant due to lower than anticipated beneficiaries.

 

  1. Programme 3: Social Security Policy and Administration

 

 

Programme 3: Social Security Policy and Administration

2022/23

2021/22

Total adjusted allocation

Projected expenditure

Actual expenditure

% expenditure

Available budget/ underspending

%

expenditure

R7.5 bn

R7.5 bn

R7.4 bn

99.4%

R43.4 m

99.7%

 

This programme spent R7.4 billion (or 99.4%) of its allocated budget. This showed an under expenditure of R43.4 million. Under-expenditure was mainly under Compensation of Employees and Goods and Services, owing to the delay in establishing the Inspectorate for Social Assistance.

 

  1. Programme 4: Welfare Services Policy Development and Implementation Support

 

Programme 4: Welfare Services Policy Development and Implementation Support

2022/23

2021/22

Total adjusted allocation

Projected expenditure

Actual expenditure

% expenditure

Available budget/ underspending

%

expenditure

313.5 mil

313.5 mil

295.3 mil

94.2%

18.2 mil

97.2%

 

This programme spent 94.2% of its allocation of R313.5 million. It incurred under-expenditure of R18.2 million of its allocated budget for 2022/23. Financial performance regressed from 97.2% spending the previous year. Under-spending was due to:

  • Lower spending on Goods and Services (R9.6 million) which includes underspending on business consultants (R5.6 million lower) as well as travel and subsistence (R9.1 million lower).
  • Lower spending was also recorded on transfers and subsidies to other transfer to non-profit institutions (R2.3 million lower than the available budget), advertising on campaigns related to gender-based violence (GBV); substance abuse and on Payments for Capital Assets (R4 million lower than the available budget).

 

  1. Programme 5: Social Policy and Integrated Service Delivery

 

Programme 5: Social Policy and Integrated Service Delivery

2022/23

2021/22

Total adjusted allocation

Projected expenditure

Actual expenditure

% expenditure

Available budget/ underspending

%

expenditure

R362.3 m

R362.3 m

R360.6 m

99.5%

R1.7 m

93.5%

 

This programme spent R360.6 million or 99.5%. Spending, however, improved significantly from the previous financial year when it reached 93.5%. The lower spending in 2022/23 was mainly under compensation of employees, which was partly offset by higher than projected spending on several other items in goods and services and consultants.

 

  1. OVERVIEW OF NON- FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE TARGETS

 

  1. Overall performance targets

 

This section focuses on Department’s non-financial performance for the fourth quarter of 2022/23 financial year using the 2022/23 Annual Performance Plan (APP) as a benchmark. In terms of non-financial performance, the Department had set itself a total of 65 targets across all five programmes in the 2022/23 financial year.

 

Programme 1: Administration

 

The purpose of this programme is to provide leadership, management and support services to the Department and the sector.

         

The Department under this programme had set to achieve 13 targets under this programme.

Set targets for 2022/23

Reasons for non-achievement

Human Capital Management: Submit the Government Wide strategy on the employment of Social Service Professionals to Cabinet by the end of the fourth quarter 2022/23 financial year.

 The Strategy was presented to the Technical Working Group for Social Protection. The Strategy will only be submitted to Cabinet in the next financial year 2023/24.

 

 

Legal Service: Table NPO Amendment Bill to Cabinet.

 

 

 

 

 

Submit the Draft SASSA Amendment Bill to Cabinet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Submit the Victim Support Services (VSS) Bill to Cabinet

NPO Amendment Bill was not tabled in Cabinet as planned by DSD. The reasons for cited for that is that the NPO Amendment Bill was withdrawn due to promulgation of the General Laws Amendment Act, 2022 which rendered the NPO Bill obsolete.

 

SASSA Amendment Bill was not presented to Cabinet. This is because the Bill is still being considered for a preliminary opinion by the Office of the Chief State Law Adviser. There are external dependencies in that the Bill must first have a preliminary certification with legality and constitutionality before it can be approved by Cabinet.

 

VSS Bill was not submitted to Cabinet. The delay in concluding the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) consultation prevented the Bill from being submitted to Cabinet on time. The Bill has been submitted to DSD on 11 May 2023 and the process to submit to Cabinet was underway. 

 

 

The following were some of the targets achieved under this programme:

Sub -programme: Entity Governance and Oversight Framework implemented

  • Quarterly implementation of the Entity and Oversight Framework (January-March 2023): engagements were held with the National Development Agency (NDA), the Central Drug Authority (CDA), the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP/Council). The Joint EXCO assisted in improving and resolving some of the challenges that were experienced by SASSA and South African Post Office (SAPO) in relation to paying of grants.

Sub- programme: Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Electronic Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) System for the Social Development Sector implemented: DSD reviewed the M&E System piloted in KZN and Gauteng Provinces.
  • Stakeholder and Donor Management Strategy Implemented: Report on the implementation of the stakeholder and donor management strategy was developed by the end of March 2023.

Sub-programme: Information Management Systems and Technology

  • National Information Social Protection Information System (NISPIS): The target of developing a report on system integrated toward the realization of NISPIS was achieved. This was done after consultation with participating departments. It was then presented and approved at Health and Social Development Society (HSDS).
  • The target of acquiring and registering the NISPIS Domain through SITA was achieved.
  • A report on systems integrated toward the realisation of NISPIS was produced by the end of March 2023, as planned.

 

Sub programme: Legal Service

  • Regulations on the Children’s Amendment Bill published: Draft Regulations on Children’s Amendment Bill were submitted to the Minister for approval by end of March 2023.
  • NDA Act reviewed: Draft Amendment NDA Bill developed as planned for the fourth quarter.
  • Regulations for Older Persons Amendment Bill approved: Draft Regulations on Older Persons Amendment Bill developed by the end of fourth quarter 2022/23 financial year.

 

  1. Programme 2: Social Assistance

 

Social Assistance transfers provide for the payment of social assistance grants to beneficiaries who qualify for social assistance in terms of the Social Security Act, 2004 (Act 13 of 2004). It provides only funding related to payments to social assistance grant beneficiaries by the South African Social Security Agency and does not include salaries to staff.

 

Only 1 (one) target was planned for this quarter for all grants.

Set targets for 2022/23

Reasons for non-achievement

Social Assistance: Monthly payment of social grant beneficiaries as administered and paid by SASSA on behalf of DSD:  planned target is to transfer R62.07 billion of funds to SASSA monthly. 

During the 2022 AENE process, an amount of R6 billion was declared a saving on the SRD R350 grant.  A 2nd Adjustment Budget was tabled in March 2023 where an additional amount of R3.7 billion was declared a saving on the SRD R350 grant, which resulted to a total amount of R9.7 billion declared as saving on the SRD R350 grant for the 2022/23 financial year.

 

 

  1. Programme 3: Social Security Policy and Administration

 

The purpose of this programme is to provide for social security policy development, administrative justice, administration of social grants and the reduction of incorrect benefits payments.

 

A total of 8 (eight) targets were planned to be achieved under this programme:

 

Set targets for 2022/23

Reasons for non-achievement

Comprehensive Social Security:  Develop Draft White Paper on Comprehensive Social Security.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjudicate 70% of appeals within 90 days of receipt

The draft White Paper on Comprehensive Social Security was not developed as it depends on the consideration of public comments on the refined Green Paper. The call for public comments is pending as government departments, primarily the National Treasury and the Department of Employment and Labour need to provide comments and inputs before Cabinet is requested for approval to re-gazette the Green Paper for public comments. DSD commenced engagements with government stakeholders. The White Paper will be developed after considering public comments on the Green Paper. DSD is fast tracking the engagements with other government departments.

 

The Tribunal adjudicated 2 572 appeals during the 4th quarter of which 711 (27.64%) were appeals adjudicated within 90 days of receipt.

 

 

 

 

The following were some of the targets achieved under this programme:

 

Sub-programme: Comprehensive Social Security

  • The Policy on Linking Children Grants Beneficiaries to Government Services was revised, and stakeholder consultations were conducted in all provinces with stakeholders including officials of the DSD and SASSA; social grant beneficiaries, civil society organizations, research institutions, COSATU, social protection related departments; Portfolio Committee on Social Development and forums such as the National Child Care and Protection Forum (NCCPF). Consultation report on the draft policy was developed.
  •  Consultations with relevant stakeholders were done and report on draft Policy on Maternal support for vulnerable pregnant women and children was reviewed.
  • Draft Policy for Income Support for 18 to 59 year olds was reviewed and consultation with important relevant stakeholders was done as planned by end of fourth quarter.
  • An Audit report on Disability Grant Medical Review Processes was produced.

 

  1. Programme 4: Welfare Services Policy Development and Implementation Support

 

This programme creates an enabling environment for the delivery of equitable developmental welfare services through the formulation of policies, norms and standards, and best practices.

 

A total of 24 targets were set to be achieved under this programme:

 

Set targets for 2022/23

Reasons for non-achievement

HIV and AIDS: Capacitate 200 SSPs on Social and Behaviour Change (SBC) programmes.

 

200 Social Service Professionals capacitated on Social and Behaviour Change (SBC) programmes. A total of 143 SSPs were capacitated on Social and Behaviour Change (SBC) programmes. The training scheduled for the 4th quarter took place in the previous quarters due to availability of the provinces. Provinces will be requested to identify training needs in the 1st quarter of each year.

Children’s Services: Capacitate 90 social workers on the Adoption Policy Framework and Strategy.

The target was not achieved due to unavailability of provinces.

Social Crime Prevention and Anti-Substance Abuse: Capacitate 2 Provinces to implement the National Drug Master Plan (NDMP)

 

Submit draft Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Use Disorders Policy to Cabinet for approval to gazette for public comments.

 

 

 

The target was not achieved. This was because other provinces were capacitated in the previous quarter due to availability.

                  

Policy was not submitted to Cabinet for approval to gazette for public comments as planned. A Draft Policy was reconsulted to include a new policy provision on Alcohol Harm Reduction Fund. The Draft Policy will be submitted to Cabinet for approval for gazetting for public comments in the 2023/24 financial year.

 

The following were some of the achieved targets under this programme:

 

Sub-programme: Children’s Legislation and Families

  • DSD overachieved its target of 5% by capacitating 35.5% (525) of the child protection workforce on the Children’s Act of the child protection workforce.
  • The annual monitoring report on the implementation of ISHP Plan to curb teenage pregnancy was consolidated.
  • The target of consolidating the monitoring Report on the implementation of family preservation programmes was achieved.

 

Sub-programme: Professional Social Services and Older Persons

  • A Readiness Assessment Report on the Implementation of the White Paper for Social Development was developed as planned.

Sub-programme: Social Crime Prevention and Anti-Substance Abuse

  • DSD Anti-Gang Strategy implemented: The Anti- Gang Strategy was implemented in three (3) high-risk districts (in Capricorn District in Polokwane, Vhembe District in Biba, Limpopo Province; Gert Sibande District in Secunda, Mpumalanga Province).
  • Education and awareness campaigns were conducted through the provision of prevention and early to curb social ills among children and youth in eight (8) instead of five (5) planned campuses.
  • Number of public treatment centres capacitated on the implementation of the UTC: three (3) instead of two (2) public treatment centres were capacitated on the implementation of the UTC in Madadeni and Khanyane Treatment Centres in KZN Province and Taung Treatment centre in North-West.
  • The NSP on Gender Based Violence and Femicide Pillar 4 of Response, Care, Support and Healing implemented: capacity build was conducted in five (5) GBVF hotspot districts on the Psychosocial and Intersectoral Policy on Sheltering Services. These are names of the districts, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg districts in Gauteng Province, Nelson Mandela Bay and Amathole districts in the Eastern Cape Province.

 

Sub-programme: Services for people with disabilities:

  • Capacity building on the implementation of the Respite Care Guidelines were conducted as planned in Bethlehem, Free State Province and Blaawbosch Youth Centre, Amajuba, KZN Province.

 

  1.  Programme 5: Social Policy and Integrated Service Delivery

 

This programme provides support to community development and promotes evidence-based policymaking in the Department and the social development sector.

 

A total of 21 targets were set to be achieved under this programme:

 

Set targets for 2022/23

Reasons for non-achievement

Poverty Alleviation, Sustainable Livelihood and Food Security: submit the reviewed Sustainable Livelihood Framework to Cabinet.

The Framework was not submitted to Cabinet as planned. The Framework was successfully presented to the Technical Working Group (TWG), and Social Protection, Community and Human Development (SPCHD) meetings. The framework must still go through other process before Cabinet. The submission of the reviewed Sustainable Livelihood Framework to Cabinet will be prioritised in the 2023/24 financial year.

Population and Development: Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Programme Improvement Plan finalised.

 

 

Train 23 municipalities on the integration of migration issues into the IDPs was recorded under this programme in the fourth quarter 2022/23 financial year.

This plan was not finalized. This was because the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Conference was only conducted in March 2023. This target was deferred to the 2023/24 financial year.

 

The target was not achieved. Only 21 municipalities were trained. Efforts were made to invite and sensitize more than 23 municipalities about the opportunities of the training, However, due to unforeseen circumstances 2 municipalities were unable to attend.

 

The following were some of the targets achieved under this programme:

Sub-programme: Social Policy

  • A report on the State of the People of South Africa was produced by the end of March 2023.

Sub-programme: Special Projects and Innovations

  • A total of 193 049 instead of 176 474 Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) work opportunities were created through the Social Sector EPWP by the end of the fourth quarter. This target was overachieved because of the Incentive Grant the programme received from National Treasury.

Sub-programme: Youth Development:

  • A Monitoring and Evaluation report on the implementation of the DSD Youth development Policy was produced.  

 Sub-programme: Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)

  • DSD Sector Funding Policy implemented: A consolidated report on capacity building was developed by the end of March 2023.
  • NPO Sector payment system implemented:  A target to train users in 3 provinces to implement system was recorded for the fourth quarter of 2022/23 financial year.

Sub-programme: Poverty Alleviation, Sustainable Livelihood and Food Security

  • An annual report on the implementation of the National Food and Nutrition Security Plan was developed as planned.

 

5. DELIBERATIONS

  • Finalisation of Bills: The Committee noted with concern that there has been no progress made in the finalisation of Bills that were to be finalised in the current medium-term period. It wanted to know when will the Department finalise the Non-profit Organisation Bill and other Bills. Will these Bills be finalised before the end of 6th administration?

 

The Department explained that the NPO Bill was not tabled in Cabinet. It was withdrawn due to the promulgation of the General Laws Amendment Act, 2022 which rendered the NPO Bill obsolete. The Act covers issues of money laundering which the NPO Bill had also covered.

  • Entity Oversight Framework:  The Committee also noted that the Department reported that it met its target of quarterly implementing its Entity Oversight Framework with its entities. It was however concerned that service delivery challenges, such as overcrowding at SASSA offices, lack of queue management, impact of loadshedding, challenges with South African Post Office and Postbank, continue to plague SASSA.

 

The Department reported that there is a technical committee that Ministers and officials of DSD and the Department of Communication and Digital Technologies sit on to address challenges of inefficiencies in the payment of social grants, particularly regarding Postbank and SAPO. The technical committee proposed that there should be a specific clear plan of action developed by DSD and SASSA to address service delivery challenges affecting the efficient payment of social grants.

  • Social ills: The Committee reiterated its concern over the high levels of substance abuse, gangsterism, teenage pregnancy. The impact of these social ills is inter-related. It then wanted to know if the Department conducted any impact analysis on the implementation of the Anti-Gangsterism Strategy in the high risk areas.

 

The Department reported that South Africa has a broad Anti-Gangsterism Strategy that is led by South African Police Service (SAPS). Departments are then required to develop their own strategies aligning them to their respective mandates. It is the mandate of SAPS to deal with broader anti-gangsterism. Monitoring of the anti-gangsterism strategy in schools is done by the Department of Basic Education.

 

There are 13 state owned substance abuse treatment centres in all provinces and the Department has standardised treatment provided. It also trained social workers to work with evidence-based programmes (UTC), which is in an internationally accredited programme.

 

  • Food security and child malnutrition: The Committee wanted to know if the Department conducts assessments to identify areas with high child malnutrition levels. What source document(s) is it using to identity these areas?

 

The Department acknowledged that child malnutrition rates are increasing in the country. It works with the Department of Basic Education to measure the number of children who visit health care facilities (clinics) for malnutrition. It has also reviewed its Community Nutrition Development Centres (CNDCs). It is also part of the multi-departmental committees that provide services and interventions to the children, particularly in most affected districts. These committees have some datasets they use to identify these children.

  • Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD): The Committee also wanted to know the reason behind the slow uptake of the SRD grant? The R9.7 billion saved on this grant was worrisome because there were still very high level of appeals not finalised, and payments not made even though applications were approved.

 

Regarding the R9.7 billion saved on SRD grant, the Department explained that National Treasury allocated the budget based on the estimated numbers the Department had submitted. The estimated numbers were based on the previous payment cycle, which was 11 million beneficiaries. However, with the revised stringent Regulations that excluded a lot of applicants, only 7 million beneficiaries were paid. With the September 2022 budget adjustments, the money was then taken over by National Treasury to fund other pressing priorities of the country.

 

The implementation of the SRD grant in 2020 was done in manner that was all inclusive but as the implementation of the grant was extended the Department had to tighten the criteria used as per the advice of National Treasury in consideration of the fiscal constraints of the country. There were also instances that people were receiving the grant illegally. There has also been about 10% of people who migrated out of the grant. The Department had made a request to National Treasury to increase the grant value to be above the poverty line, but the request was rejected.

  • NPO compliance: The Committee also wanted to know besides the training given to NPOs, does the Department have a programme that assists NPOs to comply with the NPO Act requirements? What are the reasons that complying NPOs were not funded? The Committee also wanted to know how the grey listing of the country had a bearing on the work of the Department.

 

Regarding capacity building of the NPOs for compliance, the Department launched a Know Your Status campaign mainly in Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. The NPO Act requires the Department to conduct capacity building to the newly registered NPOs. Department officials also conduct onsite assistance. The National Development Agency (NDA) also provides capacity building to non-compliant NPOs. The South African Institute for Business has also been working with the Department to assist NPOs.  The Department has also developed a model in which developed NPOs should also assist about 20 small NPOs.

 

  • Alcohol Harm Reduction Fund: The Committee sought clarity on what the Alcohol Harm Reduction Fund is.

 

The Department explained that it had developed a Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Use Disorders Policy, but it had no mechanism for fundraising to fight substance abuse. The policy was then amended to include a chapter on Alcohol Harm Reduction Fund for fundraising. The policy has now been submitted to Cabinet.

 

  • Social Welfare Index: The Committee also wanted to know when would the Social Welfare Index go live?

 

The Department explained that the commitment for 2022/2023 was to develop the index, which was going to be the first one in the country. A concept document was concluded, and it provided a guidance on how these indexes are designed and which best practices can be implemented in South Africa. The next stage would be to cost the agreed option or best practice. The final report will be provided to the Committee.

 

  • Policy Linking CSG beneficiaries to Government Services: The Committee also wanted to know when will this policy be finalised?

 

  • Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP): The Committee also wanted to know where or how do people apply for the work opportunities through Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP)? It raised a concern that jobs that created are not sustainable and people are only paid R1 500 even though minimum wage in the country is R3 500.

 

The Department explained that payment of EPWP workers it is regulated by the Department of Labour and Employment, which is R112 a day. The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is responsible for advertisement and recruitment, and it works closely with municipalities. 

 

  • Expenditure reports: The Committee also wanted to know the reason the expenditure reports of the Department are different to that of National Treasury documents?

 

The Department explained that the Section 32 reports of National Treasury do not include virements the Department makes between programmes. These are submitted at a later stage to National Treasury.

  • Inspectorate for Social Assistance: It also wanted to know what has caused delays in the establishment of the Inspectorate. It has been seven (7) years now.

 

  • Sustainable Livelihood Framework: It also wanted to know the reason the Framework was not submitted to Cabinet for approval. This is concerning considering the rise in the cost of living.

 

The Department explained that the Framework is a tool that Community Development Practitioners (CDPs) use to empower communities. It did not need to be submitted to Cabinet but after it was revised the Department was requested to submit it to Cabinet. It acknowledged that there were delays in finalising it and it apologised for that.

The resolutions that were made in the meeting are included in the Committee minutes.

Report to be noted.