ATC090701: Report Budget Vote 16: Social Development and its entities

Social Development

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on Budget Vote 16: Social Development and its entities, dated 1 July 2009:


The Portfolio Committee on Social Development, having met with the Department of Social Development, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the National Development Agency (NDA), reports as follows:


1.             Department of Social Development


The Department has the following programmes:


Programme 1: Administration


This programme is aimed at managing and providing support and advisory services to the Ministry and Department. The programme’s budget increased from R156.2 million in 2008 /09 to R156.4 million in 2009/10, marking a 0.13 percent increase in nominal terms (but a 5.0 percent decrease in real terms).


Programme 2: Comprehensive Social Security


The aim of the programme is to provide social protection policy and income support to the elderly, children, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. Thus, this programme’s core function is to alleviate poverty among vulnerable groups in society and to provide social assistance to all eligible beneficiaries.


Programme 2 dominates the overall departmental expenditure, constituting 99.03 percent of the Department’s budget for 2009/10. For this financial year, expenditure for this program reached R85.5bn, reflecting nominal growth of 12.82 percent (7.04 percent  in real terms).


Programme 3: Policy Development, Review and Implementation Support for Welfare Services


The programme aims to develop support and oversee integrated social welfare services policy implementation.


The budget allocated to this programme increased from R211.2 million in 2008/09 to R329.3 in 2009/10, marking a significant increase in both nominal (55.9 percent) and real terms (47.9 percent). However, this programme constitutes 0.4 per cent of the overall departmental budget.


Programme 4: Community Development


The programme aims to develop, support and oversee policy for the practice of community development.


The budget allocation for the programme increased from R237.8 million in 2008/09 to R248.4 million in 2009/10, accounting for a 4.4 percent increase in nominal terms. However, in real terms the allocation for this Programme declined by 0.9 percent.


Programme 5: Strategy and Governance


The purpose of the programme is to co-ordinate strategic management, monitoring and evaluation of social development programmes, including those of its public entities.


The budget allocated to Programme 5 declined slightly from R102.2 million in 2008/09 to R101.1 million in 2009/10. This marks a decrease of 1.08 percent in nominal terms, and 6.14 percent in real terms.


The total budget allocation for the Department of Social Development increased substantially over the medium term, reaching R102.3 billion in 2011/12. The increase is mainly due to the comprehensive social security programme, which aims to enhance social assistance and welfare services among the South African population. The Department’s overall budget increased from R76.5 billion in 2008/09, to R86.4 billion in 2009/10 (12.87 percent in nominal terms and 7.09 percent in real terms). The bulk of the departmental budget (99.5 percent) was allocated to transfers and subsidies. The largest transfer is approximately R80.4 billion in value, and is intended to provide for social assistance.




To provide a caring and integrated system of social development services that facilitates human development and an improved quality of life.




To enable the poor, the vulnerable and those previously excluded to secure a better life for themselves, in partnership with them and with all those who are committed to building a caring society.




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.


The Department’s thematic areas are:


a)       Tackling child poverty.

b)       Tackling adult and older persons poverty.

c)       Social Cohesion.

d)       Youth Development.

e)       Sector capacity building.

f)         Governance and institutional development.

g)       Regional and international solidarity and engagement.


Key priorities


The Department has identified the following priority areas:


a)       Speed up growth and transformation of the economy.

b)       Fight against poverty.

c)       Build social cohesion and state legitimacy.

d)       Build the developmental state.

e)       Promote the values of international cooperation.


Annual performance targets


The Department set the following annual performance targets:


a)       Comprehensive Social Security - these include reduction of poverty, vulnerability and risk exposure through social assistance, improving the Appeals Tribunal effectiveness and efficiency, setting up a comprehensive appeals stakeholder liaison framework, and reviewing and proposing reforms on the social security legislation around appeals.


b)       Welfare Services - the targets include improving welfare service delivery by developing, piloting and implementing norms and standards for delivering social welfare services by 2009/10. The Department plans to reduce substance abuse by developing regulations of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act, No 70 of 2008 by 2010/11, transform services to older people by developing service delivery guidelines by 2010/11, protect and promote the rights of people with disabilities by facilitating and developing policies and strategies on disability by 2011/12, and empower families by developing an integrated plan for implementing the family policy in 2009/10. It also aims to protect people affected by violence and crime by developing a shelter strategy and victim empowerment policy in 2009/10. It will improve the protection and care of children by facilitating the implementation of the Children’s Act, No. 38 of 2005 by developing policies and strategies aimed at promoting children’s rights.


c)       Community Development will focus on protecting and empowering vulnerable youth by conducting an audit on youth services by March 2010. The Department aims to complete and launch the sustainable livelihood toolkit for community development practitioners by March 2010. This will strengthen the capacity of Practitioners and communities to achieve sustainable livelihood. It will improve community food security by developing a concept document on community food banks by March 2010. This will include establishing two community food banks by March 2011 and three food banks by March 2012. It will improve community development practice by developing a national Community Development framework focusing on professionalisation and skills development plan for community development practitioners by 2010/11. It will ensure efficiency in the non profit organisation registration by registering all NGOs within two months of receiving applications. To reduce vulnerability to HIV infection and mitigate its impact, the Department will develop guidelines to promote behaviour change and norms and standards by 2009/10.


d)       Strategy and Governance – the Department will focus on improving planning and service delivery in the social development sector through best practice on planning, business processes improvements and customer centred service delivery model.  It will improve accountability and promote service delivery across the sector by implementing a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation systems.  It will improve corporate governance of public entities, bodies and boards by developing and rolling out performance management framework, quarterly performance assessment of entities by March 2010. Lastly, it will integrate population trends and dynamics into departmental planning by developing the five year population and development strategy by March 2010.


Key achievements


The Department had the following achievements in 2008/09:


a)       Financial Management - Over the past three years the Department spent more than 98 percent of its budget. Comprehensive Social Security programme received the bulk budget allocation in 2008/09 and 99 percent was spent. The Department received an unqualified audit opinion four years in succession.


b)       Human Resources - In order to address the shortage of social workers in the country, the Department awarded scholarships to 4 800 students to register for courses in social work at various tertiary institutions in the country.


c)       Policy and Legislation – The Social Assistance Act, No. 13 of 2004 was amended to make men eligible at the age of 60 to qualify for the old age grant by 2010.  The Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill was passed by Parliament in November 2008.  Regulations of the Older Persons Act were tabled in Parliament.  Regulations for the Children’s Act were finalised and will guide the implementation of the Act.


d)       Social Safety Net - The past financial year saw the largest expansion of the social safety net in the country, with over 13 million people benefiting from social grants.


e)       Appeals Tribunal – During the financial year under review the Minister appointed 128 individuals to serve on the Independent Tribunal for Social Assistance Appeals.  By the end of the financial year 2008/09, 60 970 appeals had been lodged with the Minister, and 13 269 of these were considered and finalised.


f)         Families – the Department adopted a number of policies and strategies that seek to preserve families and inculcate a culture of respect for the institution of marriage.  A white paper on families will be finalised.


g)       Children – 12 293 Early Childhood Development (ECD) sites were registered, with 667 231 children benefiting and 500 000 subsidized.


h)       Drug and Substance Abuse – The Department’s flagship campaign against drug and substance abuse, the Ke Moja campaign, reached approximately 750 000 people and over 100 service providers, including social workers who received training on the management of substance abuse.


i)         War-on-poverty Campaign – the Department participated in the War on Poverty Campaign which is spearheaded by the Presidency. The Department is also represented in the National Task Team of the War Room against Poverty.


j)         Non-Profit Organisations – 12 393 applications for non-profit organisations were received and processed within two month and 6 819 met registration requirements.


k)       Youth Development – 2 114 youth pioneers were recruited into the Masupatsela Youth Pioneer programme and 1 754 youth participated in the war-on-poverty initiatives.


l)         HIV and AIDS – The Department initiated a number of prevention programmes in collaboration with Love Life and provided funding to Love Life’s lifestyle programmes which saw thousands of young people participate in HIV prevention initiatives.


m)     International Obligations – A major outcome of the International Comprehensive Social Security Conference hosted by the Department in March 2008 was the establishment in South Africa of a Liaison Office for the International Social Security Association in Southern Africa.




a)  There is still high level of poverty and unemployment and thus many poor households are vulnerable to numerous social ills like extreme hunger, social crime, woman and child abuse, and this impact negatively on the moral fibre of the South African society.


b)  The national discourse on the reform of retirement provision continues in earnest.  These reforms aim to overhaul the current fragmented and inefficient system in the country in order to ensure adequate income security for all South African citizens when they retire.


c)  The sector has also been challenged to engage in other key strategic areas such as making some of the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) jobs permanent as well as linking EPWP with other second economy strategic initiatives.


2.             South African Social Security Agency (SASSA)




To provide a comprehensive social security service that assists people to be self-sufficient and supporting those in need.




To manage quality social security services, effectively and efficiently to eligible and

potential beneficiaries.




The values to which SASSA subscribes to are:


a)       Social cohesion.

b)       Transparency.

c)       Equity.

d)       Integrity.

e)       Confidentiality and

f)         Customer Care Centered approach.


Strategic Objective


a)  To build a high performance institution which manifests itself by compliance to good governance principles and striving towards operational excellence through continued service delivery improvements to the beneficiaries.


Key priorities


SASSA has set the following key priorities for 2009 – 2012:


a)  Customer Care Centred Benefits Administration and Management System


This covers policy issues around the extension and phasing in of the Child Support Grant up to the age of 18. SASSA will develop a beneficiary maintenance framework to ensure that beneficiaries in the system are properly audited and are still entitled to receive benefits. The payment mechanisms are currently structured that will enable beneficiaries to either receive grants at pay points or receive it through banks. Currently over 70 percent beneficiaries receive payments in cash. This has been identified as risky in terms of the safety of the beneficiaries. It is also expensive to operate in that security guards need to be hired. To address this SASSA plans to move towards a direct banking system.


 b)  Improved Organizational Capacity


This includes building infrastructure, which is currently inadequate to address the challenges of lack of office space for SASSA regional offices. Some regional offices have no offices and they share with the Department of Social Development and this increases the risk for fraud.


c) Comprehensive and Integrated Social Security Administration and Management Services


SASSA has set a priority to build an institutional model which will be in line with its legislative mandate. This will enable it to take the appropriate initiatives and policy decisions at the right time, and ensure it delivers on them. It will also implement a Case Management System, which will enable it to assess other needs of the beneficiary, such as health, education and other social needs.  It will then refer the identified needs to relevant departments for intervention. For instance a person who receives a social grant, but is able-bodied to work, could be assisted to find work in the EPWP or receive training.


Funds flow configuration for grants budget


a) SASSA manages grants on an ‘agency’ basis on behalf of the Department of Social Development and this often results in dual accountability.


b)  SASSA pays and fully administers the social assistance grants.


c) The Department of Social Development is financially accountable for the social assistance transfers.




Dual accountability adversely impact decision-making and is not in line with the long term strategic intent for SASSA and the legislation.




a)  Resources – Inadequate funding makes it difficult for SASSA to reach remote areas due to limited capacity and resources. This involves inadequate funding; demand for social assistance exceeds the available resources. Lack of resources delays the finalisation of projects. It also has a high turnover rate due to recruitment of their staff, once trained, by other organisations.


b)  Systems and Processes – This involves inadequate infrastructure, inadequate internal communication processes, lack of real life interface with other sources of data, legacy challenges relating to autonomy of provinces and non-compliance.


3.             The National Development Agency (NDA)




To develop a society free from poverty.




To facilitate development through targeted grant funding, research and strategic partnership.


Primary mandate


To contribute towards the eradication of poverty and its causes by granting funds to civil society organisations for the purpose of  implementing development projects of poor communities and strengthening the institutional capacity of other civil society organizations that provide services to poor communities.


Secondary mandate


To promote consultation, dialogue and sharing of development experience between civil society organisations and relevant organs of state, debate development policy to undertake research and publication aimed at providing the basis for development policy.


NDA Strategy


The three year strategy (2009 – 2012) focuses on fulfilling NDA’s mandate of poverty alleviation. It also encompasses recognition of the financial constraints within which the organisation operates.


The NDA strategy includes four strategic goals which are:


a)        Goal One – promoting sustainable development.  Its purpose is to contribute to the eradication of poverty through grant funding, which is the core business of the agency, and resource mobilisation. The Agency has undertaken to allocate 65 percent of its budget toward grants and the remaining budget toward operational costs. A decision was made to source external additional funding to complement funding for its operational costs.


b)        Goal Two – promoting organisational sustainability, development practice and excellence.  Its purpose is to develop additional income streams to build and sustain the capacity to enable the Agency to operate efficiently and effectively.


c)        Goal Three – promoting interface between Civil Society Organisation (CSOs), Research Institutions, Development Practitioners and the State on development issues.  The purpose is to facilitate dialogue to inform development policy and service delivery.


d)        Goal Four – facilitate research that informs grant decisions, procedures and development policy. Its purpose is to facilitate information and knowledge generation to strengthen the development programming of the NDA and informing development practice and policy.


Grant Funding


a)       The NDA receives an annual allocation from National Treasury through the National Department of Social Development.

b)       65 percent of the total grant allocation is allocated to grants for the CSOs to implement poverty eradication programmes.

c)       The grant allocation is proportionally split amongst provinces using a pre-determined formula based on Statistics South Africa poverty indices.

d)       The biggest allocations historically have been to three provinces which are Kwa-Zulu Natal, Eastern Cape and Limpopo. Since 2007, the NDA took a strategic decision to increase baseline allocations to Free State, North Westand Mpumalanga provinces.

e)       It provides grants to CSOs to implement projects in income generation and food security sectors to eradicate poverty.

f)         It grants funds to CSOs through two approaches, which are, Request For Proposals (RFP) and Programme Formulation( PF).

g)       Funds granted to CSOs are in line with Provincial Growth and Development Strategy (PGDS), Integrated Developments Plans (IDP’s) and Government wide priorities.

h)       NDA visits communities and invite people to apply and it supports whatever project is popular in the area. It also advertises on radio and newspapers.


Disbursement to projects 2004 – 2008


a)       In the 2003/4 financial year, the NDA disbursed R104.7m to funded projects.

b)       In the 2004/5 financial year, the NDA disbursed R90.1m to funded projects.

c)       In the 2005/6 financial year, the NDA disbursed R55.6 m to funded projects.

d)       In the 2006/7 financial year, the NDA disbursed R49.5m to funded projects.

e)       In the 2007/8 financial year, the NDA disbursed R76.6m to funded projects.

f)         In the 2008/9 financial year, the NDA disbursed R85.8m to funded projects.


Capacity Building


a)       The legislative mandate requires the NDA to strengthen the institutional capacity of CSOs that provide services to the poor.

b)       The NDA has over the past five years up-scaled a programme of strengthening capacity of CSOs in the country.  This has included capacity interventions in technical, management and leadership strengthening.

c)       Furthermore, the NDA has strengthened NGO networks and consortia to provide coordination and “voice” for the poor on public policy matters.

d)       All 408 funded projects in the period under review have included a significant component of institutional capacity strengthening in programme implementation.

e)       In 2006/07, the NDA launched a capacity building programme for CSOs with an investment of R25.7m, working in partnership with universities and accredited service providers throughout the country.


Programme design of Civil Society Organisations Strengthening Programme


Its purpose is to strengthen the institutional capacity of grassroots organisations        to deliver quality services and programmes to alleviate poverty.


This programme is divided into three phases which are:


a)       Conducting Assessments.

b)       Developing learning programs and materials.

c)       Implementation of training, coaching, mentoring and support. 


Achievements and highlights


a)       Since inception, in March 2000, the NDA has committed to projects in sectors such as economic development, food security, community health and education.

b)       This has benefited 417 500 direct households and indirectly benefited 2 260 736 poor people.

c)       20 service providers were appointed in all nine provinces of South Africa.

d)       643 CSOs have directly benefited from capacity building strengthening interventions.

e)       9 645 individuals have been trained in project management, financial management, community organising, resource mobilisation, public policy analysis and public participation and technical skills in specific areas such as agriculture and provision of water and sanitation.




a)  The NDA has serious financial constraints within which it is operating. There is a direct need for additional funding to enable the NDA to further fulfil its mandate. 


b) The NDA is pursuing the goal of raising additional funds through initiatives such as service level agreements with government departments to assist with programme   implementation, monitoring and evaluation. It also explores commercial opportunities for the sale and marketing of NDA project products and commercial partnerships with service agreements for the sale of NDA services e.g. monitoring and evaluation and capacity building.


Committee concerns


The Committee registered the following concerns:


  1. Many people, especially in the rural areas, who apply for social grants have to wait for months before the application is granted. The Committee requested SASSA to put a strategy in place to address this.


  1. Social security is the biggest poverty alleviation tool of government but there should not be an over reliance on social grants especially intergenerational. The economy and government should create sustainable jobs so that beneficiaries of grants can graduate from it and become economically independent. The Committee indicated that the economic cluster of government should give attention to this matter. 


  1. In terms of One Stop Service Centres, SASSA does not have enough mobile trucks and offices, especially in rural areas.  Their offices close early sometimes so that the officials have to go to the pay points. The Committee has noted with concern that SASSA has a 60 percent vacancy rate. The Committee indicated that there should be improved service delivery in rural areas and the shortage of resources (staff) should be addressed.


  1. There is a lack of visibility of SASSA in rural areas and occasional visits are not adequate to serve the communities. The Committee requested SASSA to intensify its work with Home Affairs regarding birth certificates and identity documents. SASSA needs to increase its visits and mobile trucks in rural areas.  Additional resources need to be made available to SASSA. The Committee intends to request SASSA to brief it on an improved service delivery plan on the mobile trucks and its working relationship with the Department of Home Affairs. 


  1. The Committee raised a concern with regard to the lack of access to banking facilities by people from rural areas. The Committee indicated that there is a need to mobilise communities to organise community banks and encourage other institutions such as the post office to provide services in rural areas.


  1. It has been observed that in areas bordering Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana and Lesotho, non-South Africans receive social grants then return home (to the above-mentioned countries) the same day. The Committee recommends that SASSA, the Department of Home Affairs and the South African Police Services in consultation with local Chiefs and community leaders should work together in cleaning up the beneficiary database. The Department should also involve community policing forums.


  1. The Committee has noted that the Non Profit Organisation (NPO) sector needs continuous capacity building programmes so that they can effectively and efficiently serve communities. There is a lack of timeous payment ofNPO’s and that impacts negatively on their operations especially in the provinces. The Committee indicated that National Department and Provincial Departments need to capacitate NPOs with accredited training so that they can run their affairs and comply with funding specifications of government and other funders.  Quality assurance needs to be done to ensure that they comply with service standards.  Provinces must pay NPOs on time (subsidies and trenches).


  1. The Committee noted the dominant male presence of senior management at SASSA, NDA and the Department. The Committee stated that there should be more representation of female senior managers, especially, at the DDG level and other strategic decision making positions.




a)       The Committee acknowledged the overall improvement in the delivery of social assistance since the inception of SASSA and congratulates them on it.  However, it recommends that SASSA should speed up processes offinalising the establishment of their offices at local level so as to further improve service delivery.

b)       The Committee intends to request the Department to brief it on retirement reforms and to request a briefing by SASSA on the means test.

c)       The Committee recommended that when the Department presents its annual report later in the year, it should make a presentation on its role in the collective task team dealing with overall challenges of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, particularly relating to substance abuse.

d)       The Committee made an undertaking that members will be visiting service sites during parliament’s recess as part of their oversight responsibilities.

e)       The Committee indicated that Older Person’s Service Delivery Standards should be developed in consultation with stakeholders of the sector.




The Committee wishes to thank the Minister, the Department of Social Development, SASSA and NDA for their co-operation during the budget hearings.


The Committee recommends that Budget Vote 16 be passed.



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