Hansard: NCOP: Unrevised hansard

House: National Council of Provinces

Date of Meeting: 06 Sep 2023


No summary available.


Watch here: Plenary 


The Council met at 10:06.

The Deputy Chairperson took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.





delegates, before we proceed, I would like to remind delegates of the Rules relating to virtual and hybrid meetings and sittings in particular subrules 21 to 22 and 23 of Rule 1 or 3, which provides as follows: The hybrid sitting constitutes a sitting of the National Council of Provinces. Delegates in the hybrid sitting enjoy the same powers and privileges that apply in a sitting of the National Council of Provinces. For purposes of decorum, all delegates who are locked on to the virtual platform shall be considered present. Delegates must switch on their videos if they want to speak. They should further ensure that the microphones on their electronic devices are muted and must remain muted unless they are permitted to speak. All delegates in the Chamber may connect to the virtual platform and must insert their cards to register on the Chamber system. Delegates who are physically in the Chamber must use the floor microphones. All delegates may participate in the discussions through the chatroom. In addition, I would like to remind delegates that the interpretation facility is supposed to be active. Permanent delegates, special delegates, Salga representatives and members of the executive on the virtual platform are requested to ensure that the interpretation facility on their devices is properly activated to facilitate access to the interpretation service. Permanent delegates, special delegates, Salga representatives and members of the executive in the Chamber should use the interpretation instruments on their desks to access the interpretation facilities.


Question 195:

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Chairperson and good morning to our hon members, we have not been together for a long time and now we are back. To hon Njadu’s Question 95, we are very happy to get this question from the hon member residing in the Western Cape asking about this issue. Malaria in South Africa is endemic in only three provinces: Kwazulu- Natal, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo, with the rest of the country reporting imported cases. The malaria transmitting mosquitoes knows no boundaries and led by the WHO, South Africa’ strategy, forms part of a multicountry coalition to eliminate malaria and consisting of many factors I am going to raise; hence we are called an E8, we are part of the E8 countries that must eliminate malaria. We do detection of suspected malaria cases in a timely manner at facility level, we also do active case finding implemented at community level, we do the screening and subsequent testing of patients who show signs and symptoms of malaria, which is prioritized in facilities that are in those endemic communities. This is to ensure patients are promptly diagnosed and treated with the recommended first line treatment to avert unfavorable outcomes and to disrupt ongoing transmission and spread. Another one, we do case management strategy through the testing and treating of uncomplicated malaria cases by our environmental health practitioners. We do surveillance units. We have surveillance units that are deployed to the border areas to expand access to early diagnosis and treatment for border communities as well as mobile and migrant populations.

The vector control through indoor residual spraying supplements these efforts in the treatment and we do that on stagnant water bodies and called Lepisosteidae. In South Africa, this indoor residual spraying is timed to cover the peak transmission periods. When employed at a high enough coverage where it provides community protection by reducing the mosquito population. Right now, we are about to do that because it is before the rainy seasons, which then helps us to reduce the capacity of malaria vectors to transmit malaria.

We also target health promotion and health prevention in communities. On our strategies, yes, we think they are successful. Since the scale up of this indoor residual spraying programme, which was started in 2009, we strongly supported by the cross-border health promotion screening of treatment activities, malaria cases have significantly declined and the deaths have declined proportional more in Kwazulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, to some extent not as much they have declined in them in Limpopo. I thank you.

Mr E Z NJADU: Good morning, hon Deputy Chairperson, acknowledging the Deputy Minister and all the members. Thank you very much, Deputy Minister for your comprehensive response to my question. It is evident that the strategies to eliminate malaria are successful. There has been a massive decrease in the number of cases and deaths by malaria. Does the department have any timeframes by which we might see zero deaths from malaria? Thank you very much, hon Deputy Chairperson and Deputy Minister.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon members and hon Chair, we do have pressure as countries like South Africa, Eswatini, Mozambique, Botswana, Malawi and Zimbabwe, countries which all belong to what we call E8. We must eliminate malaria so that countries above us, like Zambia and Tanzania, can also begin to reduce. So, they can’t until we eliminate. We have the pressure to do so, and on the countries that I have mentioned, the one that is likely to do it better and faster is South Africa because it is not in the whole of the country, but it is just on three provinces.

Again, we have seen serious strides where there have been no deaths in Kwazulu-Natal for the past two years. There are still some sparks of death in Mpumalanga, significantly where we have pressure is in Limpopo. Of course, you can tell because Limpopo is bordering Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. So, as I am saying, mosquitoes know no borders, whatever is affecting Mozambique, come to our areas very strongly. So, it is difficult to set a timeframe until we put very strong cross-border support. Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe will depend on how much support we give them so that they could be able to begin to reduce. We could put for KwaZulu-Natal because they are almost close to ... and maybe in two to three years, malaria should be a story of the past in KwaZulu-Natal. Thank you very much.

Mr M R BARA: Good morning, Deputy Minister, Chair, my follow up question is related to the fact that after the recent floods in and around KwaZulu-Natal, which is a breeding ground for malaria. My question is: To what extent are South Africans in areas like Mpumalanga, Limpopo, and KwaZulu-Natal, where malaria is rife educated on malaria symptoms and steps to take on early detection? Thank you, Deputy Chair.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Firstly, let me start by saying, as I indicated in my initial response, that right now is a very good time for us to do residual spraying because it is before the rainy season. We should spray and prepare our communities there. Even if you have a lot of floods in and around Durban, whatever mosquitoes that you get in Durban will be not the ones that are transmitting ... it will just be mosquitoes that would ... it won’t be the Anopheles species that are a problem in the Mozambique and the uMkhanyakude district. But you are correct. What do we do? We then get a very strong buy in from the traditional leaders because if you are going to do the spraying and talking about these issues in the community, you should get a buy in and support of the traditional leadership and that they are very strong in that part. So, we do have that strong support, but our people do listen. There has always been this issue on whether to use DDT or not use DDT. There was an issue that was coming out of there ... Our people do get into those spaces. So, a very important part for us as the Department of Health, we don’t have people that we employ every year who are focused on these issues of malaria. It is people who are residing in those areas, coming from those communities, who know the community very well, and who have been accepted by the community. They then educate and help in promotion in those areas. So, we don’t have a lot of challenges in that space in terms of getting the people and our citizens to accept the health promotion and health education that we provide. Thank you very much, Chair.

Mr M J MAGWALA: Good morning, Minister, good morning to the House, to the hon members, this is fighter, hon Magwala, Minister, it is concerning to note that ... [Interjections.}

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Why are you fighting here?


Mr M J MAGWALA: South Africa still carries a high malaria – you are disturbing me, Chair - burden in these provinces such as Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and Gauteng - hon Bara. Which intervention has been put in place to eliminate and eventually eradicate malaria in these provinces? Since malaria is a preventable and curable disease, how prepared are the local clinics to handle these outbreaks? Don’t you think it’s about time now to open our clinics 24/7? I thank you.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Magwala, it is not accurately correct to say there is a high burden of malaria in Gauteng, there is just no reason to call it a high burden.
What we normally see in Gauteng is imported malaria, where a Gauteng resident had been out of the country and then that citizen comes back, or a visitor comes to visit there. It is very different in Limpopo and Mpumalanga where we are reducing the burden. There are areas which are endemically malaria there. So, there is no endemicity of malaria in Gauteng, it is imported malaria that come from the areas where people have been visiting. Now, according to history, it doesn’t matter whether the patient has come to Western Cape, if the person says I have a travel history, I have been to Mozambique, we look not only for malaria, but we also look for cholera and those things that are endemic there. So, it is not really tied up whether the facility is 24 hours service or not. All our health care workers have a high index of suspicion of these diseases when patients do report that they have a travel history either from Mozambique, or Malawi. So, that is something that we are getting up to. The opening up of a 24- hour service is now a new question and is dependent on the capacity and resource planning that we need to do as a department, but we are not having a challenge eliminating malaria because it is linked to a 24-hour service or not 24- hour service. Our health care workers are well-trained in picking up signs and symptoms of malaria. It doesn’t matter where a patient is landing in the country. Thank you very much.

Mr N M HADEBE: Hon Deputy Chairperson, I greet the hon Deputy Minister Dinangwe. My follow up question is: How much of your department’s budget, Dinangwe, have these programmes cost this year alone? Thank you, hon Deputy Chair.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Firstly, Makhulukhulu, it is very difficult to quantify because you are not being specific, whether he means in terms of the human resources, the people that we employ permanently; secondly, the equipment that must be repaired or that must be improved. So, it will be difficult to quantify. I can just list things that are done as a cost.
There are staff members who are residents permanently looking into ... I wouldn’t even know, or I wouldn’t even attempt to say how many in Limpopo, how many in KwaZulu-Natal, and how many in Mpumalanga. But there are also what we call casual workers who, during the season of spraying, we employ them to come and support us and their job is done within two to three months, So, that also must be quantified; and lastly, there are certain equipment that we use to do the indoor residual spraying, the vehicles to be replaced. So, it is quite a a sizeable quantity. I would not be able to qualify it now and say it is this amount that we spend per province, and as a country, on doing the malaria outreach programmes. Thank you very much, Chair.

Question 187:

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Whenever I come to this House, I know I must prepare something about Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital for hon Christians. The question was asking us on the backlogs. We had to source this information from the Department of Health in the Northern Cape. According to this information, the current surgical backlogs at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberly stands at 6 000 cases as of 23 August 2023. This backlog was also due to an accumulation by COVID. The following table that I will summarise presents the cases.

The first one is neurology with 471 cases, and the waiting time is really long with up to 20 months. There are 221 general surgery clients with four to five months waiting time. The orthopaedics on all the disciplines of broken bones, fixing this and that is two to three months waiting time. The ear, nose and throat illnesses have 977 cases, and the waiting time could go up to six months. Ophthalmology which are diseases associated with eyes, largely cataracts, stands at about 2 794. Majority of those are cataracts, and the waiting time there is relatively short with up to two months of waiting to have a cataract removal. Plastic surgery has 52 cases with no waiting time. Oral and maxillofacial, repairing of face injuries and all that has no waiting time with 65 patients. Obstetrics and gynaecology have 250 000 patients with multiple operations. The waiting period can go ... [Interjections.]

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I should really stop you there if you are saying 250 000 cases.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: No, 250 cases ...


The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: We need to correct that for the record because you said 250 000.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: ... 250 patients in obstetrics and gynaecology. Thank you very much, Deputy Chair. To the extent, on the elective cases, the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital has a possibility to operate and has eight theatres. Unfortunately, due to severe speciality nursing staff shortage, the hospital can only operate in three theatres on a daily basis, Mondays to Fridays. One theatre is reserved for elective surgeries which are performed daily from 8:00 until 16:00 from Monday to Friday.

Emergency surgeries are done daily and are done 24 hours a day according to the information we have. During weekends the hospital only performs emergency surgeries, and the average number of emergencies per week is about 105. Thank you very much, Deputy Chairperson.

Ms D C CHRISTIANS: Good morning, Deputy Chairperson, to the Deputy Minister, thank you for the answer about the hospital. I think that you will agree with me that it is a dire state of affairs that we are facing at the hospital. My follow up question is then about the overall state of health care in the Northern Cape.

The recent developments concerning irregular procurement financial conduct and sever staffing shortages that the Deputy Minister has just mentioned now, has caused a distressing shadow over the provision of medical care to our citizens in the Northern Cape, especially at that hospital. The ongoing legal saga involving Dr Dion Theys and his co-accused along with the alleged involvement in violating the Public Financial Management Act raises questions about allocation of legal fees as well, and the potential misuse of public funds which could be leading to problems at that hospital that we have seen.

Equally concerning is the reported loss of R16,9 million due to irregular procurement of personal protective equipment during the pandemic. Now, Deputy Minister, money allocated for health should be spent on health care for our people and not on legal fees, and also not on dodgy procurement deals.
Considering the recurrent challenges faced by the hospital that we are speaking about, as the Deputy Minister has alluded that every time I come to the House I speak about the same hospital, but also across hospitals in the entire Northern Cape, could you clarify the immediate measures being taken to rectify the financial misconduct? How are we going to recover the funds and ensure accountability for those implicated in the Northern Cape? Thank you.

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Deputy Minister, you know that you can respond if it comes from the original question that was on surgeries. So, it depends on you how you respond.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Christians is raising ... thank you, Deputy Chairperson ... is raising certain things that are currently being investigated and have not come to the Minister and us as national. However, all I can say is that we are concerned about the shortages and the issues of financial management improvement in the whole province and that hospital in particular. These are things that I don’t really have here with me. All I can say is that such issues are related to not having enough staff members due to other budgetary constraints. Some of the backlog is related to support that we were receiving from the Free State pre-COVID. So, post-COVID, every province is currently dealing with what they have. So, the reliance of the Northern Cape from provinces nearby to clear the backlog, Pelonomi in particular, is really reduced and hence we have this.

To the other issues that the hon Christians is asking on how we plan to improve, there is what we call anticorruption forum within the department with many other structures assisting us there. We should also not shy away from saying that any corruption that takes money from the public services must be investigated, and in this space I am not able to provide you with the progress in the province, particularly at that hospital, what we are doing and what has been done and achieved on that. Thank you very much.

Ms N NDONGENI: Good morning, Deputy Chairperson and the Deputy Minister. Thank you, hon Deputy Minister, for the response.
Does the department have any long-term plans in place to ensure that the hospital is able to operate in all the available theatres because this will assist in dealing with the backlogs? Thank you, Deputy Chair.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Theatre technique training is very specialised training for nurses. It is a nurse that has obtained a diploma and also has specialisation in training. We do not even have an abundance of that in the country. You would always realise that because people are highly specialised, they can pick and choose where they want to work. The most far-flung parts of our country will therefore be at the receiving end of not having enough.

Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital is one of those hospitals that are really trying. We have eight theatres available, but at any given time we have three to four that are operational daily. The challenge is the shortage of the staff because it is just me and you or anybody that can operate. So, until we improve ... by the way, there is also pressure once you are highly specialised. You then pick and choose where to work, and the country that attracts you.

Those are the challenges we face as most rural provinces in terms of attracting highly specialised personnel to assist us. I wouldn’t really be able to put a date and a mark on when we shall be able to have all theatres functioning there because of these challenges I have already alluded to in terms of staff availability. Thank you, Deputy Chairperson.

Mr S F DU TOIT: Hon Deputy Chair, to the hon Deputy Minister, you have already touched on the employment situation. It is no

secret that the staff shortages are the biggest contributors to surgery backlogs across the country, especially in the Free State and the Northern Cape. On 22 October 2022 you replied to a written question that my colleague, hon De Bruyn, submitted stating that, and I quote: “The provincial department of health has appointed a recruitment task team that is responsible for reprioritising critical posts during each financial year.” You also stated that, “These posts remain unfilled due to the unavailability of funds.”

This is a situation that the department is losing control over and has been for years on end. Why is the cost of employment in critical staff not prioritised in the budget process, because clearly it is not. Will you and your department commit to filling these vacant posts as soon as possible to ensure the wellbeing of the patients? Thank you, Deputy Minister.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Du Toit, it is probably more than just one factor. Firstly, it is the austerity measures that are putting constraints in terms of how wide one can go in employing critical staff. That is something to be looked into, and something that we always talk about within the department.

Secondly, it is related to what I have just raised that even if critical posts for theatre nurses or for neonatal specialisation nurses were to be opened, they would rather go to Charlotte Maxeke and Chris Hani Baragwanath than maybe go to Tshilidzini Hospital or far-flung areas. We are actually dealing with it.

While we are dealing with that part, the very few that are there at Chris Hani get recruited again by another agency for the to go to Sweden or Australia or anywhere. So, we are fighting all those challenges within the space that we have. It is something that will probably take a while until there is an engagement with those countries to say that, since they recruit from Africa all the time, they can then give us some support in terms of training. They can come and train a pool of other South Africans since they will be going to those countries anyway then we can remain with that part.

So, those discussions I am aware are starting because nurses will always leave our country for greener pastures, especially those who are highly specialised. There is no finality on the matter, but it is work in progress looking into a multifactorial issue to actually improve on that. thank you very much.

Ms M O MOKAUSE: Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, to the Deputy Minister, the Robert Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberly in the Northern Cape, like many other hospitals throughout South Africa, has been plagued by enormous surgery backlogs for years and this has never changed over time. Hon Deputy Minister, 6 000 is a huge number for backlogs and I am asking myself why you are even proud of it to mention it.

All this has to do with the lack of management in the Robert Sobukwe hospital. Board appointment has been stalled by the MEC of Health in the Northern Cape for political reasons, and whether you agree or not, Deputy Minister, the board oversees the entire management of an institution. Had the board been in charge at Robert Sobukwe, I can tell you that this was never going to be an issue. Clinic boards throughout the Northern Cape are not in place because the governing party wants to put people who agree with them throughout these clinic boards, and many senior people at the Robert Sobukwe hospital and the entire provincial government department of health are acting. So, the management is not in place. What steps are you going to take to ensure that this is going to be resolved in no time because it is only our people who are suffering and nobody else? Thank you.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Deputy Chairperson, to the hon Makause, when we were preparing a response to this question with the Minister, we looked around the country with regards to the backlogs because most provinces did have backlogs. We were all dealing with emergency cases which was COVID, and every other case was put at the back banner to really prioritise. We checked countrywide and we were very happy to learn that provinces like Mpumalanga who also don’t have resident quaternary or central hospitals and depend on Gauteng for support have really wiped out their backlog. Here I was referring to the Northern Cape and saying that the Free State, which has also been our biggest support for Northern Cape in terms of clearing up the backlog, is still sorting out its own backlog that came about as a result of COVID. therefore, it is not able as yet to assist the hospitals in and around the Northern Cape in the same way they did pre- COVID. So, as systems are still improving, more rural provinces and rural hospitals will probably still take a strain on that part.

I am not sure, we will investigate whether this is related to what hon Makause is saying, but all we are saying is that we are able to indicate what are the challenges that are facing Northern Cape in terms of this backlog and when are we likely

to actually help. I might as well add that there are certain philanthropic organisations in health that avail themselves to work on weekends like to say we are going to be in Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital and wiped the whole cataract this weekend and that weekend. We welcome that assistance, and they do come forward to say our people are suffering and we want to add a shoulder on the wheel; we are coming in to do this thing. Those are also issues that we work on because we do have partners in the country who are always willing and available to assist us in terms of these challenges and crises. Thank you very much, hon Deputy Chair.

Question 196:
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Thank you very much. Hon Nkosi was asking a question with regards to the placement of doctors. Let me just start by saying we do have mainly two cycles of the placement of doctors. The biggest cycle is January. The second and smaller cycle is in July. According to information that we have extracted from the internship and community service placement application process for the 2023 mid-year cycle, that is the July 1, all eligible applicants who applied on the national development application portal during the application period and could commence duty on the 1st of July, were allocated accordingly.

Two, the total number of eligible medical doctors who applied for community service in the media cycle July were 407. Of these 407, 358 were allocated and have since commenced duty on
1 July. Of the 49 remaining applicants, 11 rejected the allocated post because of personal reasons. If I am asked to explain what those personal reasons are, I can highlight some. They opted to wait for posts of their choice or apply in the next intake. The other 38 applicants are still completing their internship and will be eligible in the next cycle, which is now going to be in January.

The next intake for medical internship and community service personnel, which is a very huge one, is coming in on the 1 January 2024. The national Department of Health, in collaboration with the provincial departments of health and institutions of higher learning amongst other stakeholders, have commenced the preparation of the next big intake with the applications that are coming in and we are already processing that as of this month so that we can have doctors placed come January 2024. Thank you very much, Deputy Chairperson.

Ms N E NKOSI: Thank you very much hon Chair. Greetings to the Deputy Minister and the MECs and my colleagues in the House. Thank you very much hon Deputy Minister for your response to

my question. Hon Deputy Minister, it is clear that using the internship and community service placement, the department is doing everything possible to place eligible medical doctors who have applied for community services. Does the placement of these doctors assist in addressing the challenges of getting medical doctors in rural areas? Thank you.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Thank you hon Nkosi. Exactly! That was the objective hon Nkosi, to say maybe once in a while, a qualified doctor must serve the country and experience rural hospitals and go there just for 12 months. And that is what is happening for the majority of our doctors, and we really welcome that. It was a policy that was initiated of community service, hence the name community service. Serve a community that otherwise would not have had. So, there are now hospitals ... Since this policy was established, there are now hospitals that in the past would have never had a doctor, or maybe one doctor. Now there are also doctors who go there and we plead with them. Just go to that rural Tshilidzini and rotate for 12 months and you are back to another hospital of your choice. Hence, in my initial response there are 11 doctors who said I will wait because my call is to do community service at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital or Charlotte Maxeke.

If you are sending me to go to ... [Inaudible.] ... hospital or Tshilidzini, I am not going there. I will sit and wait until my next intake. So, it does help us. The availability of the majority of those doctors who actually fall and support us in this policy, we do find them in those rural hospitals. So, among other things that they do help us there is that, look, I am a young doctor. I have recently qualified. I don’t know how to do these major operations, but I have a high index of suspicion that this woman is not going to give birth within this hospital, which is rural, that has other challenges, let me on time refer to bigger facilities. That for us is good enough to have doctors all over the country who will have a high index of suspicion of cases that otherwise are complicated and be able to refer them on time. The absence of doctors in the most deprived rural hospitals would not give us that type of a facility. So, we really welcome and we are happy that majority of our doctors still support us in this policy of community service. Thank you very much, Chair.

Mr N M HADEBE: Thank you hon Deputy chairperson. Hon Deputy Minister, I would like to know if these preparations that your departments are having are done well in advance so that by the time medical students finish and qualify, these plans are already in place? Thank you.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon ... [Inaudible.] ... let me just indicate that you would see that by first week of January, there will be news media. I am not placed as yet and all that and all. I think as we start the process right now in September preparing for January, we should be eliminating all those administrative bottlenecks. But what happened is that a doctor, Doctor Bara, the son of hon Bara, will say I want to go and work at Chris Hani. We say to the doctor, please write a second and a third choice. Therefore, they do that, but all of them want to be stuck to the first choice and therefore do not allow us to distribute them. We then administratively have now 3000 doctors in the country that we must allocate. They may not be getting their first choices. They must be willing and available to take the second or even the third choice. So, the challenges come in there when they will come in and say no, no, no.

I might as well tell you something because I’ve been in this sector for some time. Somehow in December, these young doctors just get married and therefore they say I’m just recently married two weeks ago, I can’t leave my in-laws. My mother-in- law is not well in Durban. I must stay with my in-law; therefore, I can’t go to Kimberly or Tzaneen. So, it becomes too complicated and therefore there’s a delay and some of them

do not accept. And I would always honestly request hon members here, if you do find any doctor not placed, do find and bring it on time to us to that we facilitate. You might find that some of them really there has been a delay on our side, but others, it’s just that they didn’t get the first choice and therefore are not willing to take a second or a third, then causes the challenges. So, we do have that, and we anticipate that it might come in January first week or two. But by the end of January, almost all of those who have passed and qualified would have been sorted out.

Thirdly, there may as well be a doctor who has been placed in Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital but unfortunately does not pass, and has to do two, three or four weeks or four months back in the institution where the doctor was working at.
Therefore, that that must then be taken away and then replaced by another doctor. So, there are some of those administrative delays, but there’s no intention because, what are these doctors doing in our hospitals? They provide a service. They are still doing the training to complete their training. So, there will be no reason from health to disadvantage doctors who are still to complete their training. It is administrative processes that do come. We need to work on them and finalise

them before it actually becomes later than the end of January. Thank you very much, Deputy Chairperson.

Ms M DLAMINI: Thank you Deputy Chairperson. Minister, each year doctors are left in the state of limbo waiting for placements. What measures has the ministry taken in place to ensure effective communication with those that are waiting for feedback for application and why hasn’t there been effective communication with regards to projected timelines for placements? Thank you.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Yeah, just a slight correction on hon Dlamini. Some doctors are in the limbo, not all. Some are in the limbo for various reasons. Some of them have mentioned one. One, I just choose to be in the limbo because I don’t want my first choice. Two, when the apply and I’ve always said they do come to Minister, Deputy Minister, but let’s use the first source of your contact. What are the officials in the department saying regarding your application? Let’s start there because there should be a response. Others will say they’ve asked me to wait a bit. Then we do assist and go back. But again, it’s a massive allocation that we need to do and also dependent on the results that comes out on the first or second week of December. Right now, we place them

with the hope that all of them will then pass and go to wherever. So, when the results say something different about six, seven, 10 doctors, then there’s a rearrangement of the planning with regards to that. So, we continuously work on this. It is not really that 100% doctors are in the limbo come
1 January. Out of 100% maybe 3 to 5% will still be left in a limbo and we work on that. We process it. But usually, by the end of January all those hiccups and all those obstacles that might have risen are eliminated. It is largely administrative.

Again Chairperson, I am saying there is no reason for health not to do that because when you qualify the medical school, it is still part of the obligation to go and do internship and complete community service. Therefore, we can’t deprive a citizen to complete an obligatory requirement to become a doctor. It’s not that we’re just doing them a favour. There is no choice. They have to go and do internship. They must also go and do community service as part of completing the whole qualification requirement to be a medical officer. Thank you very much, Deputy Chairperson.

Mr M R BARA: Thank you, Deputy Chair. Deputy Minister, on the one hand, we complain of a shortage of healthcare practitioners. But now we see doctors left on hold because

they have not been allocated. This seems to put your department at the centre of the healthcare problems rather than being a solution. What undertaking can you make to young doctors that they will be appropriately placed in the near future? Thank you, Deputy Chair.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Bara, let us categorise doctors, and maybe you will assist from where I start. I started by saying when a medical student completes six years of training, that person gets a tag of being an intern. We are obligated as a country, as government, to place them. I have even given that the first part that whoever is not placed, whether one or two, we need to work on that. So, all of those have to be placed, otherwise they will never complete their value chain of being trained as a medical officer.

Second category is community service doctors. We are happy that majority of them have bought into the space of wanting to do community service because they are assisting us with the far-flung areas. Except for the few that I did mention that they choose not to because they are waiting for their first choices. If they are sent to Tshilidzini, they say I am not going in there. So that category again, we are obligated to place them for training. But we are not obligated to place

them all at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital or Charlotte Maxeke. They must go where the community service is. In fact, there are fewer post of community service in those big hospitals. The community service posts are largely in the rural provinces where they must work.

The third category of doctors are medical officers qualified. We don’t look for a job for that. You look for a job for yourself. But you rather say, 10 natives qualified, if resources allow, we should employ all 10. But sometimes there are challenges in terms of this state category of fully qualified medical officers who must still apply for a job, and those are the ones who are eligible to go and open their own private practises or go for specialisations.

But I wanted to separate those three to say that the first category, we are obligated to place them all when we do. The second category, we are obligated to place them all and we do, there maybe some delays or challenges there. But the third category of qualified medical officers, they must themselves look for a job and get it wherever they wish to get it or do other choice because we have fully complied with the obligation of training a medical doctor until that last stage. Thank you very much.

Question 194:

Mr K MOTSAMAI: Deputy Chairperson ...


The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Motsamai, can you please allow the Deputy Minister to respond ...

Mr K MOTSAMAI: ... okay, okay ...


The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: ... before you come with your follow up. Are you afraid to be fired?

Ms M O MOKAUSE: On a point of order, Chair.




Ms M O MOKAUSE: Hon Chair, the person who should be afraid to be fired is you because as you are seated there you are making comments that are infringing to our member there ...

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: That is not a point of order, hon Mokause ...

Ms M O MOKAUSE: ... to our members ...

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: ... that is not a point of order and we will continue ... [Inaudible.] ... can we please mute, hon Mokause? We will continue ...

Ms M O MOKAUSE: ... the point of order and they are going to fire you anyway. It’s your last few months in that National Council of Provinces and they must get it correct. You will be fired anyway ...

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Can we please mute the member?

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Deputy Chairperson, my response to hon Motsamai’s question about Emergency Medical Services, EMS, in the country and particularly focusing on one province, is that the security measures in place to prevent the loss of one life and our emergency equipment are put in place, maybe they are not comprehensive, but are as follows:

Firstly, investment in smart technologies such as the
push-the-talk device, that has a live tracking to emergency calls and equipment. And we are very happy to announce that the leading province on this one is Gauteng.

Secondly, the department is also finalising its joint operational plan with community-based crime warders as a resource that will also complement the South African Police Services, SAPS, in our country.

Thirdly, there is also an implementation of the Gauteng Wellness on Wheels. A wellness ambulance with a doctor on board and fully kitted to respond to the Emergency Medical Services personnel for immediate treatment and counselling as required.

Fourthly, there’s a fulltime deployment of Emergency Medical Services staff to provincial joint operations centre, ProJOC, for real time SAPS activation of resources when an incident occurs.

Fifthly, there is a close collaboration with security forum all over the country and province to engage on threats and risks that are involved, where there is a volatile situation in and around the place.

Sixth, the planned community imbizos to foster better understanding of the role of the Emergency Medical Services and for communities to embrace and protect emergency medical

personnel in the line of duty and we hope that, that role goes beyond just the Department of Health, it also involves all of us here who are public representatives to really engage our communities and say: What are these vehicles meant for?

Also, in the country, supported by the police, there’s a classification of areas that are hotspots where Emergency Medical Services will need to be escorted sometimes, not all the time, by the SAPS and for communities to understand the threats and risks in their respective areas.

But I would think members of this House should probably appreciate that it is not feasible for all ambulances that are currently in real time now being dispatched, let’s say three hundred all over the country, to each and every one to be escorted by a police vehicle. Otherwise police vehicles will stop doing other jobs and just accompany, provide support to our vehicles.

Lastly, the department continues to seek alternative ways of protecting Emergency Medical Services personnel and pleads with this first line of defence that must be done by our citizens. So, we need the community buy-in for them to say: These are our own ambulances. This is about our own services

in the country in terms of support. Thank you very much, hon Chair.

Mr K MOTSAMAI: Ke a leboga, Motlatsamodulasetulo, Elizabeth Sylvia Lucas.

Motlatsatona, ditlhaselo go ditirelo tsa kalafi tsa tshoganyetso di ntse di oketsega ka seelo se se kwa godimo kwa porofenseng ya Gauteng. Koketsego eno e bakiwa ke bosenyi bo bo ntseng bo tlhatlhoga mo nageng le tirelo e e bokoa ya sephodisa.

Ka jalo, ke dikgato dife tse Tona a di tseileng go netefatsa gore dikoloi tsa EMS le ba badiri ba dula ba babalesegile ... [Tsenoganong.]

HON MEMBER (Male): It’s on channel 9 ...

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I’m sorry for the ... I’m sorry, hon Motsamai, I’m really sorry. The Deputy Minister was struggling with the interpretation and the correct channel.

Can you assist us, please? Even if you just summarize your question.

Mr K MOTSAMAI: Can I assist with what?


The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Summarizing the question. Just for his purpose, because unfortunately he didn’t know the correct ...

Mr K MOTSAMAI: No, I think the Deputy Minister understands the language very ... [Inaudible.] ... if he doesn’t understand, how can he represent more than ...

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Motsamai, I know you are not feeling ... [Interjections.]

Mr K MOTSAMAI: No, I will just speak Setswana fluently ...


The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: ... then summarize. No, Setswana is fine. Just repeat ... just to summarize!

Mr K MOTSAMAI: Okay. Let me start.


Motlatsatona, ditlhaselo go ditirelo tsa kalafi tsa tshoganyetso di ntse di oketsega ka seelo se se kwa godimo kwa porofenseng ya Gauteng. Koketsego eno e bakiwa ke bosenyi bo bo ntseng bo tlhatlhoga mo nageng le tirelo e e bokoa ya sephodisa.

Ka jalo, ke dikgato dife tse Tona a di tseileng go netefatsa gore dikoloi tsa EMS le ba badiri ba dula ba babalesegile ka dinako tsotlhe? Ke feditse!

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Motsamai, firstly, on my initial response I did mention that it took us a bit of time but we realized that we do have to have the tracking system into our vehicles. But because of the sophistication of these criminals, they now do know that our vehicles are tracked and they go in first and throw our driver away, and go and disconnect that tracking device.

So, we don’t know whether part of it is an inside job, to say where the tracking device is being installed in our vehicles so that when they actually throw you out they immediately go and disarm it, and therefore, it takes a bit of time. And that is how we have then seen some of the vehicles, especially like

in KwaZulu-Natal, crossing the border to other countries that are neighbouring there.

But since that has been installed, it does help us. It has reduced, but significantly not eradicated the issue of the attack and the security of our staff members.

Secondly, we indicated that, as in real time, there could be three hundred ambulances now being dispatched in the whole country to various areas. It is not possible to always be associated and be accompanied by police vehicles. Otherwise the police vehicles will stop doing their police work, they will stop responding to other issues in the country and just accompany ... I was thinking about this. Can you imagine a police vehicle accompanying an ambulance from Upington to Kimberley? It means the whole day or two they must just dedicate to do that work; from Thohoyandou to Polokwane.

So, it is not possible, until and unless some of us speak to our communities to say: But this is our ambulance, why do we not protect this ambulance that is not coming to fetch me today, but it’s coming to fetch my grandmother, my aunt, my relative, my any other citizen of our country who needs an ambulance?

So, we do, do that. But as you would know, when we speak to the SAPS, they cannot provide us 24-hour protection all the time. We install within our vehicles, but sometimes these people also come in and tap and actually interfere with the systems that we are putting in place.

Thirdly, I did mention that this issue, we are really supported of, is wellness on wheels, which we are really prioritising in Gauteng, where we are saying maybe a doctor inside there can go to the facility, get to support and sell the Emergency Medical Services personnel and deal with this as the patients are being transported. So, it becomes like an Intensive Care Unit, ICU, or an ambulance with a doctor inside and then those processes are taking place.

So, we cannot say we are zero elimination of our staff in terms of their security, we have eliminated that. It is a work in progress, but also needing support, largely from our communities and our leaders who are in that space. Thank you very much, Chair.

Mr M R BARA: Deputy Minister, the Gauteng Immediate Emergency Medical Service crew was hijacked, kidnapped, assaulted and robbed of their belongings in Mamelodi; and the last incident

of such was in July. This is but one of many such cases that are happening to our emergency services.

I know that the Premier in Gauteng on Monday mentioned that they will be issuing panic buttons, but my question would be: Will ambulances be included in the issuing of these panic buttons?

Secondly, is there any progress on police investigations on this and other related cases? Thank you, Deputy Chair.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Bara and hon Chair, I think few days ago there was a sort of an interview of our General Commissioner, General Sithole, when he was making reference to some illegal activities that were happening around Thohoyandou and the money was going to be transported in an ambulance. So, when people would use a stolen ambulance and convert it so that it can go pass through easily because they will be alleged to be carrying citizens or so. People have gone to that extent, even if they want to steal, they start by saying it is easy to steal, but I would be able to pass through if I am driving an ambulance. So, there are those people who still take and do that.

Secondly, the issues of panic buttons, I would like to say Gauteng is probably ahead of many of us in the country in terms of installing that part. They already have it. In my initial response I did mention that it is a push-to-track.

Now, what is happening is that, that does not offer us a comprehensive solution because whether maybe it’s an inside job or not, I don’t know. I might volunteer that information to the criminals to say just underneath the steering or behind a seat or whatever that is where this gadget is being installed, go look for it there, remove it, therefore, the vehicle is no more tracked in that space.

Yes, we are saying those are installed in other provinces, they will continue to be installed, but they are not a panacea. They will not give us a complete solution until and unless there is a conscientisation of our society to say ‘Please, let us protect ambulances. They are meant for the sick, for the poor and people who need that’.

So, yes, they are there in Gauteng already and they will probably be rolled out furthermore in other provinces. Thank you very much.

Mr S F DU TOIT: Deputy Minister, in towns like Matlosana, JB Marks Municipality, the ambulance drivers need to make use of their own private cell phones to communicate when they are activated and move out to a specific scene. And I mean their data cost is for their own account, it’s not provided by governments.

Can you provide us with a percentage of staff that has been lost due to the increased acts of violence?

Additionally, what measures are being taken to retain support to traumatised staff as well as the initiatives aimed at encouraging the return to the profession?

We know that a lot of these ambulance personnel and medical emergency services personnel are facing very bad scenes on a daily basis, and it seems as if the necessary support is not given.

From your side, what initiatives are there that aims to encourage them to return to work as well as to provide the necessary support for these individuals? Thank you, Deputy Minister.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Du Toit, it may be incorrect for me to pronounce that the support that is given to all our staff members in these critical spaces is adequate. Emergency Medical Services, those forensic pathology services who go into the bushes and collect some of our people have passed on, others without a head or a leg, is very traumatic and therefore, they need continuous support thereof.

I would really not be able to indicate here now the quantified costs. But you are correct. If there are some of our staff members who are using their private cell phones to indicate to report, I would not be able to come to the level of that operational issue how is it not being attended to. I am happy to hear from you and then take that information back, as to which province, Matlosana, which area in particular, are we having staff members who are not compensated for the work that they do using their cell phones because it is part of tools of trade and therefore, that must be compensated and to be supported. To me, it is logical to do so. If they are not being done, there must be a reason if there’s a policy that says they shouldn’t be supported and I will be happy to get that information from you and then we can trace further as to see why our staff members using their tools of trade to

continue operating but are not fully compensated and supported thereon. Thanks.

Mr M E NCHABELENG: Deputy Minister, the security measures to whether to defend the members of the Emergency Medical Services are necessary and appreciated. In my view, the long term solution to this challenge is the education of the communities where we face these problems.

Does the department have educational programme aimed at the communities that are served by these Emergency Medical Services? Sorry I missed the question earlier, Chairperson.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Nchabeleng, having a platform like this is assisting the Department of Health because all these public representatives now, here, will go out there and say this is a crisis in the country. You do it in your own constituency that ... because ambulances are not stolen from heaven or hell, they are stolen around the areas where we all live.

Now, I’m actually saying it can’t be ... we don’t have a unit in health that is actually dedicated to go and do support and teaching communities about this. We can only bring the

awareness challenge to the leadership here and to all community leaders to say, firstly, we do have challenges of ambulances that are meant to do emergency medical services crossing the borders to other countries from around where we live.

Secondly, we do have ambulances that are taken by some criminals and converted into hijacks and car heist issues. We need to talk about it because it is happening around where I live, where you live.

We do have people who also do funny calls and say we need an ambulance here in Mtubatuba, and they don’t mean exactly that, they mean to actually come and remove and take cell phones and delay otherwise an ambulance that should have gone to Ixopo and they call it here, it’s a faulty call.

So, it is all that information which, when we share with the hon members here, will equip you to ... in public meetings that we have, let us have this as an issue on the security measures that we must put in place and strengthen our country with regard to the protection because I can tell you what is an emergency ... as the name is called emergency medical, there is someone who has made a call ‘I need help now’ and the

ambulance gets delayed to go somewhere else or get hijacked. So, that emergency medical stops being emergency anymore and a person dies because you will forever wait for ambulances. And then what happens, we also got calls people wait for ambulances endlessly, why, because we are not dispatching but maybe we did dispatch an ambulance, is just that it got hijacked or it got delayed or something happened along the way. Thank you very much, hon Deputy Chair.

Question 188:

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Deputy Chairperson, I was asked a question with regard to teenage pregnancy and its challenges in the country thereof basing it in reference to the statement raised by the MEC of KwaZulu-Natal province. Our response to the hon Bara is that teenage pregnancy is a serious societal problem which requires the government and the whole of society approach. While there is no single-handed held alone, causes are multifaceted and as such all government departments, civil society organisations and other stakeholders must be involved in developing comprehensive interventions to address the high rates of teenage pregnancy.

The Department of Health works with other government departments and stakeholders in implementing several

programmes that aim to reduce and prevent teenage pregnancy in all provinces including this province mentioned by the hon Bara, KwaZulu-Natal. The interventions include the implementation of programmes such as sexual and reproductive health services, She Conquers campaign, Zikhala Kanjani campaign, dual protection and long-acting reversal and the emergency contraceptive device that the department provides.
The department has also established about 2 000 youth zones in and around the country that are covering all our provinces.

The country’s overall strategy on teenage pregnancy is that between April 2021 to March 2022, 156 154 teenage pregnancies were therein but including what turn to be 14-years of age in that space, which I will come back to it. Of those, 396 were between the ages of 10 to 14 years. From March 2022 to March 2023, there were 127 096 teenage pregnancies who delivered. We do have statistics because they come to our clinics and hospitals to deliver.

The plans that are in place in this regard are that the department has the following plans in place to address the increasing number of teenage pregnancies. First, the implementation of the integrated sexual and reproductive health policy and the national adolescent and youth health

policy where we are now prioritising young people and say, come to our clinic this time at this space where you will find a nurse who is going to be very supportive and not judgemental to you to prevent falling pregnant because now you are sexually active. Secondly, the training of health care workers in the provision of a comprehensive package of health for adolescent and youth-friendly services. Thirdly, is the expansion and implementation of youth zones in the clinics. I have said that we have about 2 000 of them in the country.
Fourthly, is the implementation of the digital self-care for sexual reproductive health services to increase access to the integrated sexual and reproductive health services and HIV infection.

How are we monitoring these? All interventions and plans that we are indicating will be monitored through quarterly performance reports; through the district information system; the provincial quarterly meetings with provinces - where these indicators and results come from; the provincial support visits which we need to do as national; the mid-term review plans and programmes; the health facility register that we do have; and ongoing dialogue with young people through various platforms.

What is the timeframe for the completion turnaround time? The department works with a range of stakeholders on an ongoing basis to reduce a number of teenage pregnancies. It must be noted that the number of teenage pregnancies declined by
20 050 between the financial year 2022-21 and the financial year 2022-23.

I must conclude by saying that we need to separate time teenage pregnancy as one. No, it is counting teens, ages of 13, 14 and 15. A nine-year-old or a 10-year-olod is not a teenager. We have a new category now of underage pregnancies. That is something else. We just need to be aware. When we talk about teenagers, we are talking about 13 years upwards. Anyone lower than that is an underage. We already have some of these in our country. Thank you very much, hon Chair.

Mr M R BARA: Thank you, Deputy Chair. It is a big problem that must be dealt with in all ways that are possible. But it seems that the department is not clear on what the root causes of the high rate of teenage pregnancies are, including those that are lower than the teenage level. Minister, would you consider a transversal and whole of society approach to define the root causes of teenage pregnancies so that this worrying issue could be addressed more effectively? Probably, the one further

issue is, what obligations do health professionals have to report statutory rape to the SA Police Service, SAPS, because it also results in pregnancy of people that are underage?
Thank you, Deputy Chair.


The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Thank you, Chair and thank you, hon Bara. I don’t think that it is about the Department of Health not understanding the root causes. Like I said when I started, the issues of teenage pregnancy does not rest with one department. Why do we have statistics of teenage pregnancies and underage pregnancies? It is because we see them coming in our clinics.

Hon Bara, there was a significant increase of teenage pregnancy during COVID-19 when there was shut down on schools and therefore parents were at work and children were at home and they did not have much to do. In places where probably there is poor issues related to ... I have learnt this somewhere else to says, a child in sport is a child out of court. Probably, it is true even with these issues of social ills that if there are communities that are very strong and have issues that will keep the child busy on other things, the child will probably not be the one who is going to go on drugs and get pregnant. It is issues in the society. Let us start

there and pick up. It does not have to be the Department of Health that must be educated on what the causes are, but it has to be all of us to say, what are the causes around where I live that make children ...? Is it drugs, is it maybe the absence of parenting so that finger pointing should not be at one person and the other.

On this part it is a very interesting point that you are raising. I have thought about it. Should we or should we not report a nine-year-old who is pregnant in our clinic who is coming to deliver? If you do that you will therefore ... I don’t know, whether you would then be saying that that nine- year-old must be arrested and must go and point who impregnated her. But the next day, another nine-year-old would not come to our clinic and report that I am pregnant, please, help me to deliver this baby. It is something that is very difficult to do. Tomorrow, once you say every nine-year-old or ten-year-old who comes into our facility, please, clinics report them, bring the police, collect them, get them to go and point who impregnated them. That could be done on day one. But on day two, how many other 10-year-olds who would be pregnant will come to our facilities? What if they remain pregnant and they do not come to our facilities to be

assisted? I tell you, that is going to be another very big problem.

In terms of pregnancies, pregnancy is a physiological process that some women would go through anyway in life. A young woman, a nine-year-old and a 10-year-old falling pregnant, is a high risk of severe complications even dearth. Once you do not do antenatal on the nine-year-old, 10-year-old or 11-year- old, we will have a high maternal mortality because they will have never been to any clinic anyway and they would not have picked up the very risks that are there. All I am saying is that to be pregnant and being a teenager is high risk. When you avoid coming to the clinic, the risk is even much more and therefore we will have significant deaths. Please, advise us on how to deal with that - a 10-year-old in our clinics coming to ... It must be a societal matter. But we do also know that once somebody picks up in the society that a 10-year-old is pregnant and is reported, suddenly, the family says, oh, no, no, the lobolas have started and don’t worry about this. It is no more your story, and it is our family issues, and we are taking charge of that. It is a societal issue that must come in there. But I don’t think it would be wise for us as Health to report the 10-year-olds who deliver babies in our clinics to report them to the police or to the law enforcement

officers because of what I have raised. That is my view, and you could advise us differently if you feel strongly so. Thank you very much.

Mr N M HADEBE: Thank you so much, hon Deputy Chairperson. Hon Dinangwe, are these statistics inclusive of teenagers who have had termination of pregnancy or are they only those who have successfully carried to full term? Thank you.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Makhulukhulu, these are inclusive of those who terminate because they did not come to full term including those who delivered full term babies or premature who are alive.

I am glad you raised that part because it is related to what I was raising at Youth Zones in our clinics. Yes, the statistics are there, but at least these teenagers are alive and well with their babies. There is a big number of those who do not come to our facilities because either our attitude has not improved very well or they are scared and therefore they do die because it is a risky issue of being pregnant when you are of that young and if you do not come to our clinics you even
... So, it is excluding those who we did not see, those who died because they were terminating the pregnancies in an

illegal way fearing our spaces. But that is another issue that we also need to work on and improve on it - the illegal termination of pregnancies that take place outside our facilities. That is another high risk and really, they do come in and end up dying within our facilities. Thank you very much.

Mr E Z NJADU: Thank you very much, hon Deputy Chairperson. Hon Deputy Minister, let me first use this opportunity to thank you for a very clear response. Your response was very clear on what we want to understand as to what is happening on the ground in terms of teenage pregnancy, which is a serious problem that cannot be resolved by the department. You elaborated very broadly on it. I just want to check a programme that includes parents and community leaders from the department. Thank you, Deputy Chair.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: In partnership with the Department of Basic Education, we have tried to individualise programmes by going to communities and going to that high school in that space. Parents who are here ... hon members, just be honest with yourselves – all of us who are seated here. We just want to believe that our 16-year-old boys and girls are innocent, they don’t know anything about sexuality.

Therefore, if you are actually going to introduce sex education at school, you are spoiling our children. That is what school governing bodies are saying some of them countrywide. So, we rather individualise.

I was in KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg in a particular high school last month. I was happy to hear the chairperson of a school governing body saying this is bigger than us. It is my believe that my 18-year-old daughter is not yet sexual active and therefore don’t bring this information to schools. It is not true anymore. Find a way to begin to introduce this. We must be able to say some of our children would not come and say, daddy, I am starting tomorrow, so please what do we do.
We need to begin without really spoiling but find the way to get our support in the communities by parents to begin this tour. I know Minister Angie Motshekga is trying her best to make sure that we reach out to school governing bodies. Now I do see sparks of successes where that school governing body is willing to come and engage us. We are in charge of this school and our children are here. Engage us and let’s see what we want to talk to our children about and move on. We need to realise that the problem is there, and it is a societal problem. Actually, it must not be a school problem. Minister Angie would tell us that pregnancies do not take place at

schools, and as much as I can also say that pregnancies do not take place in hospitals and clinics, but it is in a society.
All of us as a society must come together to create a plan. We can just provide you with statistics because they come and deliver in our clinics and hospitals. But the issues are out there in the community where all of us as public representatives in our little corners do see these issues happening. It cannot be one department and it cannot be a government department, but a societal problem that all of us must collectively buy into and support. Thank you very much, Chair.

Mr K MOTSAMAI: Thank you, Deputy Chairperson. Thank you, Deputy Minister. Teenage pregnancy remains a serious health and social problem in the country as it forces girls to drop out of school and trap them in a circle of poverty. What initiatives has the Minister taken to work alongside other stakeholders such as nongovernment organisations, NGOs, to tackle this problem? I thank you.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Thank you, Deputy Chairperson. Just before the nongovernmental organisations, NGOs, I would start by saying thank you for the preamble, and it is correct. Last year, with the Deputy Minister Dr Mhaule we visited

schools at North West to launch a policy of prevention of pregnancy in schools. Like I am saying, we are on a receiving end. She has a call of young people in schools who are already at a high risk of falling pregnant. We went in there to talk to them and roll-out as we were also in KwaZulu-Nata last week. We are rolling out the call. From us as Health we do have policies and information. We partner with departments like the Department of Basic Education and higher health and provide information. All other NGOs that are also championing these processes are there.

I would imagine if we were not doing anything as government and also not being supported by NGOs. The problem might be bigger than what we see. It is an issue that we always report to say, so many mothers delivered this week and so many were teenagers. There is a municipality in the country, but I wont mention it as I am in this space. I cannot mention it, but I can mention that it is in Limpopo that has adopted ... that municipality has the highest teenage pregnancy ever in the country and we need to be closer. I am very glad to be close to that municipality because the traditional leadership of those areas and the faith-based leadership of that municipality is really putting things together to work on a strategy of all the things. We do have tools and we need a

buy-in from all of us. The NGOs, faith-based organisations and traditional leaderships are so much part of the government programmes that we collectively work together to deal with the social ill of teenage pregnancy like we also do with combating the issues of drugs and bullying at schools. we work together with the other departments.

Social Development is also a very key department assisting us in psychosocial support. Why are we very strong on this, hon members? If you fall pregnant at the age of 15, chances of reaching 21 having breastfed twice are high. Such a teenager is unlikely to ever be a citizen in life who is going to be economically independent. They will always be dependent. But to break a chain of poverty ... breaking and attacking the issues of teenage pregnancy, among other things, is to really break the chain of poverty in families. Thank you very much, Chairperson.

Question 197:

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Deputy Chair, thank you very much to hon Ntsube who asked this question about the new variant that is probably bringing a challenge to us, the World Health Organization, WHO, Technical Advisory Group on Severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS COVID virus evolution of

which by the way, some of our South African scientists are part of, meet regularly and as the need arises to review the circulation of variants, including the emergency of this new variant and the new ones that have just been talked about.

On 17 August this year, the WHO announced that there is a new detected variant scientifically labelled BA.2.86 they have actually declared this variant as a variant under monitoring. So, there is the first category, they see a thing they call it variant under monitoring, meaning that it has the potential to pose future health risks. By the 25th of August 2023, only nine cases had been reported in five countries, meaning Denmark, Israel, United Kingdom, United States and our country, South Africa.

At the current moment it is unknown whether this BA.2.86 variant is associated with either easier transmission or more severe disease and it has not been declared a variant second category group, they call it a variant of interest or a variant of concern, so it has not gone to those statistics.
Once they call it a variant of interest, then it means everybody must wake up think about this variant or a variant of concern because people are already getting admitted in hospitals, we are not yet there.

This variant has not been assigned even the new name calling this and that because once you are a variant of concern, then the WHO gives you a name. However, given the large number of mutations in this variant, caution is warranted, but at this stage there is no reason really to be concerned.

The country’s preparedness, prevention and response regiments are enough to defend against any new variants and any of the other new pathogenic. The department is actively engaging with the WHO, the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 and other local science and clinicians and regular updates will be provided to the public as well as and when new information comes in.

Anyone who has symptoms like we do provide anybody, however, has got symptoms associated with COVID-19, which is fever, cough, sore throat, loss of weight, loss of taste and body aches should then be tested for this. Those who test positive for COVID-19, should then continue with the process that we are doing of isolation. Anyone who tests positive for using the rapid antigens, we will therefore ask them that they must go on to do and request polymerase chain reaction, PCR.

Anyone at high risk of a serious COVID-19 which we have always talked about, it will be our senior citizens those are aged 60 and above. People with compromised immunity systems or underlying conditions, including lung diseases, should consider wearing a face mask when they are in crowded space.
When you are not happy about what you see or hear.


All those who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine should fully be vaccinated, including boosters. So, hon members, we have not stopped that process it’s just that it is now available in our clinics, we are not going to have it in the malls or in pig spaces, but if you have not really taken your booster, we still have those vaccines, but what we have now done, COVID-19 is no more a pandemic, meaning it is not really causing us not to sleep. It is an endemic illness it’s all over, it’s there, quietly there, so you may still get it, provided you are vaccinated or immunized and boosted.

Children who are less than 12 years with a high risk of immunocompromised conditions are being vaccinated as a priority population as sentinel referral paediatric sites in the public space.

Health authorities have been cautioned to be aware of a possible increase in the numbers of people needing hospital admissions. We have just sent a caution we might get this. We are waiting for the scientists they will tell us if there is new information.

But hon members, the public is urged to note scientific information from official public health sources and be cautious about information that is circulated by individuals and other organisations that have no scientific basis. Thank you very much, hon Deputy Chair.

Mr I NTSUBE: Hon Deputy Chairperson of the Council. To the Deputy Minister, let me appreciate a very insightful detailed response that really, really clarifies us on various matters that would have been of concern to us. Deputy Minister, usually in such cases, there would be individuals and organisations that spread untested and unscientific information that would cause panic in our communities. Like you would have seen the inception of COVID-19 in the early 2020.

I just want to check with you, Deputy Minister, that is there any strategy from your department that will counter this

irresponsible behaviour? Thank you very much, hon Deputy Chairperson.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Chair, I always try this by using these similar stories, to say when I speak to my teenage children, daughters and sons, I always say to them, listen to whatever message that you do get. If it matches what we taught you as you were growing up, then there must be right information, but if it contradicts what we taught you at home, be careful of that information. So, again, here we are saying when it comes to issues of health, we provide this information, access freely and if any other organisation supplements that information that we do give, then that’s a good story to listen to, but any contradictory messages to these scientific - we don’t do it because you just happen to have the right information. It is scientifically proven this, that the other.

Therefore, the National Advisory Committee gives it to the Minister, the Minister gives it to the President, the President makes announcements on issues of COVID-19 well tested. That is what we would urge our South Africans to remain with ... [Inaudible.]. If any other person comes with information to supplement that, then it is good. But any

contrary message to that we don’t have a way to stop in the social media. It is something that we must be very careful to listen to and take those advice. Really shy away from those advice. Thank you very much.

Mr M S MOLETSANE: Deputy Chairperson, Deputy Minister, which preventative measures have been put in place to ensure that funds allocated to fight this variant are not misused and squandered by the ruling party, as was the case with our first experience of COVID-19 outbreak? Thank you, Deputy Chairperson.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Deputy Chair, when I was answering the earlier question, I said because, yes, there are many vultures who think that in health there is a space to come and loot and take resources for themselves. There was a decision on the Presidential Health Compact to, among other things, establish an anti-corruption forum, where we as health are part of and the Hawks are part of the National Treasury is part of and other bodies that are in that space. You could probably google; I have forgotten how many are there.

But, among other things, to say we will not stop doing the right things as government or in health because we are fearful

of people who are going to come in and invade the space with corruption. Rather, let’s have a body that is going to be an oversight and do ... yes, it may not prevent all, but it may be able to stamp it as it arises and also deal with that.

So, there is a structure focusing specifically on issues related to service that we provide as health in the country, called the Anti-Corruption Health Forum, established, that must and should assist us in the event of such issues coming in the country. Thank you very much.

Mr S F DU TOIT: Deputy Chair, Deputy Minister, during the last couple of years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa has spent billions of rands in terms of equipment, research, health, and safety. Now, you mentioned in the previous answer that apparently South Africa has enough resources to fend off a new COVID variant that might occur and if it might be worse or not. But, Deputy Minister, what steps have been taken to prevent the loss of these equipment and resources over the past year?

South Africa was furnished with photos and videos of all the equipment that we have, satellite camps that were erected, etcetera, but still when we go into our hospitals, we see

equipment and the state of the hospitals is not up to scratch, where is this being stored and what measures were taken to prevent the loss of this equipment? Thank you, Deputy Chair.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Du Toit, it is very difficult to indicate in the whole country where and if I were to say here, I know exactly then I will not be truthful to say where is the equipment being kept. But some of the equipment was not bought for COVID-19 and only four COVID-19, like those ones that are used to actually assist people who are actually having challenges with breathing, they are still there in use and some of them are kept in the event. All we are saying that as a country, if we were to face another pandemic, we will not actually have to redo those.

I would not be able to comment about each and every equipment we bought and its state of how it is looking like now, but all I could say that half of them were brought in and they are still assisting us anyway, because it was just, what is
COVID-19, it is a respiratory illness largely that was complicating with this, that and the other.

So, it was just a window of opportunity for us as health to get funding to buy additional equipment that is now available

to support us here and there, but some of it is highly specialized and it remains in that space, parked in, ready for any other future pandemics we might have in the country, but I may not be able to account for each and every one as to what is it looking like now and where is it kept right now. Thank you very much, Deputy Chair.

Ms B V MNCUBE (Gauteng): Hon Deputy Chairperson, hon Deputy Minister, one of the lessons that you have learnt from COVID-
19 pandemic is the entrenched vaccination hesitancy due to ignorance, misinformation, health, and even political reasons about vaccines and most importantly, dangers of our heavy reliance on the developed countries and the profit driven global pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Therefore, what is the progress that South Africa is making in building its own local capacity and capability to ensure self- vaccination, reliance, production, and distribution? Thank you very much.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Deputy Chairperson, I am delighted to have my last question asked by Imbokodo because now, not very fearful she has asked a very ... thank you very much, hon Mncube, for that question. When our President,

President Cyril Ramaphosa, came out of a chairmanship of the African Union, AU, the AU in its own wisdom asked President Ramaphosa to champion the issues of future pandemics and preparedness, not just of South Africa, but of the whole of Africa.

There was a further recognition that there are already signs of the establishment of such in South Africa. I can actually say now the things that President Ramaphosa is championing on behalf of the country and of the continent are such that at any given time we have a future pandemic in this Africa will not be at the back door, the ones who are going to be taken to be put at the back burner.

There have been certain programmes, Alphagen, here in the Western Cape, where there is a beginning of processes of manufacturing vaccines for COVID-19 and for any other pandemics, Tuberculosis, TB, which is never coming to an end in our continent, but any other future pandemics that we will face there is preparedness is taking place.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR, is coming in Science and Innovation Department, are very strong on it. We are very happy as the Department of Health because

we are on the receiving end, will be the beneficiaries of such processes that are taking place.

Now, we are actually confident, I mean the WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus has been to our country inspecting those sites where we are establishing manufacturing hub, not just for South Africa, but for the continent. So, I would actually be confidently saying, if it goes the way it is, we are in a very good trajectory, not just for the country, but for the continent in terms of being ready for any future pandemics. So that we too will prioritise ourselves if nobody else in the world is prioritizing us for future pandemics that we are going to face. Thank you very much.

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you very much hon Deputy Minister. We have come to the end of the questions to the Deputy Minister of Health, and I would really want to thank him for availing himself to respond to the questions as asked by the members.

Before I welcome the Minister of Social Development, I would like to welcome my colleague, hon Nyambi, to take over the presiding over the House, and I also once again want to welcome the Minister of Social Development. Good morning

sisters, we are waiting for the presiding officer and then he will call you. Thank you very much, hon delegates, hon members, hon members.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon members, let me also join and thank the Deputy Minister and welcome Minister Zulu for the Department of Social Development. You are welcome, hon Minister. I would now allow hon Zulu to respond to Question 198 asked by hon Ndongeni.

Question 198:
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: A very good morning, still it is not yet afternoon. Again, it is a pleasure for me to be here. In response to this question I would like to start from the point that the department can safely say that the current measures that have been put in place to end child marriages are beginning to yield results. I am saying are beginning to yield results I am not saying that the whole challenge is over. Although we acknowledge that much still needs to be done, the fact that the different stakeholders are engaging on this matter shows that we are making strides in this regard.

If we look at the figures as already been indicated, the decrease in the number of child marriages from 1 984 in 2008

to 369 in 2018 and 207 in 2021 marriages, is also an indication that the campaigns are yielding results. Of course, Chairperson, the goal is to have zero child marriages in South Africa. The development of the Marriage Bill is one of the greatest milestones in ending child marriages. The Bill amongst others, seeks to prohibit solemnisation of child marriages. I also would like to indicate that the work that needs to be done in terms of ensuring that we end child marriage is not something that can be done only by government but we have to have a co-ordinated effort and that co- ordinated effort also needs to make sure that we engage with traditional leaders, we engage with families and we engage with those that still believe in the form of child marriages.

The Constitution itself is very clear about the protection of children and the Constitution is very clear about the fact that families have to take responsibility, but of course, as a department we might take responsibility in ensuring that we build better communities by ensuring that we have better families and we support these families. However, when all is said and done it is about men who also believe that they have the rights of taking children and marrying them underage, men who still believe in what is called ...


... ukuthwalwa ...


... which we must make sure that it ends.


What is, therefore, our responsibility? It is about the education of both men and women with focus in particular on men who still believe that it is better to marry a girl or a child that is underage which is completely unacceptable.
Therefore, our role as a Department of Social Development is to make sure that working with yourselves, hon members, because you have constituencies as you sit here and part of what you are supposed to do as Members of Parliament is to engage in your constituencies in helping us in ensuring that we end child marriages. It is also something that we should be embarrassed about in all honesty when we think that we have signed so many international agreements that are supposed to support us as a country to make sure that we end child marriage. In my view, it is not only just child marriage it is also an abuse of women.

Therefore, the elimination of child marriages is a crosscutting issue that is government’s priority. Government

has therefore adopted a collaborated approach in fighting this programme. Different government departments such as the Co- operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Police Service all others and the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities are collaborating with us and collaborating with community and religious organisations. It should be noted that this cannot be dealt with in isolation. It is for this reason that when we take this issue we make sure that it falls also under our programme of 365 days of gender-based violence, that
365 days all of us must deal and speak to this problem and end it collectively. I thank you.

Ms N NDONGENI: Thank you, hon Minister for your response to my question. Hon Minister, I agree with you that the Marriage Bill is a great milestone that will assist in ending child marriages. My question is: When is the Marriage Bill likely to be enacted? Thank you, Chairperson.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much, hon Ndongeni. The good thing is that me and you belong to some other structure that has been working very hard since 1994 to make sure that issues of women empowerment and the protection of children remain on the agenda of the government of the

African National Congress. Therefore, in as far as the Marriage Bill is concerned, it is part of our responsibility from the government of the African National Congress to make sure that legislation and regulation that needs to be passed is passed. The process has just concluded public comments and my colleague, the Minister of Home Affairs, will Table the Bill in Parliament before the end of the year. Should Parliament pass this important instrument, it will be up to the President to enact it into an Act of Parliament.

Our responsibility is to make sure that we follow it up. I, as an executive authority, have to make sure that I communicate with the Office of the President and, of course, the executive in general because this Bill is of utmost importance for the women of South Africa but it is also of utmost importance to the people of South Africa in general. I thank you.

Ms D C CHRISTIANS: Good afternoon, Minister. Minister, it is concerning and disturbing as you have mentioned that there are more than 200 child marriages in South Africa in 2021. The question is, in the current legal framework we all know that under the current Children’s Act of 2005, there are many inconsistencies and loopholes. Now, how would your department

ensure that the legal framework against child marriages in our country are effectively enforced? Thank you.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much, hon Christians. I think the Bill itself taken also into context with the other Bills - because this is what we think as a Department of Social Development - when we have one Bill, it must not read in isolation with any other legislation that is in place. Nevertheless, when all is said and done it is good enough and well enough to have the legislation and it is good enough and well enough to have passed Bills and all when all is said and done, how do those Bills impact? How does that legislation impact on the day-to-day lives of children? What is important for my department is to then have action plans that are supposed to be assisting in the education of our communities in ensuring that we engage with churches religious affairs.

It is good for them to know that there is legislation but when all is said and done, it is beyond the legislation. It is about what happens and what is understood by our communities. That is why as a government and the Department of Social Development we are saying that let us deal with some of these issues house to house, family to family and street to street.

It is one thing for me to stand and be explaining the Bills and it is another when we go and see what is happening within our communities. Thank you, hon Christian for that question.

Ms N TAFENI: Hon Minister, child marriage is a harmful practice which robs girls of their human rights, including the right of education. Which measures have been put in place to completely eradicate child marriages in the country as any number is still too high? Thank you, Chairperson.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much, hon Tafeni for that question. Yes, the number is very high and that is the reason why I started from the very beginning in answering this question to say, we aim and we quest for a zero number of child marriages. So, the figures that you see, hon Tafeni, going down are figures that are going down because of the work that is being done not only by government but because of the work that is also being done by our communities, traditional leaders and churches.

I am sure you also are contributing towards it because as I said earlier on that you have constituencies and those constituencies are the places that we as government expect that also hon members can partner with us to make sure that

the message goes through about how intolerant we are as a government towards child marriages. Thank you.

Mr S F DU TOIT: Hon Minster, thank you for being here. Minister, the Marriage Act allows for girls to be married at the age of 15 with parental consent but maintains a minimum age of 18 for boys. It goes further that the Recognition of Customary Act further allows minors to enter into customary marriages with parental consent without specifying a minimum age limit for boys or girls.

The Deputy Minister of Health was on this podium 15 minutes ago and he alluded to the fact that we have a high percentage of child pregnancies in the country. Year-on-year government has projects and events to focus on gender-based violence. How is it possible that we can still have this happening in South Africa? You mentioned here that the responsibility is up to the parliamentarians in this House to go to their constituents and speak to the people not to allow this to happen.

You said that there is a tendency in some cultures to want to marry a child and to have sex with a child. Now, hon Minister, can you, please, indicate which ethnic groups and cultures are currently supporting these child marriages in South Africa? To

what extent is your department engaging with them, except for just answering broadly that you are engaging with tribal and traditional leaders? Thank you, Minister.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you, hon Du Toit. I do not want under any circumstance to come here and be talking about ethnic groups or groups of people that are still practicing this. I started from a point of view that says this is our responsibility as government and we take responsibility as government. It is for this reason that as government we make sure that the legislation, maybe, let me start with the Constitution. The Constitution of South Africa covers everybody, including the unfortunate situation of the children who find themselves in this situation.

So, the legislation that we pass, including the Bill and that hon Ndongeni was speaking to earlier on, not only the issue of the Bill, the Department of Social Development in collaboration with the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, in collaboration with the Department of Education and in collaboration with the Police, we do everything we can to go out with specific programmes that are related to educating our people broadly.

Yes, I might be sounding broad in my answering but there are specific programmes that we do both with traditional leaders and with churches and all other civil society organisations. Also, we have nonprofit organisations, NPOs, that we work with. Nonprofit organisations who we make sure that are funded so that they can be able to do their programmes which also include the education of our people and the need for us to eradicate child marriages. As for ethnic groups, I don't think it is for me to be going into that. Thank you.

Question 190:
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Chairperson, I would like to start from here that since the launch of this over-the-top, OTT, platform that we refer to on 27 July, the platform has helped both ordinary South Africans and the media houses to receive much-needed information. To date, we have over
500 000 hits which were recorded with the people downloading the information, not only from South Africa, but even from different countries. And for you hon members, if you want, you can go also and check DSDTV.org.za. It will give you the information that is loaded or downloaded. It will give you the information about what the department does and yes, there is justification because the Department of Social Development has had to look at different ways to make sure that it reaches

ordinary South Africans and make use of the different platforms at its disposal. Now, the different platforms that are available are platforms that government has to take advantage of and then if there is now this platform that we can take advantage of and make sure that people get information directly from us, it is important.

It is common knowledge that third-party service providers need to generate revenue and are governed by editorial independence. They sell airtime and have a mandate, not only to service and broadcast government content, but a variety of content if not at all spheres of our society. The truth of the matter is that government cannot afford many a time this airtime. Airtime on TV and all is very expensive and therefore including the newspapers - to be advertising in newspapers and all it is quite expensive. And therefore the OTT platform allows the department to have a central place where ordinary citizens can watch and find information on the work of the department and its entities without over relying on the mainstream media. It doesn’t mean that we don’t consider the mainstream media to be very important, but regarding the mainstream media, we must contend with the fact that they’ve got a whole lot of other government departments and issues of

the country to cover. Even connecting to 120 community radio stations for an hour can cost up to R900 000 at a go.

So, the Department of Social Development has a lot of production that have never been flighted by any of the mainstream media because this exercise requires revenue. And for the first time through the platform, South Africans can be able to go to be able to see what the department and its entities are doing. I think the South African Constitution refers to the Act 108 of 1996 which provides the framework for communication within government environment and regards freedom of expression as the public’s right to information as a fundamental right. So, as a department, we are doing everything we can to make sure that we reach out to our people.

And members, maybe when you leave this august House, you can go and see for yourself what is on that platform and then you can judge for yourself whether that information is not what is needed by our people. It is also an exaggeration for the hon member to say that a streaming platform was prioritised over essential services. The hon member can look at the numbers for July, just for social assistance, without including other services. It is also incorrect to say that there are

televisions platforms. There is only one over-the-top platform by the department and the R81 250 spent on the channel compared to the R17 billion just in July 2023 is a drop in the ocean.

The government’s policy on communications guides that between 1% to 5% of the department’s budget should be allocated to fund communication. The annual budget of the department is R260 billion and the R81 000 a month does not even make up to the suggested percentage. We do want to reach out to our people and we do want to give them the information directly so that this information that we give is not twisted by others who wants to twist it. And if they want to get the information directly, they are also free to go to DSDTV.org.za and then they will get everything about what we do as a Department of Social Development. I thank you, Chair.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Thank you, Minister. The first follow-up question is from hon Christians. Hon Christians?

Ms D C CHRISTIANS: Thank you, hon House Chairperson. Minister, the current Department of Social Development website is outdated and it is not user-friendly in its current state. Can

you explain why these issues were not addressed before pursuing a new development- a new media online platform? And also, Minister, I know that you have mentioned percentages that the platform has reached, which to my mind sounds minimal
- can you explain how this platform effectively reaches those who might not have reliable Internet access or for that matter, even devices to reach that platform? And specifically, whether the funds invested in this platform are yielding tangible results in terms of supporting vulnerable citizens and delivering essential social services. Thank you, Minister.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much, hon Christians. Yes, we have to really keep working on our websites and again, it is another problem of finances and it is another problem of the cost of improving our system and all. Yes, we will improve on that. But coming straight to the question of the funds yielding results, this is a new platform that we are engaging on. While we are ... And by the way, the first year is a trial for the year and I am 100% sure that following it up by this time at the end of the year we will see better results. Let me just explain. Sometimes people take our people for granted and think that they are not interested in technology and the improvement of technology.

Our social relief of distress, SRD, grant R350 showed to us the number of people who have cellphones in their hands and the number of people who were able to apply for the R350 without going to any office. That on its own was also an indication that our people slowly but surely are getting to appreciate the opportunity of technology and the use of technology to make sure that they have easy access to some of the services that the department can provide. The fact that I also indicated that we had 500 000 hits, hon Christians –
500 000 hits is no mean feat, especially for a Department of Social Development where people always think that people who are getting social grants are not people who are interested in technology and they are not people who are interested in accessing technology. This is already yielding ... Albeit in the way you are saying maybe it’s not big enough - it will be big enough because it is our responsibility also to make sure that our people know that there is something called DSDTV now. And that our people know that they can access information. And the more we load information on it, that is going to be helping our people and directing them to our services.

The fact that we will load information also indicates the work that we have done. By the way, I was in the Free State not long ago and DSDTV went live right at the spot where we were

meeting with the traditional leaders. Everybody who was speaking at that platform could be seen on this DSDTV. You could watch everybody who was in that meeting. You could also watch people who were speaking at that meeting and so the funds will yield? And the funds are already yielding because from now on, by the way, if you want, where we can be ... In fact, if it wasn’t for the processes that we have to go through for our DSDTV to be here, they would have been here showing the people of South Africa as I am answering these questions and they wouldn’t have to be waiting for anybody.
They would see it live. We go live, hon member. Thank you.


The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Thank you, hon Minister. The second follow-up question is from the hon Hlophe
- a special delegate from Mpumalanga on the virtual platform. Ooh, I thought you are on the virtual, sorry. Hon Hlophe?

Ms N E HLOPHE (Mpumalanga): Thank you very much, House Chair and thank you very much, hon Minister, for adequately responding to this question. The over-the-top platform is very helpful in ensuring that the message and information on the services that are offered by the department are reaching communities without being diluted as you indicated, hon

Minister. Has the department budgeted for this expense? Thank you.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much, hon Hlophe. Yes, the department obviously does an overall budget for each and every unit, including that of communication. And therefore the funds that we are using at the moment are budgeted for because we cannot also be creating a platform like this where we are not going to be able to pay them the amount that I indicated earlier on of R81 000 per month and that’s for the entire year.

Yes, hon Hlophe, as I indicated earlier on, if it wasn’t for some technicalities that we have to go through, the people of Mpumalanga would have seen you asking this question through our OTT platform. Thank you.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Thank you, hon Minister. The third follow-up question is from hon Hadebe on the virtual platform. Hon Bhungane?

Mr N M HADEBE: Thank you, hon House Chairperson. Hon Minister Mageba, I would like to ask the department, of course, through you. Hon Mageba has often stated that it did not have enough

money to undertake some of its programmes. I would like to know which programmes did the department cut back on in order to fully launch and run this programme. Thank you.



ngibonge kakhulu lapho ukhona ekhaya, ngiyabona ukuthi usekhaya, impendulo yami ithi, asithathanga imali kuzinhlelo obekufuneka sizenze ukuze sikwazi ukuqhubeka nale nkundla yokuxhumana ye-OTT yethu futhi ngicela ukusho futhi ukuncishiswa kwesabelomali okukhulunywa ngaso ukuncishiswa kwesabelomali kwancishiswa okokuqala ...


... in the past three years ...



 ... futhi lokho kuncishiswa kwesabelomali sincishiselwe sonke ngo-10% ...


... on the basis ...


... yokuthi umnotho wethu, okokuqala, awuhambi kahle ...



... sometimes and, therefore, ...



 ... kuyafuneka ukuthi uHulumeni azame ukwehlisa lapha nalaphaya ukuze sikwazi ukuthi ...


... for instance, ...

 ... ngenze nje isibonelo, ukuze sikwazi ukuqhubeka nokukhokha izibonelelo, ukuze sikwazi ukuqhubeka nokukhokha no-R350, kuyafuneka ukuthi sibeke eqhulwini njengoHulumeni kukhona izinhlelo esingakwazi ukuthi siwagudluze siwahlehlise, kodwa kukhona izinto esingeke sikwazi ukuzihlehlisa futhi ngifuna ukusho ukuthi ...


... for instance, ...


... ukukhokha izibonelelo ...



... is one of the programmes ...



 ... esingasoze sikwazi ukuzehlisa. Lokhu kokuthi sishintsha imali siyithatha kuphi siyisa kuphi yinto leyo esezakwethulwa wami kwiKomidi Elibheke Umsebenzi Womnyango ngoba Imbamba loMqondisi-Jikelele wethu nethimba lakhe basabheka ukuthi uma uHulumeni ethi kithi masike sinciphise lapha nalaphaya yikuphi lapho sizonciphisa khona.


For instance, ...



... sibhekene nento ...


 ... of travelling, we are looking at how much travelling costs, how much accommodation costs.


Kukhona yini into esingayenza ukuthi sehlise inani labantu ...



For instance, ...



 ... uma siya ezindaweni lapho esingakwazi ukwehlisa khona. Ngakhoke le mali le esiyikhiphayo yale nkundla yookuxhumana ye-OTT ayiphumi ...

... from any budget.



Imali eyabelwe ukuthi isetshenziswe ...



... for communication.


IsiZulu: Ngiyabonga.


The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Thank you, hon Minister. The fourth follow-up question is from hon Mokause. Hon Mokause?

Ms M O MOKAUSE: Thank you, House Chairperson. Minister, the current website of your department is not updated and old information is still found being publicised by this department or appears on the websites. How much exactly was allocated and how much was spent in this particular exercise? And how are you going to make sure that people in rural communities access this information, particularly those who do not have access to resources such as data and other devices which are needed - smartphones in particular, which are needed to access this platform? Thank you, House Chair.


u-Mokause ngiyamukhumbula. Ngifisa engabe ula eNdlini ngoba bengizomubheka emehlweni uma ngiphendula umbuzo wakhe.


I miss you. So, we’ll meet some other time.


I-COVID-19 isimoshile yasihlukanisa.



But thank you very much for your question.



Uyabona-ke uma ngithi ngiphendule abanye abantu abanye eemaceleni baqale bangisukele ngingabenzanga lutho. Ngicela bangangisukeli ngoba mina ngizophendula imibuzo la, abangangisukeli ngento engekho.


The old information yes ...


... sengivumile vele ...


 ... when hon Christians ones raising the issue regarding our websites. I have already indicated that personally, I am also not happy with our website and I cannot deny that. The officials are sitting here, and they know that I follow them up all the time about ensuring that we update and we upgrade our website. And I know that there is a process that they have

embarked upon which again, by the way, it also needs some resources which are budgeted for. We are looking at the overall upgrading of our entire systems because some of our systems, not only just the websites, need to be upgraded and brought into speed with today’s technology. The amount of money that is budgeted for, as indicated, is R81 000 per month, which is going to be for 12 months. I indicated that this is just for now. We are taking an exercise that we need to also do a review on it. As we go along every month we’ll be looking at how many people are joining.

But most importantly, let me say that the issue of data - everybody knows that government has been calling on the private sector to reduce the price of data so that people can be able to access this data. But from the Department of Social Development’s point of view, we also look at other departments that are responsible for ensuring that people can easily access data They can also make sure that in the communities, what we are trying to do is to make sure that people can be able to use data and get data cheaper. But all the other departments that have to make it easy for our people to access even ...


... lama gajethi okukhulunywa ngawo.



I’m talking about the fact that at the SA Social Security Agency, Sassa, when people were asked to apply through cellphones, people were able to apply - more than 10 to
15 million were able to apply, including people who were applying from rural areas. So, there is a continued demand for ensuring that data is made easy to access. But also the transformation of technology and making it easy for people to access data not only in relation to this OTT platform for the department, but also in general for our people to be able to access information is one thing that this Department of Social Development is engaging with other relevant departments. Thank you.

Question 199:

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much, hon Nchabeleng, for the question. As you probably are aware, the National Development Agency, NDA, is an agency of the Department of Social Development. When I arrived in the department, there was a whole big issue about its importance, and there was a whole big issue about whether we should continue with it or not. I am, was then, and even at the

beginning when I came, I said: This is one agency that we must make sure that it remains. It is now resourced much better than it was resourced in the past, because this is one agency that will help us in terms of eradication of poverty.

We, as a Department of Social Development, pay for social grants. I am of the view that we should be able to do something about some of the social grant recipients, ensuring that we open opportunities for them not to depend necessarily on the social grant, because the social grant is also not adequate.

Therefore, when we have an agency like the National Development Agency and we plan to assist our communities, we can use it to go and support community organisations. We can use it to also direct some of the grant beneficiaries, to either starting their own businesses or having their own CSOs, in their communities, so that they can be able also to develop self-sustainable projects as individuals.

Since its inception, the NDA has grant funded 4 054 CSOs in the agriculture, manufacturing and ECD sector for an amount of R1,4 billion funding, which was mainly geared towards creating sustainable livelihoods and the eradication of poverty. Grant

funding to CSOs in Limpopo - all Limpopo districts - amounts to over R206 million.

The following are the examples of some of the projects that have been funded in Limpopo. I decided that let me raise issues that are related to Limpopo because the hon Nchabeleng can be able to go to those specific ones, which I am relating to: To check whether for real these are in existence; and whether they are operating. But all members of this House will find that in the different provinces, the NDA has funded some of the CSOs.

One Hlayisekani Stimulation Centre in Mopane District, in Tzaneen in Limpopo, has been funded for R321 552 and is still active. Mamahlale Agricultural Primary Co-operative Limited, again in Mopane District, in Maluleng in Limpopo has been funded R961 338,04 and is still active. Ntswele Tau Agricultural Co-operatives in Sekhukhune District, Makhuduthamaga,


Wena, yazi uyahlupha wena ...



Maybe, I must tell you where we are funding in your area, so that you can go and check?

Tsilimagana Agricultural Co-operatives in Vhembe District, in Musina in Limpopo, has been funded for R696 738 and it is still active. Tshepong Children's Project in Waterberg District, in Thabazimbi in Limpopo has been funded for
R252 718 and is also active.

Not long ago, I was in KwaZulu-Natal. Even in KwaZulu-Natal, when the President went for the Presidential Imbizo, I had to go to some of the co-operatives to hand over to them equipment which they are supposed to use, and I was happy with what I saw.

So, on the other issues for me about capacity building, the NDA has capacitated 40 084 CSOs. In addition to the abovementioned, the NDA has mobilised resources and entered partnerships to advance the fulfilment of its mandate of poverty eradication. I have said to the chairperson, and by the way, the chairperson of NDA is now Mme Ruth Bhengu. I have said to them, it is possible for them to go out and fundraise beyond what the government is able to do. Go to the private

sector and tell them that they also have a responsibility towards our people. I thank you.

Mr M E NCHABELENG: Thanks House. Thanks, hon Minister, for your detailed response, and even sharing information that is very useful for us, in terms of making follow ups to check progress and the impact that we are making on poverty eradication in our areas. The NDA concentrates on community- based structures and early childhood development centres in its role to eradicate poverty.

Does the department have a follow up programme to ensure that the funds given have reached the correct hands, that is, to address issues of the impact of your interventions on poverty eradication in our communities? Thanks a lot.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much, hon Nchabeleng.

Sihlalo, ngizocela ukuth ukhulume nabanye abantu ngoba kithi la sivela khona abantu abathi nci, ishiwo enjeni le yonto leyo.


It is when call dogs; and I don’t think there are dogs in this House.


Ngakhoke ngiyacela ubatshele ukuthi mhlawumbe ngesiLungu sakubo ayisebenzi kanjalo. NgeSintu sakithi ...

 ... when you go “nci nci nci” you are calling a dog and I don’t think there is a dog in this House.

Ngicela bayiyeke le yonto ngoba iyacasula nje kahle kahle.


In responding, Chairperson, yes, DSD as a department does an oversight over NDA. The good thing about the NDA is that it has a board. Therefore, having the board also enables us to have a structure that can be able to oversight over the activities of the NDA.

... bese ngiyasho-ke ...


Kapa e re ke bue ka Sesothonyana sa ka. Ditsi tsa ntlafatso ya bongwana, di-ECD, ha di sa leyo ho rona ka hohle.


We transferred them already to the Department of Basic Education, but that does not mean we are not interested in how it is done. So, the oversight for us is done by DSD over NDA, and another oversight is done by the board, which is led by Ruth Bhengu. I think what is very important here - and again I say - we have asked these CSOs to look at the support that they can get from other opportunities like, for instance, in the private sector.

One of the things that I would like to say, from the Presidential Economic Stimulus Package Volunteer programme is that the R30 million funding which created 4 350 work opportunities for the youth and women from poor communities in the nine provinces, one of the things that is of interest, for instance, for the NDA, is to make sure that it enables people and it tells people how to access that funding.

With regards to ECDs, I think I have covered that because also the ECDs gets support from areas, such as Hope Worldwide South

Africa, Eskom Foundation, but also it gets support from the Department of Social Development, through the Khara Fund Programme. More than 300 CSOs providing service to victims of gender-based violence receive funding. And here, when we talk about the Khara funds, the oversight is not only done by the Department of Social Development; it is also oversighted by Justice because the Khara funds we get from the Department of Justice. Thank you, Chairperson.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Thank you. hon Minister, as for your first point: I want to bring to the attention of the members that I sustain the point of order raised by the Minister, that whosoever is doing that, let that person refrain because he is not in line with the decorum of the House. Should it happen again, then I will have to deal with it in a different way. Refrain from doing anything that will compromise the decorum of the House. This is a very important session dealing with Oral Questions of Social Development. The second follow up question is from hon Du Toit. Hon Du Toit!

Mr S F DU TOIT: Thank you, hon Chair. hon Minister, the NDA supports nonprofit organisations and co-operatives that contribute towards poverty eradication in their communities.

Minister, please indicate if support by the NDA to NPOs is subject to BEE-level classification and/or can any NPO apply for support in this fight against poverty and hunger in the country? Thank you.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much, hon Du Toit. I must say, this is a very important question for me because it is one of the things I have said to the department: I want to see the list of those NPOs and CSOs who apply. We are not supposed, and we should not, be using any BEE-level or any other categorisation either than what is in the Act, which simply says CSOs who can show the work that they are doing within their communities, irrespective of race, irrespective of gender, irrespective of where they come from, they are free to apply, as long as they make sure that they comply with the necessary legislation and the necessary requirements that are there.

Everybody has the right to apply. I can say to you here that I have been concerned, personally, by noticing that there are certain race groups in South Africa that are hardly seen to be applying. I wonder sometimes why they don’t apply because they have the right to apply, and they have the right to be

considered exactly the same way that everybody else is being considered.

So, I call upon them to please apply because I know that poverty and unemployment is not something that is confronting only some sections of our community or some racial group. It is confronting every South Africa can who find themselves without a job, who find themselves without means of supporting their families. Thank you.

Ms M DLAMINI: Thank you, Chairperson. Minister, what tools are used to measure poverty by the department; and does the threshold acclimatise to economic conditions? What are the effective strategies used to ensure eradication and not coping with poverty? Thank you.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): But, hon Dlamini, it will always be good for us to see the face, and then maybe if you have got connection challenges. Anyway, you have asked your question. Hon Minister!

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much, hon Dlamini. Yes, the Department of Social Development is very well known to be one of those departments that are in the

forefront with tools that are supposed to assist our people from a point of view of fighting poverty, unemployment and inequality. One of those, which is one of the biggest in the African continent is the money that comes from Treasury which goes directly to SA Social Security Agency, Sassa; and Sassa disburses it in the form of different social grants that are being given to our people. This is one, but it is one of the biggest!

The second one, is what we are coming from answering right now, with the NDA being one of the tools that we have to use to make sure that we support our communities. We support our communities so that they and self-sustained. I do know that if we look at the social grants and how much the social grants can cover for the needs of our communities, we find that they need much more than that. It is for this reason, hon Dlamini, that we are looking at all other options, from ensuring that people, perhaps through our community development programmes, we develop people that can maintain gardens in their homes.

We are looking at what the Department of Education does in terms of the feeding schemes that they have in schools. By the way, many of those children that are covered by the Department of Education, in school feeding schemes, are grant

beneficiaries. So, when you go to schools and find that children are able to eat, and have two meals per day, it is also one of those.

However, the issue is that after they have had the two meals at school, what happens at home? Hence, we are part and parcel of the government that is trying to make sure that we create more jobs, so that people can be able to take care of themselves.

The other one is with regards to partnering, for instance, with the Department of Agriculture and making sure that people are given seedlings or seeds in order to make sure that they can work their gardens. In the Northern Cape, for instance, MEC Vilakazi will tell you that when we visited some places, we found that people have beautiful flowers in their gardens. They have really beautiful flowers in the gardens.

However, I was asking a question: Is it nice for you to have the flowers right there and almost be in competition about flowers? How about having carrots, cabbage and something at the back and occupy the land that must occupied be occupied, by planting, so that people can be able to take care of themselves from a health point of view.

But also, hon member, we do have. For instance, when we have disasters, the department as well as Sassa, always make sure that we are therefore for our people, from a point of view of ensuring that we give them food parcels. In all the provinces, we have centres where we can put these food parcels together. But my view is: Let us go beyond food parcels. Let us empower our people, so that they can be able to work for themselves.
It might be a food parcel today; but after the food parcel has gone, then what?

This is also one other reason, in the instruments that you are asking about, that we are saying to the private sector, let them partner with us, so that we can be able to convince our people of the capacity they have. Did you know that the best resource we have in South Africa is human resource. So, if we can be able to empower our own people, irrespective of where they are, to ask them that they do these gardens, to ask them that they join the co-operatives, and ask them that they look for things that they can do for themselves, it could all be better for our citizens. I thank you.

Mr M R BARA: Thank you, House Chairperson. Minister, the mandate of the National Development Agency is crucial in the fight against poverty, yet the persistent challenges of

poverty, hunger and unemployment raise questions about the agency's effectiveness. It is important to ensure that the initiatives aimed at tackling these critical issues are yielding substantial results, and I believe transparency in this matter is vital to addressing the concerns of our citizens.

Could you provide any identified gaps or shortcomings that might be hindering the agency's progress in the crucial endeavour; and how is the agency working to address these hurdles and adapt its strategies to better align with the evolving needs of our society? Thank you, House Chair.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much, hon Bara. Your question is truly relevant to what the NDA is currently doing now. They are going through a process of ... In fact, they have completed. We are just waiting for them to make their presentations to the department of their new strategy. The new strategy is also informed by the weaknesses that have been within the institution, which were raised, both by the department itself and by members of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development.

Now that we have a board is better, because that is one of the things that becomes a problem sometimes when our institutions take too long to have institutions or structures that can do the oversight. They are structures that can be able to advise because the board is not only there to do an oversight; the board is also there to give direction to the NDA.

So, the NDA will be presenting to the department and will be presenting, by the way, also to the portfolio committee on the new plan that they have developed, which is going to assist us in confronting the challenges of poverty.

I would like to say that the gaps are also informed by the overall government not having a co-ordinated plan towards dealing with poverty. It cannot only be the Department of Social Development that has to respond. It is about the government’s overall saying on what are the things that are the cause of poverty; and therefore, what are the plans that the government has in order to make sure that we address poverty?

One of the things that we have said that the NDA must do, is to look at the strategy. In fact, there is a document that will be coming out soon, that I am sure members would like to

see, which is a document that is related to poverty alleviation and poverty eradication. You know I am always arguing about poverty alleviation and poverty eradication. In my view it is that we have to eradicate poverty. The alleviation is a mid-term solution.

So, the plans that we have as a department must connect to job creation; they must connect to economic development; and they must connect to all other structures that can be able to help us, so that our people can be able to stand on their own two feet and not be dependent. Dependency, unfortunately for us, means that we are all dependent on one thing or the other.
Some people say you are creating dependency.


We are sitting here, and we depend on ensuring that we get our salaries. If we do not get them, it means we are not fine.
Just sit and think about those, then, that are not even going to be receiving any salary from anywhere. They are dependent on the state because the state is there to lift them. The Constitution says to us, on those who are unable to take care of themselves, let us do everything we can as government to lift them up. So, the new plan that is going to be coming out of the NDA is something that hon members can also look at and

see whether it is responding truly to the issues that we have raised. Thank you, hon.

Question 204:
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Hon Chair, hon member, I think I would like to start with the fact that the department has developed prevention and promotion programmes that are aimed at protecting and promoting the rights, safety and security of older persons and children in communities and residential facilities. I will indicate exactly what these programmes are, but I would like to start with the constitutional provision and the fact that section 19 of the Social Assistance Act 13 of 2004 mandates Sassa to ensure that caregivers act in the best interests of the grant beneficiaries. Regulation 18 empowers Sassa to investigate suspected cases of abuse and where the misuse is proven, the grant can be transferred to an alternative caregiver.

And then going back specifically to the programmes, we have education and awareness programmes reaching out to the general public on older persons, aimed at increasing knowledge and understanding of older persons’ health related issues, reducing the stigma and discrimination that older persons face and encourage older persons to seek help and support whenever

are required. Of course, it’s one thing to talk about the education, it is one thing to know that some of these older persons are not even able to be reached, are not even to make a call and therefore, a lot of the dependency depends on their families, on the communities.

It is for this reason, also that I always say we have to deal with these issues house to house, street to street, community to community. We do not know how many elder people in the street where you are need support and what kind of support they need, or how many of them are being abused? And it is for this reason also that the Department of Social Development launched a programme called Asikhulume. In fact, I saw a magazine outside there that is almost closer to that.

Asikhulume is meant to assist the Department of Social Develop to get volunteers, get people from every district that can go to these homes, that can go to these houses. Community-based organisations can help us by identifying where the challenges are, so that we can then make sure that we reach those people.

The second programme is the advocacy campaign, lobby for policy changes, funding or legislation that can improve the plight of both children and older persons. The third one is

the intergenerational and peer dialogues. These are conducted at district, provincial and national levels to foster the transfer of intergenerational skills and tackle the issue of elder abuse, neglect and ill treatment, most importantly, the appreciation of the knowledge, skills and contribution of older persons in the families and communities.

I also am raising this issue of South Africa actually not utilising the opportunity of the older persons, who walk around with a wealth of information, both about their communities and their families. And I am saying that, while I appreciate that we need to bring young people into new spaces, there are many people who are retiring, who are going and sitting at home. We are not taking advantage of them, from nurses to teachers to all of them. I am saying that those must be the ones that we bring on board and partner with.

The fourth one is the Home-Based Care programme for Older Persons. The programme seeks to ensure that frail older persons receive maximum care within the community. The department commenced with the implementation of the Sacwa 7:35accredited Caregiver Training Manual for older persons in districts.

The fifth one is monitoring and conducting at district and provincial level, to ensure compliance with the prescribed norms and standards. The sixth one is counselling services that are available at all levels of social work intervention and is one of the reasons why we would like to get more and more social workers who must be employed, not only by the Department of Social Development, but other departments must also assist us and the private sector must also assist us.

The seventh one is a comprehensive capacity-building programme on Alzheimer’s diseases, and the related one, dementia. Again, this is one of the biggest ones, which is not understood in our communities. People think that a person has gone mad or a person is walking around. It is because we need to educate our people about these diseases.

This programme seeks to demystify mental illnesses that are old age-related, educate or older persons, families and communities, address traditional, harmful and gender-based ill-treatment levels of older persons, especially women.

The programme targets all relevant stakeholders of all age groups in our communities - government employees, faith based organisations, traditional leaders and healers, social service

professional practitioners, government and private-sector employees.

In conclusion, the promotion of the rights, safety, security and wellbeing of children older persons is guided by the Children’s Act, 38 of 2005, as amended, and the Older Persons Act, number 13 of two 2006. These are two principal legislations that can that mandate the provision of services to children and older persons. I thank you.

Mr N M HADEBE: Hon House Chairperson, hon Minister, my follow- up question is: What prior training is done for caregivers to ensure that they possess the necessary skills needed to fully take care of those vulnerable - that is orphans and elderly?
Thank you.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Hon Chair, this is an ongoing process. We need much more than the number of home caregivers that we have and therefore, the training under Social Development we have also happens for social workers. However, other people take their own initiative, because they want to be of service to communities and they go and do training at different institutions.

I believe that the ones that we have, as the Department of Social Development go through all the necessary training by the department, but even those who are trained by the private sector, need to be followed and assisted by the Department of Social Development.

My plea is that you have to be interested in doing this from a humane point of view, not just because you want for a salary. The issue of caregiving is almost like a calling, as it is with nurses and teachers, sometimes. Therefore, we also believe that the training must also keep on improving, because the new challenges that are faced by caregivers in their homes are becoming much more difficult. However, the caregivers who are providing care in institutions, which are supported by the department is easier also to monitor, because we have to monitor what happens in those institutions where people are taking care.

However, in the homes, again, it is about our support, because one of the responsibilities of this Department of Social Development is assisting in ensuring safety and safe families, ensuring that families also understand and appreciate the values of family and what needs to be done in ensuring that the elderly, in particular, and children are taken care of.

So, that training is something that has to keep on improving and I am sure that the Department of Social Development will keep using new methods to make sure that we empower the caregivers. Sometimes it’s very difficult for caregivers, because sometimes the caregivers do not even get the support they are supposed to get from the family members. So, you will find that caregivers have many challenges where they have to be reporting. Sometimes, the caregivers are not even told the truth by family members of what is happening, but I am sure, as we continue with the training, both that which is offered by government and that which is not offered by government will keep on improving. Thank you.

Mr M R BARA: Hon House Chair, Minister, considering the evolving challenge urges that children and vulnerable groups face, including the impacts of climate change, drug use, poverty, unemployment and the rise of mental health concerns, how does the National Security Agency collaborate with external experts or organisations that specialise in these areas of concern? Moreover, how does the agency plan to ensure that its monitoring and intervention programmes remain adaptable and responsive to the changing landscape of challenges faced by the vulnerable individuals? Thank you.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: House Chair, hon Bara, I think one of the most important pieces of information that we need is to say here is that South Africa, as a country, is signatory, first and foremost, to a number of international organisations that can support us in this. However, I would like to start from a point of view that, before we even go out and sign any agreements or sign any conventions that are out there, we need to start with ourselves. We need to start with our Constitution, we need to start with creating systems and developing systems that can respond to our people.

And the evolving challenges is one of the things that the Department of Social Development addresses well by ensuring that there is continuous research. Our research is supported by the United Nations, and I am happy to indicate that the department has very, very good working relations with most of the bodies of the United Nations which reside in South Africa. Therefore, the evolving challenges are addressed by understanding them and by the research that is done by the department itself.

There is also a call from the Department of Social Development that the new challenges and evolving challenges that you talk about ... In fact, yesterday, we were dealing with the issues

of drugs, how the drugs are changing, and how even our institutions where we keep our people for drug rehabilitation, are finding problems, because the treatment that we are giving to them is no longer responding to the new challenges of the of the new drugs. Therefore, it’s important for us to make sure that we expose ourselves to the international world, which knows a lot about these drugs.

Furthermore, the evolving challenges are based on one, the lived experiences of our people. It is about us understanding the state of the people. What are the issues that are a big challenge for our people and what are the challenges? And if you do not have an appreciation and an understanding of the conditions under which our people live, you will then never be able to develop policies that respond to that.

To that effect, hon Bara, I want to say to you, the department is alive to these new challenges, the department is alive in proposing policy changes that need to be done. And I must tell you that I found in the department very good people, from DDGs to chief director, who actually have a lot of experience in research. They have got a lot of experience in advancing certain policy changes. I think one of the reasons it has been easy for me to do the work is because of the calibre of people

in the department. They have been proposing a lot of policies, which, by the way, sometimes end up not being anywhere.

I’ll just make a quick example for you. We are dealing with the issue of the R350 and we are concerned about what will happen with the R350? We dealt with it at the time when the R350 had to come to an end and I was asking the department whether we cannot have something that we can then use. The officials in the department then said to me: Minister, you are asking us, but your own government had developed a policy way back 2008 on the Basic Income Grant, but it is sitting on the shelves. I had to pull it out, but if I didn’t have officials that could still remember and see it as a solution to our problem, the basic income grant wouldn’t have been on the table because, quite frankly, I wouldn’t have known about it. I was not in the space of social development. Thank you very much.

Mr M S MOLETSANE: House Chair, Minister, apart from the training of the caregivers, is there any screening of the people who are recruited for caregivers, in terms of their background and whether they qualify to be caregivers? Thank you.


Moletsane, I think this is a very critical question, because one of the things the department cannot afford is to get people who are going to be abusive when they get to their homes where they are expected to support. Yes, there is a screening of the background, but I must indicate that sometimes, in the screening, there might be one or two slip offs. Therefore, as a department, we have to do everything we can, to make sure that we tighten the screening process. In the screening process, we must also indicate the fact that we believe that, at provincial level, at district level, this is where the monitoring and evaluation can happen, because it is one thing for the national department to make sure that have the screening processes, but it’s another to make sure that those people that have been given that responsibility are up to scratch.

Furthermore, the screening, in my view, cannot be something that is done as a once off. When we need the reports from the families and the monitoring and evaluation of the performance of these caregivers, it is important that we also strengthen the monitoring and evaluation and make sure that we have people that are able to visit these families and make sure that those people who are supposed to take care, continuously

prove who they are. You know, people change sometimes along the way and therefore, the monitoring and evaluation for me is important.

However, the screening must take place. There is no way we can be employing or even giving people that responsibility, unless they have been properly screened. If there are slip-ups in the system, it is about the communities and families letting us know, so that we can deal with it. And if there are people that shouldn’t be there, we should be able to remove them. We should also make sure that, if they have been abused, the abuse must be dealt with. The law must take its course, where we find that people have abused women, children or the elderly.

Mr I NTSUBE: Hon House Chairperson, Minister, you have indicated that there are laws and programmes that are in place to defend the rights of orphans and the elderly, but it does happen that they find themselves in trouble. I just want to check what emergency measures are put in place by the department in case of abuse of an orphan or elderly by those close to them? Thank you very much.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Hon House Chair, hon Ntsube, yes, the department has safe beds that are allocated in districts to deal with emergencies, in the event an older person needs a place to stay, pending an investigation processes. In the case of a child, the child will be removed and be placed in a temporary safe care, pending the opening of the Children’s Court inquiry for alternative placement.

Again, I would like to say, it’s one thing for us to have the safe beds, it’s one thing for us to have the temporary safe places, what I think we need to do is to improve how the elderly or children can be able to reach out to these centres. We can have the centre, but if people don’t have the information and if people are being abused, even in the home


When we grew up, the neighbours knew what was happening next door, but these days, people don’t want people to know what is happening next door. These days, people are building high walls and these days, sometimes, people can even hear the cry next door, but they don’t do anything about it. It’s a plea from us, as the Department of Social Development, do know.
When you hear a woman cry or when you are being told there is something going on in there, go to the police, report it to

the police, because the department cannot be in each and every house, each and every home.

However, as a department, we need volunteers to go from house to house, street to street, community to community, so that they can raise these issues. There is nothing so painful when the department is arranging for a lunch or something for the elderly and as they walk in, you can tell - and I mean you don’t need to be scientists to see that some of them are walking in looking very neat, very clean, which means they are coming from an environment, but you can see others, as they walk in that they are walking in with miserable faces.

I then say to my department, as these elderly people are walking in either for the lunches or any programme that we might be having, it’s important for our social workers to see those ones that are not looking very good and then we have to do the follow-up. Again, this cannot be done by the department, by the national Department of Social Development. That is why we believe in the District Development Model, which President Cyril Ramaphosa announced. He is now going to different communities with the imbizos and most of the time, he is asking us where the plan for the District Development Model is. What are you getting from the people?

And so it’s important for us to go back to being humane about each other. Let us not ignore the cries that we hear even in our neighbours. Let us not ignore ... Even the teachers sometimes at schools are able to you find out from the children, because the children will tell you what is happening at home. We don’t have a system that will enable the Department of Social Development to get that information from the schools, whether they are the elderly or the orphans who are being abused.

We give resources to caregivers who have some of the orphans in their homes and it’s important for those of the communities who are keeping the children as orphans in their homes, to make sure that they are taken care of. I mean, if you think about the amount of money that is being spent by government on the caregivers ... I mean in Mpumalanga, one time, I went to an orphanage and I found that, for each child at the orphanage, government was paying R4 000 per child per month.

The issue is, where does that money go to? It is our responsibility at provincial level to make sure that we visit those homes and make sure that the children look like there is that amount of money being spent, instead of having that amount of money being paid for people’s lifestyles, having

better cars, having better homes. I am not saying people shouldn’t have better homes, but that money is being given to them to take care of the orphans in the places of safety.
Thank you, Chair.


Question 191:

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Hon Christians, I want to say to you upfront that as the executive I am guided by certain standards, I am guided by appointment criteria and I am guided by criteria that are described in the directive on compulsory capacity development, mandatory training days and minimum entry requirements for the senior management service, SMS, issued on 6 March 2017 by the Department of Public Service and Administration. Therefore, the department and/or the Minister does not have the latitude to amend any of the criteria. Even if you want a particular person but that particular person does not meet that criteria, you cannot appoint a person who does not have the necessary qualifications. Therefore, there were no adjustments made to the appointment criteria of the director-general’s, DG’s, position.

Let me also appreciate and say that, firstly, the directive prescribes that the required minimum qualifications for a head

of department post shall be an undergraduate qualification and a postgraduate qualification at National Qualifications Framework, NQF, level 8, as recognised by the SA Qualifications Authority.

Secondly, the minimum number of years of experience as an entry requirement for a head of department is eight to
10 years of experience at a senior managerial level, of which at least three years must be in an organ of state as defined in the Constitution. Therefore, it is important to state that all shortlisted candidates for this post met the prescribed criteria. That is number one.

Secondly, I see that there are a lot of issues in the public which point to ... almost as if the person has been appointed. The person has not been appointed. Firstly, there was a due process of application for all. There was a due process of shortlisting, which by the way, I must say that I have nothing to do with anybody being shortlisted. I don’t sit on any shortlisting ... I didn’t sit in on the shortlisting of this
... All I did was to put together a panel, again, as required, a panel that had to interview all the candidates that applied.

We must ask ourselves one fundamental question. What would be the reason for some people to go to the extent that they have to point at ... even leaking secret confidential government information to the media ... not only to the media ... to stop this particular appointment which is still in process? The Minister of Public Service has not completed her work. What normally happens is that we wait for the Department of Public Service to then agree or disagree because the Minister of Public Service is the only one who takes such appointments to Cabinet. I would not even be the one who takes that Cabinet memorandum to Cabinet. That process is still with Public Service, and we all await the appointment when Public Service and when Cabinet makes its decision.

By the way, Cabinet has to make that decision not only based on what I say. Cabinet will make that decision on the basis of what Public Service says ... they have done all the checks and balances as to whether that person that is being proposed by the panel that was put together ...

One of the things that I find completely and utterly unacceptable is the information going around which says that it’s because the person comes from KwaZulu-Natal. It says a whole lot of things about me and the relationship thereof. I

find it completely and utterly unacceptable because the issues of ethnic whatever, where the person comes from ... I also find it completely unacceptable for people to connect the fact that there is a person whose surname is ... from KwaZulu-Natal and the person is from KwaZulu-Natal, and therefore automatically ... because it is said that I come from KwaZulu- Natal. I want to put it clearly here and now, and lay it to rest. Under my office ... under any circumstance can I want people to be in my office on the basis of where they come from, on the basis of which region they come from or on the basis of whether they are Zulu or Xhosa or Sotho or Pedi or whatever. I did not fight for that. I fought for an opportunity to be given to everybody that qualifies.

This case for instance has not even reached the final destination. It is still on the way but here we are. We have to answer these questions and I will always answer these questions gladly because as I stand in front of you here I am very sure that I did not and will not influence because, let me put this straight, under my watch I cannot be doing favours for anybody to come and work with me when they cannot deliver on the job. That I can never do. Thank you.

Ms D C CHRISTIANS: Thank you, hon Minister, for answering the question and in the spirit that you did because obviously there are concerns out there in the media and our public has concerns. We have to ask the necessary questions for you to answer them.

Minister, you elaborated that the candidate had not been ... actually he or she is not in the position as yet. So, there were other candidates who were considered for the position. Could you elaborate a little bit about their qualifications and their experience, compared to the person who has been proposed because it is at the proposed phase now?

Then also, Minister, given that there are concerns over transparency and fairness, how can you reassure the public and your colleagues that this appointment was based on merit and not influenced by personal connections? Thank you very much, House Chair.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Minister, as the person presiding, I don't want to interfere with what is happening but I got the sense that the question ... as we said, the question must be linked to the original one and your response is that the person has not been appointed. I don't

know where we are getting with ... how we will be dealing with it. Maybe we have to get to that stage so that we can get to the bottom of it but not to pre-empt the process. However, I'll leave it to you, Minister, to comment.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much, Chairperson, for that and thank you, hon Christians, for raising concerns which have been raised in the public. Yes, the concerns have to be raised when people think or when people have got facts. What becomes a problem is when people do not have facts. That is number one. What becomes a problem is when people do not even give us ... or if they give us an opportunity, they send questions today and tell you that the deadline is tomorrow. They give us a deadline but they don't give themselves a deadline.

I also don't think it would be correct for me to expose a process that is still in due process. I don't think it would be correct for me, having sat on the panel of people that were interviewing, to say this one’s qualifications ... because that is something that the Department of Public Service has got the responsibility to do, and I can tell you that they do that in the best way because they need to check each and every candidate. They don't just receive your proposal as a panel

and then say, no, we are fine with it. They go back to ask themselves the questions that you are asking. Did anyone else have better qualifications? They also stick with the one that you say is your preferred candidate. They don’t have to comb through these qualifications that I indicated earlier on. So, on this point, I don't think it would be correct for me to say who are the people that were interviewed because that's something that belongs to the ... However, the final issue here is that there was a candidate who was not a candidate who was said to be my preferred candidate. We had a selection of candidates. I had two Ministers, I had a Deputy Minister, I had a DG from another department and we made sure that we abide by the regulations. We made sure that that happened.

Also, the whole issue right now for me is in a way sub judice because Public Service has not even presented who is the preferred candidate to Cabinet, and unfortunately, this is where the problem lies. When we talk about people who take out confidential information ... information that is supposed to be protected for everybody, for every individual, even including the ones who were there who went through the interviews and all. When you have people who do not have respect for that, worse of all, they go and talk as if an appointment has been made. They go and talk about due process

which has not even been said by Public Service that, no, Minister and your team, your process was flawed. It is Public Service that has to do so, but now unfortunately, we are being vilified in the public. We are being called all kinds of names in the public because somebody dared to take that information, which was still information that is secret and that has to go through due processes. As we speak, all that information is somewhere out there and I do not think it is correct. I do not think that it is right. I do not even think that public servants, who are public servants, have got the right to do that. Neither do I think anyone else has got the right to do that because that information is protected.

However, that doesn't mean that when the announcement is made, when Cabinet makes that decision and people have got issues, they ... have the right to then stand up and say, Minister or Cabinet, you have appointed this candidate. This is what we can put on the table for you to reconsider, or also tell us whether it is correct for you to appoint a person with the following facts that are put on the table. Right now, we are far from that and the whole thing has been messed up.

Mr S F DU TOIT: Hon Chair, the Minister indicated now that she can't actually provide answers and she stipulated all the

facts. So, for the moment I am covered. Let's see if we will engage again when the appointment takes place. Thank you.

Ms N E NKOSI: Hon Minister, what is the role of the Cabinet in the appointment of DGs? Thank you.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Hon Nkosi, Cabinet is the final decider on the appointment of DGs. Cabinet is the one that even makes the pronouncements about the appointment but Cabinet must also satisfy itself that due processes took place, that the person or people who are being appointed have got the necessary qualifications and that all due processes were followed to the tee. It is for this reason that, before Cabinet does that, any proposal for any appointment has to go via Public Service. Therefore, Public Service and the Minister is the one that comes to Cabinet and says, here are the appointments and we have satisfied ourselves that due processes were carried out. The criteria, the qualifications and everything have been checked ... whether the candidate is suitable and the candidate is therefore appointable. That process is done, not by Cabinet just receiving information from myself. I do not even participate. My task as a Minister is to make sure that the advert was done, the selection was done and the interviews were done. I put together the team

according to the guidelines and then after that I hand it over to Public Service, and Public Service does the checks and balances and Cabinet will finally say yes or no to an appointment.

Ms M O MOKAUSE: Minister, we notice that you are still here. You are still the Minister. You are still around despite the accusations by your own that you manipulated the process to appoint your close ally. The National, Education, Health and Allied Workers Union, Nehawu, is an ally of the ANC. It is publicly known. We hold a strong view that Nehawu was grandstanding and is still grandstanding. Had they not been grandstanding, Minister, they would have been on the streets constantly demanding your removal. So it clearly shows that they were grandstanding. Now, out of all these accusations, have you publicly gone out there to dismiss or admit to these allegations. Is it your first appearance relating to this?
Thank you, House Chair. [Interjections.]


The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order, members. Let's leave it to the Minister. I thought she had sufficiently covered it in the first response but I will allow you, hon Minister, to comment on what has been said by hon Mokause.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much for that question, hon ... This happens to be my first ... from a point of view of Parliament because the question was asked and I am answering the question because I have due respect for this House. I am answering the question because it's part of my responsibility to make sure that when all Members of Parliament, whether in the NCOP or whether in the National Assembly, ask questions, I must be able to answer those questions.

Yes, when it comes to Nehawu, I wrote a letter to say that I would like to have a meeting with them because I personally do not believe and I don't think that our public spats, and especially with alliance partners, is something that South Africa needs. We need to be able to sit together and put the facts as they are because, as I indicated earlier on, the fact that they had information which should not have been in their hands, is something that needs to be asked. Why were they given that information? How did they get that information?
What was the purpose of that information being leaked out when it is protected by law? We know the due processes of the law, and by the way, nothing would have stopped them either, from saying, now, Cabinet, you have appointed this person. We don't agree with this appointment and they put the facts on the

table. This is a government and my belief, having been here, is that its transparent. The Constitution also protects them to be able to raise those issues so that we can deal with these issues. The question that I keep asking myself is, why is it that a due and transparent process according to how it is supposed to be ... I mean, it's not the first time that the department has gone through interviews, has gone through and made proposals by panel to say this is the person or these are the persons that have to be appointed. I will have my time with Nehawu and I can say here, without any fear of anything, that I am prepared to sit or stand on any platform and explain the due process.

As it is, I now even have to answer to the Ethics Committee. The process has not been completed but now I am called upon to go and answer to the Ethics Committee. Why am I answering to the Ethics Committee? It’s because a member of this Parliament has made an affidavit and sent it to the Ethics Committee. I want to say it again and again, even with the Ethics Committee, I will go there and present myself because one thing I know is that I have nothing to hide. I will go to the Ethics Committee and respond to the issues because I believe in these institutions. I also believe you have an Ethics

Committee for it to be able to curb any form of abuse. I will go to the Ethics Committee and respond as I am expected to do.

However, for now, it is a fact that this appointment, which seems to have been started by an article that was published
... an article by the way ... and I must tell members here that I got questions. Those questions did not even come to me the first time. The questions went to the department but it is me that they are talking about. They needed to send the questions to me so that I could be able to answer.

Secondly, when I called the journalist who wrote the article, I said this is a democracy I fought for. I will not hide from engaging with you and explaining the due processes. The journalist said, I am sorry, I didn't see your short message service, SMS. I am sorry I didn't see your call because I was in an area that had no network. I called the editor. I said, editor, I want to explain the due process to you so that you don't feel like I am hiding. ... the same story. Well, I am sorry, I couldn't answer your calls. I am sorry, I was tied up. I am sorry, I was busy. However, here's the bottom line. They are sorry and my name is being dragged into the mud. I fought for this country. I will stand up, and hon member, when you say to me I am still standing here, I am here only because

the ANC put me here. I am here only because the President appointed me and the President believes in me, and if the President at any point believes I am not doing my work as I am supposed to do it, I can assure you the President will act on me.

Ms M O MOKAUSE: On a point of order, Chair.


The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Mokause, what’s the point of order?

Ms M O MOKAUSE: Hon Chair, I am rising on a point of order With regard to the bullying and humiliation by the Deputy Chair of the National Council of Provinces. It is not only today but ... [Inaudible.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Mokause, you are out of order.

Mr I NTSUBE: That is not a point of order. [Inaudible.] [Interjections.]

Ms M O MOKAUSE: [Inaudible.] ... business to respond. She is not a Minister. She is left with two months to be removed.

{Inaudible.] ... we are taking over this Council in less than eight months. She needs to put it into her head ...

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order members! Can she be muted? We can’t be subjected to that. Order members. Order members. Hon Mokause just misses the Deputy Chair, so they will have their time. There is nothing that has been done by the Deputy Chair. Order members! Hon Minister, let’s get to the last question, which is Question 200 asked by hon Njandu. Hon Minister, please respond.

Question 200:

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much for that question, hon Njadu. Yes, South Africa has the necessary mechanisms in place to combat human trafficking as a problem identified in many developing countries. Chapter Two of the Constitution of South Africa contains the Bill of Rights, which makes provision for freedom and security for all persons. In particular, section 13 talks about the fact that “no one may be subjected to slavery, servitude or forced labour.”

At the regional and international level, there are mechanisms in place addressing the problem of trafficking of persons or

human trafficking aligned to the UN’s Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons of 2000. Part of the key mechanisms are the country’s Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act, no 7 of 2013, and the National Policy Framework of Trafficking in Persons, NPFTIP, which came into existence in 2019 and was reviewed in 2022.

Further mechanisms include, but are not limited to, the social services, law enforcement, immigration and prosecution services. All are involved in the implementation of the above- mentioned framework and their activities are co-ordinated by the National Inter-Sectoral Committee on Trafficking in Persons, NICTIP. Which is led by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

All nine provincial trafficking in persons, TIP, Task Teams and Rapid Response Teams that are co-chaired by both the National Department of Justice and the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders are also represented at both the national and provincial structures. While law enforcement, the South African Police Service, SAPS, and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation are focused on the investigation, prosecution and conviction of perpetrators of trafficking,

immigration ensures victims’ identification and provisions of the relevant travel documents.

The Department of Social Development is responsible for the following: Victim identification, protection, care, support and healing from the trauma of exploitation by trafficking syndicates, which, by the way, starts with the existence of trafficking syndicates who get away with murder, actually because they are the ones that go around in our communities ensuring that they look for the vulnerable and they want to traffic our children and women.

Frontline social workers of the department and Community Security Organisation, CSO, partners are trained to identify signs of trafficking and assessment of suspected victims of trafficking for the issuing of letters of recognition by the provincial heads of social development. The department is also responsible for the accreditation of service providers and programmes, including the shelters for victims of trafficking in line with the norms and minimum standards.

Both the national and the nine provincial departments of social development target calendar days, such as the World Day Against TIP, from 30 July, TIP Awareness Week, on the first

week of October and the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign to create awareness in rural and urban areas.

Hon members, this is a serious problem, particularly in developing countries and in the African continent, and we see many of our own crossing seas because they are going to look for greener pastures somewhere else and amongst them, you will find that there are children and women who are trafficked. And therefore it becomes our responsibility to stand up and do something about it. One time I was driving from the Free State, and I saw this huge truck stopping there. The driver saw a young girl who was on the street and the truck driver decided to stop. I had to find a way to back up behind the truck, and I was driving like a mad person because I saw the young girl get into the truck, and I couldn’t imagine what was going to happen to that child. The truck driver noticed that. He didn’t know who I was, and that’s not the problem. And my being able to find a way of driving back and pointing at him, he drove the truck very fast but I was able to take the number plate of the truck.

Here is the problem, if we see it and we don’t do anything about it, we will always end up just talking about it. It is

our responsibility collectively to stop it because it is painful for the children and it is painful for the women who get trafficked. I thank you, Chair.


Mnu E Z NJADU: Mandibulele Mphathiswa ngokuphendula lo mbuzo ngokucacileyo.

My follow-up question to your answer is how many shelters are accredited to care for victims of human trafficking? Thank you very much.





... izindawo zokukhosela eziphelele okwamanje zingu-22 ezinezimvume ...


... that are accredited to accommodate adults of victims of trafficking since 2018. The three of them are to be renewed as

their accreditation period has expired. This is one of the problems we have, which I think again without necessarily directing hon members on what to do. You have constituencies and some of these ...


 ... zikubavoti benu. Ngezinye izikhathi abanikazi bazo abaziqhubayo basindwa yizinyawo ukuvuselela izigunyazo futhi izigunyazo asikwazi ukubanikeza yona ...

... without checking whether they really are fit enough to be the ones that take care of these people. And so, ...


 ... azanele ngokubona kwami njengoNgqongqoshe Wezokuthuthukiswa Komphakathi ...


... as the Minister of Social Development. But each province has at least one shelter accredited for the victims of trafficking. Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape have more than one as these provinces account for the highest

number of identified victims of trafficking in each year. All the child and youth care centres, CYCCs ...

... esijwayele ukuzibiza ngama-CYCCs ...


... accommodate child victims of trafficking in addition to all the children in need of their care. I do want to say here


... lezi engikwazile ukuzivakashela ngazibona ...


... I really wish to thank the people who work tirelessly in those centres. Again, ...


 ... njengoba bengisho ngaphambili ngezinye izikhathi le nto iba senhliziyweni nasengqondweni yomuntu ukuthi ...

... I’m taking this kind of work because I’m committed to it.


Esikhathini esiningi labo bantu abasebenza kulezo zindawo ...


... even their salaries and allowances are not enough. But I can tell you, they do the best that they can.


Kungakho sithi singuMnyango Wezokuthuthukiswa Komphakathi sidinga ukuthi sibe nosonhlalakahle baye ngokwanda ngoba eNingizimu Afrika ...

... more and more. South Africa hasn’t got enough social workers.


... yayithe kufuneka sibe na-55 000 ...


... by the year 2030. The President has also said to us, considering the social ills and the problems that we have, that is not enough and the department has to do more to get more social workers.

Mr M J MAGWALA: Thank you, tat’uJomo [Mr]. Greetings Minister, I just want to address something in the House, the chest pains that the governing party is having by diligently calling buses. It was so packed at the First National Bank Stadium, FNB, and now they are having chest pains. I just want to be clear on that. Minister, you look very lovely in your red ... [Interjections.] ...

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order, hon members! Let’s allow him to ask the question.

Mr M J MAGWALA: Minister, young girls stand vulnerable to human trafficking in South Africa, despite the existence of the law to address human trafficking in this country. What steps have been taken towards the creation of an official human trafficking database in all nine provinces which will trace the trafficking of young girls? What intergovernmental programmes are in place to intercept these involvements in human trafficking?


Niyayithanda ingxolo nina.


uMagwala, ngicela ungaqali indaba engafuneki ukuxoxwa la ngoba thina sime ngomumo sinilindele laphaya esitaladini, nanokuthi umbala obomvu umbala wethu nathi sinomlingani womfelandawonye, loyo mlingani uwumbala obomvu. Ngakhoke uma nisibona sigqoke imibala ebomvu ningacabangi ukuthi sesijoyine nina. Asoze!
Asizi! Andizi apho.


I am going to remain where I am. But thank you very much for your question. Before I get into the details of our systems, I have always called on Members of the House and even NCOP to help us stop this because it is something that is very painful. The database of those who are arrested for human trafficking is something I can provide from the Department of Justice as well as amapolisa [the police] because I, unfortunately, don’t have the facts and figures kum [with me]. But I promise you, we can give you those.

Again, the issue is about the facts and figures because then you are able to know whether we are able to deal with the issue or whether your system and efforts are dealing with the issue or not. However, the vulnerability of women and children to trafficking as we know it has to do with the breakdown of

families. It is about the breakdown of family values. It is about the breakdown of law and order in some cases. It’s about the breakdown of systems that are able to take care of our people because I am sure that women and children in particular who are trafficked would not expose themselves to it if they lived in an environment that was conducive to it. But even the people who plotted would not be able to win them over to their side. Many of these young girls, for example, as I indicated with the girl I had to stop, are pushed by hunger, poverty and many other family circumstances to make themselves vulnerable and exposed themselves to the sharks that are waiting for them outside.

As far as intergovernmental co-operation is concerned, I indicated earlier that we, as the Department of Social Development, do not work alone. We work with the police, we work with the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities. But our call is basically that all government departments if they see something like this, they have to do it. Because the legislation alone, I have already said that, the laws that are nicely written, the laws that are nicely written, the laws only act when the person who did this has been caught.

We need to do more and more of what the Department of Social Development is doing, and I would like to thank the province, especially the province of Northern Cape. The province of Northern Cape does not waste time in getting us to go and talk to the communities. They organise these meetings. They organise them not only around the 16 days of activism, but throughout the year. So we are asking that all provinces take an example from what we have seen in the Department of Social Development in the Northern Cape, where all the relevant departments work together to make sure that people involved in trafficking are caught as much as possible. This information also on children or women who are trafficked, I come back to the family, if we can enable families to report in time when someone disappears, all the better for us. Thank you.

Mr N M HADEBE: Thank you, hon House Chairperson. Hon Minister, what new and effective programmes or legislations have your department put in place or proposed to ensure that you have a bit more contribution and control over the containers that leave our shores and borders, which are the biggest portals used in human trafficking? Thank you.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much. It speaks to issues of transportation, issues of how people are taken out of the country illegally.


Ngiyaxolisa nje ukuthi ...



... I am not able to give you the exact legislation and I think I can ask my department to look at that legislation. Because that covers the exit of people from the country and I think that is both in the Department of Home Affairs as well as the Department of Transport. Give me an opportunity and a chance to go and check that legislation specifically and I can come back to you. Thank you.

Ms D C CHRISTIANS: Thank you, House Chairperson. Minister, recently the United States moved us to Tier 2 status designation. This means that our country is considered to be a source, transit and destination country for individuals being trafficked. So, this underscores the urgency for a comprehensive response, and it does seem as if the current efforts are inadequate to effectively address this critical issue.

Minister, does your department have any specific resources and funding dedicated to anti-trafficking measures, specifically to elevate or move us from the Tier 2 status to a safer Tier to ensure a safer environment for all our citizens in the country? Thank you, House Chairperson.

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much, hon Christians. Of course, it is not pleasant for us as a country to be put in any tier that puts us in a situation where people will not believe that we have the capacity and capability to protect our citizens. And I think in my earlier responses I referred to the constitutional provisions that enable us to develop the legislation. And I have also indicated that it is not just legislation alone that can be able to help us.

In the Department of Social Development, there are various units that deal with gender-based violence. This would therefore be units that deal with trafficking in general, not just child trafficking. Under social welfare in particular that is where you would find the different units that deal with the protection of children and women. And I think we can have those units that would go out and mediate that. Firstly, what they are proposing is legislation that needs to be passed. And I insisted that it is not only the legislation

that will protect our people, but it is about the actions that we take on the ground.

The Department of Social Development cannot work alone, it has to work with the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, and the police. I agree with you, we do need to develop a comprehensive, properly co-ordinated and proper action plan that can make that impact.

One of the weaknesses that we have always been talking about is about the government being able to co-ordinate its efforts. We are not where one would be very comfortable, because if I were comfortable with it, I would say I am very comfortable.
We are doing it. It is important for us as a department to be seen to be also that department that ensures the co-ordination and the comprehensiveness of a plan that can be implemented to stop trafficking.

In my opinion, we are not yet there. We can only reach it if we improve our systems, and improving our system is not only about our systems as the department but also about enabling our people in the field to have systems that can produce reports. You know, we have technology today where all it takes is the push of a button.

I saw an app the other day where the person does not even have to call, it’s a matter of them having a phone and so on. It runs to a centre and the centre can even tell where the person is. So if we use all these technological possibilities, we will be able to help our people because if a person is trafficked, you cannot imagine that the person might not have a phone, they might not even be able to scream and the traffickers are getting smarter by the day. They use different ways of pulling people to them. They offered them things which are not there, but because people are vulnerable, they think they will get either a job or something.

So, I agree with you. The comprehensiveness and the co- ordinated effort of the work that we do still need a lot to be desired. Thank you.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr A J Nyambi): Thank you, hon Minister Zulu. As you take your seat. Thank you very much and you have answered all the questions.

Hon members, there is a new link for the preparations of the Workshop for the NCOP Provincial Week. So you would have to access the new link. They have changed the old one because of time.

Allow me to take this opportunity to thank Minister Mageba [name of clan] for agreeing to answer questions in this session. For this session, we had more than six MECs on the virtual platform, and two MPs from Mpumalanga. MPs Hlophe and Williams from the Eastern Cape are physically present, as well as the Deputy Chairperson of Chairs from Gauteng and the Provincial Whip. So we were very fortunate. It was an important meeting and that you came to support it. It was almost the same yesterday as well. Thank you very much, hon members. That concludes the business for today.

The Council adjourned at 13:57.


The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Members, can you be back in 30 minutes, please?



No related