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Minister: Bathabile Olive Dlamini
Deputy Minister: Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu
Deputy Minister
iconDSD Customer Care Charter iconStudy Report on Children's access to Social Insurance Benefits
Budget Vote 17 Speech by the Minister of Social Development,Ms Bathabile Dlamini, MP to the National Assembly, Cape Town, 25 May 2017 Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 May 2017

Honourable Chairperson,

Chairperson and Members of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development,

MECs for Social Development here present,

Representatives of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer sector in the public gallery,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen 

Honourable Chairperson, I rise to present Budget Vote 17 of the Department of Social Development to this august House. From the onset, I would like to tender the apology of the Deputy Minister of Social Development, Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu who is unable to be part of this Budget Vote debate due to ill health. I spoke with her this morning and we wish her a speedy recovery.

Honourable Members, I would like to draw your attention to the scourge of violence that manifests itself in the brutal and barbaric killings of young lives full of potential like those of Courtney Pieters, Karabo Mokoena, Sinoxolo Mafevuka, Nonki Smous, Eudy Simelane, Zoliswa Nkonyana, Anelene Booysens, Nombuyiselo Nombewu and countless other women too many to mention in the time allocated for this debate.

Violence is a disease of epidemic proportions that also features in intimate relationships. Victims experience violence at the very hands of people who are supposed to love and care for them. The UN estimates that 1 in 3 women is beaten or raped during their lifetime.

We cannot continue to accept violence as a status quo in our society. This is at variance with the fundamental right to life, freedoms and security of our people as enshrined in our Constitution.

We must commit ourselves to building a safer and rape-free communities by promoting a rights-based society wherein we normalise substantive equality between men and women and celebrate the fact that there are differing sexual orientations, gender identities and where we normalise substantive equality between black and white.

Through our criminal justice system we must send a stern message that rape is an intolerable crime as it undermines our efforts to build a society that is safe, equal and prosperous. But it will take more than passing pieces of legislation to deal with this scourge.

We must all, including Members of this House, irrespective of race, colour and our political affiliation put our hands on the deck to make our homes, and communities safer for all, especially for women and children, including the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer people.

Collectively, we all need to condemn all forms of violence, including hate crimes and corrective rape perpetrated against the LGBTIQ community. Our sisters and brothers cannot live in constant fear in their own homes and communities.

It cannot be that one section of the community, driven mainly by patriarchal tendencies and chauvinism claim the right to subjectively determine what acceptable sexual orientation or gender identity is.

Together with the LGBTIQ sector and other departments, including Justice and Constitutional Development as well as Police, we will embark on a national campaign and community dialogues. On this note allow me to acknowledge the presence of the representatives of the sector who have joined us here today, including the families of Eudy Simelane and Nonki Smous. The two women were tragically killed for being lesbians.

We also acknowledge the presence of twelve young learners who have joined us here today as part of Take-A-Girl-Child to Work initiative. We need to do more to tackle violence, and gender-based violence in particular to protect them and to enable them to fulfil their potential.

AND WE MUST DO IT NOW!

Honourable Chairperson, we present this Budget Vote on a very important day on the African calendar. Today marks the 54th anniversary of the former Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU). On this day in 1963, the founders of the Organization of African Unity gathered together in Addis Abba, Ethiopia, to establish a continent united in its diversity and solidarity.

Throughout this year, we mark the centenary of the birth of “Comrade OR” as President Oliver Reginald Tambo was affectionately known. President Jacob Zuma declared 2017 as the Year of OR Tambo under the theme: Unity in Action-Together Moving South Africa Forward.

We join the peoples of the world to celebrate and reflect on his selflessness, courage and the indomitable spirit. Comrade OR led the ANC during the difficult years of the liberation struggle. We will continue to reflect on his legacy.

Comrade OR was a unifier and a diplomat extraordinaire who established the ANC in exile and mobilised key regional and international alliances, including the frontline states, the OAU, the Commonwealth and the UN to boycott and impose sanctions against the racist and oppressive apartheid regime.

Chairperson, we draw on the rich legacy of “Comrade OR” to drive our actions today. For it is President “OR” Tambo, who in his address on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the OAU in Arusha, Tanzania in 1983 prophetically declared, and I quote:

As we mark this historic occasion of the 25th anniversary of the OAU Liberation Committee and its 50th Session, and cast our eyes west into the Caprivi Strip and Namibia and across the Limpopo into South Africa, we see the tree of freedom rising in all its magnificence, watered by the blood of our own peoples and nourished by the victories that the peoples of our continent have scored during the last quarter of a century. There will be no 50th anniversary of the Liberation Committee to celebrate and no hundredth session, because long before then, we shall all meet in a liberated Namibia and liberated South Africa, together to attend to the urgent question of the rebuilding of our continent as a zone of prosperity, peace and friendship among the people (close quote).

Indeed, eleven years after Cde OR’s poignant speech, our country began the long walk to freedom from her painful past. Today, while we acknowledge that the national task of building a humane society envisaged by Cde OR Tambo and espoused in the NDP is still work in progress, we take great pride in our achievements.

Whatever the challenges that we may face, we have every reason to be proud of who we are today.

In 1994, the masses of our people exercised their civic duty and committed to join hands with the ANC to build a society in which Cde OR said, I quote: “there will be neither whites nor blacks, just South Africans, free and united in diversity.”

In a tribute to his comrade and friend, the first democratically-elected President of the Republic of South Africa, Nelson Mandela said and I quote:

I say that OR Tambo has not died, because the ideals for which he sacrificed his life can never die. I say that Oliver Tambo has not died because the ideals of freedom, human dignity and a colour-blind respect for every individual cannot perish.

Honourable Members,

The Department received a budget of 160 Billion Rand in the financial year. Of this amount, 151 Billion Rand goes directly to the social assistance programme.

Chapter Two of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa contains the Bill of Rights, a human rights charter that protects the civil, politicaland socio-economic rights of all people. Section 27 sets out a number of rights with regard to health, including reproductive rights and access to food and water.

Section 27 also enshrines the right to social security. For this reason, we do not take it lightly that social grants are a lifeline and often the only means of survival for many vulnerable people in our country. The provision of social grants is a fulfillment of a Constitutional obligation of making freedom and democracy more meaningful for the poor and vulnerable, and Africans in particular.

We have over the past years made great strides in improving SASSA’s efficiency and its capacity to deliver on this Constitutional mandate. It is therefore no wonder that in the space of ten years since its inception, many countries across Africa, and in fact across the globe, have come to recognise our social assistance programme as amongst the best in the world.

This is indeed an achievement for our Government, particularly in the face of the negative narrative by those in the opposition benches.

Let me take this opportunity to reiterate my sincere apology to all South Africans, and social grants beneficiaries in particular for the confusion created around the expiry of the contract for the payment system.

Futhi sithanda ukuthatha lelithuba ukubonga singaphezi kubona bonke abantu bakithi abamukela imali yesibonelelo sikaHulumeni ngokusilalela uma sithi imali yabo angeke imiswe.

Last year, we committed to continue paying social grants beyond 31 March 2017, as we have done consistently without fail in the twenty three years of our democracy.

The doomsday predictions that some wished for did not happen.

True to our slogan, on the 1st April all eligible beneficiaries received the right social grant at the right time and place.

WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO, NJALO!

Chairperson, allow me once more to say without any fear of contradiction that we accept the supervision of the Constitutional Court. Equally, we accept the oversight role of Parliament through the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on SASSA’s change plan of finding a cost effective and long term solution on the payment of social grants.

To this end, we have moved swiftly to incorporate the Constitutional Court orders into the Annual Performance Plan of SASSA, starting in the current financial year and over the MTEF period.

As we transition into the environment where SASSA takes over this function, we will continue to seek the assistance of industry expertise in various fields.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Comprehensive Social Security, under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma, will provide the necessary political impetus to deal with the long standing issues relating to the social security reform proposals, including the social grants payment solution.

We are pleased to inform this august House that we have begun engagements with other organs of state towards phasing out the services of the current service provider. We plan to phase-in the services of the new service provider by November this year. This will give us enough time to ensure a seamless transition when the current contract comes to end in March 2018.

Last year, we committed to release of the Discussion Paper on Social Security Reform proposals for public consultations. We tabled the Comprehensive Social Security Discussion Paper at NEDLAC in November 2016.

The policy proposals include, amongst others, the introduction of a mandatory cover for retirement; gradual elimination of the means tests for some grants; expansion of unemployment insurance benefits; alignment with the National Health Insurance; as well as a common interface for social security beneficiaries.

These proposals seek to build a comprehensive social security system that promotes solidarity and social cohesion as per Chapter 11 of the National Development Plan.

Honourable Members, data security and integrity are essential aspects of our envisaged payment solution. In this regard, we are building a robust data governance platform, to protect beneficiary data and information. In this regard, proof of life and authentication using biometrics remains our priority.

In line with our commitment to this house last year, work is already underway to implement identity and access management biometrics for staff and beneficiaries.

Over and above these measures, we intend to amend the Social Assistance Act in this financial year with a view to introduce, amongst others, a Funeral and Savings Fund for social grant beneficiaries.

We take to heart the support of the Portfolio Committee on our decision to appeal the recent judgment of the North Gauteng High Court against SASSA and the Department regarding illegal and immoral deductions from the accounts of social grants beneficiaries.

Sizamile ukulwa nokuhlukunyezwa kwabantu bakithi abantulayo ukuthi izimali zabo zingathathwa ngaphandle kolwazi nemvume yabo. Angeke siphele amandla singakayinqobi lempi!

The social sector remains in the forefront of the ANC Government’s radical socio-economic transformation. It is time to speed up the improvement of the quality of life of our people.

It is time for our people to have a fair share of the national wealth they toiled for, over three centuries to claim a bigger stake in their own country. Our people have waited long enough for economic emancipation. In the last financial year, the Department and its entities procured over Three Hundred Million Rand worth of goods such as school uniforms, nutritious food, blankets and dignity packs from local cooperatives.

Whilst this looks impressive, it is not enough.

We need a greater transformation of the public sector supply chain management to ensure that local small business benefits from Government procurement spend, with specific focus on women and youth-owned business initiatives as directed by President Jacob Zuma. In this regard, we will continue our collaboration with the Department of Small Business Development.

A case in point is the Kgetlengriver Local Municipality in the Province of Bokone Bophirima, with a population of Fifty One Thousand. Of this number, Forty Thousand are social grants beneficiaries, with a total value of Twenty One Million Rand a month.

Despite this huge investment, the municipality remains one of the poorest in the country as half of the money, if not all, is spent in Rustenburg, 64 kilometres away. Imagine the huge economic spin off this money would make if it is invested in local communities.

It is for this reason that we have, without hesitation heeded the clarion call for the radical socio-economic transformation agenda, starting with areas like Kgetlengriver municipality.

We intend to use Government’s investment in the social assistance programme to stimulate local economic development by way of introducing alternative pay points and local health shops.

We cannot always measure our nation’s progress by the number of the exclusive golf courses for the rich. Comrade Harry Gwala reminded us that if we fail in executing this task, cooperatives which mainly benefit women will continue, and I quote “to serve as fronts or servants of other established businesses”.

Sithi sekuyisikhathi sokuthi njengoHulumeni kufanele sisebenzisane nezinhlangano zomama abakhiqiza izidingo ezifana nokudla nemifaniswano yabantwana besikole. Futhi siyazi ukuthi ngezinsuku zokuhola izimpesheni nangezikhathi zokugoma abantwana emitholampilo osomabhizinisi bayazuza. Sithi nalamathuba okuzuza awanikwe omama nabantu bakithi abamukela izibonelelo zikaHulumeni.

On a related matter, we have expanded the Household Food and Nutrition Security Programme, from 167 Community Nutrition and Development Centres to 212, providing over much needed 6 million meals per year. The total budget allocation for this programme is Ninety Eight Million Rand.

Honourable Chairperson, let me now turn the attention of the House to the social welfare programme. The Ministerial Committee on the Review of the White Paper for Social Welfare (1997), under the able leadership of Professor Vivienne Taylor, made a number of recommendations.

Key amongst these, is the demand and supply model for social service practitioners; resource allocation in terms of personnel and finances;establishment and enforcement of simple, effective and standardised data system; as well as analysis of the developmental social welfare trends. Based on the review proposals, we are currently amending the 1997 White Paper for Social Welfare to inform the legislative framework, which will culminate into the Social Development Act.

In February this year, Cabinet approved the Social Service Practitioners Policy and we will table the Bill before Parliament in the current financial year. This Bill seeks to regulate all social service practitioners under one Act and proposes measures to support emerging professions in the sector.

We seek the support of this House.

This year alone, we will absorb Five Hundred and Fifty Six social work graduates who qualified through the Social Work Scholarship Programme. We are the first to acknowledge that this number is very low compared to the number of graduates still waiting for placement. We will continue our consultation with the National Treasury with the view to restructure the financing options to relieve the current challenges.

To date, we have produced Thirteen Thousand Two Hundred and Sixty Two qualified social workers, adding much needed human capital to the sector. Of this number, Nine Thousand Five Hundred and Seventy Three have been absorbed into full time employment mainly by the Department, Non-Governmental Organisations and other sector departments.

The sector has just emerged from a five week labour unrest, which caused untold misery to many who depend on our services. Regrettably, this resulted in the loss of two lives in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

Once again, we convey our deepest condolences to the bereaved families.

We remain hopeful and committed that the current negotiations will finally culminate into a collective agreement that balances the interests of the beneficiaries of our services and our core workforce.

Cde OR reminded us that and I quote: “A nation that does not care of its youth has no future and does not deserve one” (close quote). It is against this background that we initiated the annual National Youth Camp to instill patriotism, nation building and a proud national identity amongst our young people.

To date, we have reached over Five Thousand young people across race, ethnicity, gender, class and language from all nine provinces.

It is worth noting that our investment in the social assistance programme and other initiatives such as Isibindi have consistently vindicated our commitment and passion to improve the quality of life of our people.

Last year alone, one hundred and eighty eight thousand six hundred and eighty seven (188 687) who sat for their matric examinations were beneficiaries of the social assistance programme. Of this number, more than eighty percent obtained a bachelor’s or diploma pass.

Their impressive performance vindicates our call for exemption of social grant beneficiaries from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme means test to further their studies.

In 2013, we declared Early Childhood Development a public good, focusing on the crucial First One Thousand Days. Research shows that the right nutrition during the first one thousand day window has a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and thrive—and a lasting effect on a country’s health and prosperity.

We remain committed to the expansion of ECD services, focusing on the most rural and deprived communities throughout the country. True to our commitment, Government has allocated a conditional grant to the value of Eight Hundred and Twelve Million Rand over the MTEF starting this financial year. As we said last year in this august house during our Budget Vote, zibanjwa zisemaphuphu.

We will increase ECD coverage by expanding subsidy to poor children and improve the ECD infrastructure for conditionally registered ECD centres. We have already finalised the conditional grant framework linked to the Division of Revenue Act.

Honourable Members, Non-Profit Organisations continue to play in our sector and in our country. The collective contribution of these organisations is an important vehicle for social inclusion and addressing key national goals in the NDP. Currently, there are over One Hundred and Seventy Two Thousand Four Hundred and Seventy Nine registered NPOs.

The National Development Agency was established specifically to render services to the civil society organisations in this country. We are piloting the decentralisation of NDA services to one district per province to build the capacity of civil society organisations rendering social development services, including ECD and cooperatives. To date, we have trained and mentored over Four Hundred Thousand civil society organisations through the Capacity Building Programme.

We will over the MTEF period expand the Capacity Building Programme to over Thirteen Thousand civil society organisations. In the past financial year alone, the NDA mobilised an amount of Seventy Three Million Rand to support civil society organisations.

We launched our own service delivery improvement initiative- Project Mikondzo to respond effectively to our people’s immediate needs and concerns.

Going forward, our aim is to strengthen the Government’s engagement with our communities and strengthen their voice in the manner in which we render our services.

We intend to reach over 450 wards in the current financial year. Part of our interventions in the targeted wards is to strengthen community-based organisations, focusing on care and support for HIV and AIDS.

We are currently funding eleven NPOs in thirteen districts through partnership with the South African National AIDS Council. We will increase the number to 27 districts that have the highest burden of HIV.

We would like to sincerely express our heartfelt gratitude to the German Development Bank for their continued assistance, through which we have established 18 community care centres in Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Bokone Bophirima.

Honourable Members, if we are to stop the scourge of alcohol and substance abuse ravaging our country, we need to start at a family level and focus more on prevention.

PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!

The construction of public treatment centres in Bokone Bophirima, Free State and Limpopo will be completed in the current financial year. The Ernest Malgas Treatment Centre in Port Elizabeth is fully operational.

We will embark on the review of the National Drug Master Plan in the current financial year. We call on Members of this House to join our national efforts of building a drug-free South Africa.

It is now my singular honour to table this Budget Vote 17 for your consideration and support.

RE A LEBOGA!

 -Ends-

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