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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 Speech by the Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, MP, to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Cape Town Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 June 2017

Honourable Chairperson,

Chairperson and Members of the Select Committee,

MECs of Social Development here present,

Honourable Delegates,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Chairperson, it is a pleasure to rise in this august house today to deliver Budget Vote 17 of the Department of Social Development.  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 here due to ill health. 

We wish her a full and speedy recovery.

Honourable Members, I would like to acknowledge the presence of 41 young people in the gallery as we mark the 41st anniversary of June 16 under the theme: “The Year of OR Tambo: Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment”.

As we observe this important occasion, it is befitting that we pay tribute to the stalwart and one of the founders of the African National Congress Youth League in 1944, Comrade President Oliver Reginald Tambo. It was under the stewardship of Cde OR that the ANCYL adopted the Programme of Action, which transformed the ANC to a mass movement that carries the hopes and genuine aspirations of all people.

Through the Programme of Action, the ANC was in the forefront of watershed moments in the liberation struggle, including the Defiance Campaign of 1952 and the Congress of the People which adopted the Freedom Charter in Kliptown in 1955.

To this day, the Freedom Charter continues to be the beacon of hope for South Africa and the foundation of our progressive Constitution. The values of non-racial, non-sexist, united and a free democratic South Africa that Cde OR stood for are espoused in our Constitution. As we commemorate June 16 this year, there is every reason to celebrate the generation that Cde OR called “the young lions of the struggle”, because our history cannot be told without mentioning the vital role of our young people.

We are certain that if Cde OR was present here today he would applaud the progress we have made with regard to the empowerment of young people through some of the programmes such as the social assistance programme, Social Work Scholarship, Isibindi Model, the National Youth Camp and some of the interventions that we will outline in this Budget Vote.

We are committed more than ever before to radically address the legacy of economic colonial imbalances by empowering our people, particularly women and youth to claim a fair share of our national wealth. Black people, and Africans in particular, cannot remain the hewers of wood and drawers of water in their native land while the national wealth remains in the hands of the privileged few.

We are making a significant contribution towards “unlocking the potential of SMMEs, cooperatives townships and rural enterprises” as outlined by President Jacob Zuma in the Nine Point Plan. In the last financial year, the Department and its entities procured over R300 Million worth of goods such as school uniforms, nutritious food, blankets and dignity packs from local cooperatives.

This is a drop in the ocean as we need a radical transformation of the public sector supply chain management to ensure that local small businesses and cooperatives benefit.

Honourable Chairperson, the Department received a budget of R160 Billion this financial year. Of this amount, R151 Billion goes directly to the social assistance programme.

We have begun engagements with relevant organs of state to phase-out the services of the current payment contract as per the Constitutional Court ruling. This will be implemented in line with the relevant procurement processes. We have also 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.

Improving access for eligible beneficiaries remain our priority. Last year alone, SASSA processed over two million new social grant applications. This is a huge increase from the previous years as most experienced undue hardship due to drought and the current economic conditions.

We intensified our interventions and community engagement through Programme Mikondzo and ICROP, through which we reached 1 235 wards. This financial year, we plan to reach 450 poorest wards in the priority districts.

Through this Budget we will continue to invest in the improvement of pay point infrastructure. Currently, we have a total of 9 917 paypoints spread across the country. In the previous financial year, we converted 176 open pay points into proper structures. This is in addition to the 262 pay points that were improved in 2015/16 financial year.

Honourable Members, our pay points stimulate local economic development. An amount of R4 Billion circulates through the pay points every month. We intend to use this investment to stimulate further local economic development by way of introducing alternative pay points and local health shops.

Our long-term goal is to ensure that we render services to our people in better conditions that uphold human dignity. In this regard, we will continue to work hard to ensure that long queues, dilapidated and inaccessible buildings particularly for persons with disabilities is a thing of the past.

This is the new narrative we have started as we work towards consolidating the solid foundation we have laid since the Agency’s inception. On this note, we would like to once more convey our heartfelt condolences to the Yawa family on the untimely passing of one of the longest serving SASSA Regional Executive Managers, Mr Sakhumzi Yawa.

His passing robbed us of his valuable experience at a very crucial time when we are looking to take SASSA into a new era.

Sithi kusapho lwakwaYawa, akuhlanga lungehlanga. INkosi ibe naye lapho elele khona. May his soul rest in peace

We will during the course of this financial year and over the MTEF period focus on deepening comprehensive social security as part of implementing Outcome 13. Our ultimate objective is a system of social protection that protects against particular vulnerabilities and risks, addresses retirement needs while at the same time promoting economic and social development.

In this regard, we are pleased to inform this august house that we tabled the Comprehensive Social Security Discussion Paper at NEDLAC in November 2016.

Honourable Members, we have filed our notice to appeal the North Gauteng High Court judgment on illegal deductions. The Constitutional Court ordered that the personal data of grant beneficiaries should remain private and only be used for the payment of social grants. The Concourt also ordered that beneficiaries should not be invited to opt to share their personal information.

We will continue working jointly with the disability sector towards achieving the objectives of the Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol. In this regard, we are pleased to inform this house that Cabinet approved the piloting of the Disability Inequality Index.

Work is currently underway in three pilot sites in KwaZulu-Natal to develop a costed integrated community based service delivery model for children with disabilities.

We have successfully conducted road-shows with the Provincial Executive Councils on the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Honourable Chairperson, the recent spate of brutal violence against women and children is a matter of grave national concern. It is a tragic reminder that we all need to work together, irrespective of political affiliation to combat this scourge.

In just the first five months of this year, it is reported that twenty children were killed here in the Western Cape alone, with Minentle Lekhatha being the latest victim. Nationally, it is reported that over fifty women have been brutally murdered.

We are deeply concerned that this occurred during the Child Protection Week, when we were calling on communities to do more to protect children. Let me remind you of the African proverb that says and I quote: “It takes a village to raise a child”.

Men are the main perpetrators of these barbaric crimes, which include hate crimes against Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer people. The figures are just the tip of the iceberg as there are more cases that go unreported, particularly cases of domestic violence and intimate partner violence as it was the case with the late Karabo Mokoena.

We must put a STOP to this! And we must STOP it NOW!

We must all say enough is enough because behind these figures lie shattered families and communities that live in constant fear. The protection of women and children is everybody’s responsibility, starting with all of us in our families and our communities.

We want to empahassise that while passing and enforcing legislation is important, it will take more than that to combat this scourge. We need a collective and resolute action by society as a whole working together with Government and all sectors of our society.

We appreciate the contribution by USAID towards strengthening our child protection intervention. Through this partnership, we have recruited 105 social work graduates and 24 supervisors.

On a related matter, I would to inform this house that we have been allocated a conditional grant of R181 Million to absorb 556 social work graduates in this financial year. We will sustain this number over the MTEF period. We have requested all MECs and Heads of Department to move with a sense of urgency on this matter.

During President Jacob Zuma’s recent visit to Elsies River, the community highlighted a number of socio-economic issues that need to be addressed as a matter of priority.

Amongst these, is the protection of women and children and the important role that both families and communities can and must play. The community also called for the deployment of more social workers.

We welcome the stand taken by men through initiatives such as #Not in My Name and the National Boy Day launched by CODEFSA under the leadership of Mr Nkululeko Nxesi.

We also applaud the Safe Ride Campaign by the SANTACO for denouncing the despicable acts of violence against women and children by those who masquerade as taxi operators. It is time for men to name and shame those amongst them who perpetuate the gruesome rape culture.

We must also urge victims not to withdraw reported cases of domestic and sexual violence. The perpetrators of this acts must face the full might of the law.

Let me hasten to add that we will not win this war for as long as we have patriarchal men in our society who strangely believe that they have a birth right to exert power and control over women.

We must name and shame those who believe that they have a right to determine other people’s sexual orientation and gender identity. This is in stark contrast to the values of non-sexist, non-racial and a united democratic society that Cde OR fought for. The starting point to tackle this challenge is to address gender inequalities in our society.

We will implement the recommendations of the Ministerial Committee on Foster Care. These include strengthening parental support for foster parents, prevention and early interventions as well as exploring the feasibility of specialized foster care services.

Honourable Chairperson, we are pleased to inform this house that we have eliminated the backlog on the Child Protection Register. In the previous financial year, over seven thousand abused children were recorded in Part A, while more than one hundred thousand persons were vetted and recorded in Part B of the register. In addition, 281 persons were found unsuitable to work with children.

The measures we have outlined reaffirm our commitment to make every effort to build a future we want, a violence-free South Africa in which our children can achieve their full potential.

This commitment is further reflected in the Early Childhood Development programme. To date, over 800 000 children access ECD services. Of this number more than 500 000 children receive a subsidy of R15 per day for 264 days in a year.

Over the MTEF period, a Conditional Grant to the value of R812 Million has been allocated for the expansion of ECD services, focusing on rural and informal settlements. The allocation for this financial year is more than R317 Million.

We call on all MECs and Members of this august House to monitor the implementation and reporting of this conditional grant.

Honourable Chairperson, our work on the legislative front continues. To this end, we will introduce the Social Service Practitioners Bill to Parliament. The Bill seeks to regulate all social service practitioners and includes measures to support emerging professions in the sector.

We are also in the process of amending the Social Assistance Act with a view to introduce, amongst others, a Funeral and Savings Fund for social grant beneficiaries. We have started in earnest with the amendment of the White Paper for Social Welfare (1997). Once completed, this process will culminate into the Social Development Act.

Honourable Members, we remain in the front line to confront head on the twin challenges of alcohol and substance abuse. The easy availability of cheap illegal designer drugs such as tik, mercedez and nyaope has reached epidemic proportions in South Africa.

Baphelile abantwana nemindeni yethu ngenxa yalezidakamizwa. Sonke lana singafakaza ngabazali esibaziyo noma esifunde ngabo, abanomntwana odla izidakamizwa.

THIS IS A WAR WE CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE!

We must not be deterred in our efforts to build a drug-free South Africa.

Honourable Members, until recently, there has been a lack of adequate public treatment facilities across provinces. We are pleased to report that we are expanding access to treatment.

A conditional grant of R57 Million has been allocated for completion and full operationalisation of public treatment centres in Bokone Bophirima, Free State and Northern Cape in this financial year.

The Ernest Malgas Treatment Centre in Port Elizabeth is fully operational.

The Limpopo treatment centre in Seshego will be fully operational by end of this financial year. These new facilities will improve the quality of treatment and rehabilitation services.

We will also look at expanding community-based treatment and reintegration services over the MTEF period.

Honourable Members, the National Drug Master Plan expires this year. As we embark on the review process, we seek your support when the revised National Drug Master Plan is brought to this house.

We urge Honourable Members of this house to ensure the establishment of District and Local Drug Action Committees in their constituencies in the fight against the scourge.

The National Development Plan recognises the important role of the civil society sector. We have witnessed a steady growth of this sector in the recent past. Last year alone, there was a 12 percent increase on the number of registered NPOs to over 172 000. We conducted roadshows in ninety four local municipalities, reaching more than eight thousand NPOs throughout the country.

The National Development Agency will continue to expand the Capacity Building Programme to civil society organisations over the MTEF period. To this end, the Agency has mobilised funding to the tune of R73 Million largely from the provincial deparments as well as other development partners.

To complement these efforts, the NDA will pilot the decentralisation of its services to one district per province in order to increase its footprint and service accessibility.

Honourable Members, we will continue to implement the recommendations of the EPWP social sector implementation evaluation study. We are pleased that some provinces have made great strides in this regard.

We pay tribute to the late Professor Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of UNFPA. He worked tirelessly to promote the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and young people in Africa and across the globe.

I had the honour and privilege of working with him in this field over the years and I was always inspired by his unwavering commitment human rights. The UNFPA will certainly not be the same without him.

We convey our heartfelt condolences to his family, colleagues and friends on the loss of this distinguished son of the African soil. May his soul rest in peace!

Let me conclude by extending my heartfelt appreciation to my colleague, Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, MECs of Social Development, Members of the Select Committee, Special Advisor, Dr Wiseman Magasela, the Acting Director-General, Ms Nelisiwe Vilakazi, the CEO of SASSA, Mr Thokozani Magwaza, the CEO of NDA, Ms Thamo Mzobe. Last but not least, I would like to thank the entire DSD family for their continued support and contribution.

Honourable Chairperson and Members, it is now my honour to commend Budget Vote 17 to the house for your consideration and support.

SIYABONGA

 -Ends-

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