Modern, Growing, Successful Province

Budget Speech of the Department of Social Development as presented by Mr. Mxolisi Sokatsha, Member of the Executive Council responsible for Social Development

Honourable Speaker of the Legislature, Mr. Kenny Mmoiemang
Honourable Deputy Speaker of the Legislature, Ms. Junita Beukes
Honourable Premier, Ms. Sylvia Lucas
Members of the Executive Council and Members of the Provincial Legislature
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Social Development, Dr. Thapelo Dithebe
Mayors, Speakers and Councillors
Community Based Organisations, and Non Profit Organisations
Mr. Lesedi Piki, Provincial Manager of the National Development Agency (NDA)
Mr. Zanoxolo Mpeta, Acting Regional Executive Manager of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA)
Ms. Elizabeth Botes, Head of Department of Social Development and Government Officials
Members of the Media
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentleman
Honourable Speaker,

Two days ago on 27 April as South Africans, we celebrated freedom day reminding ourselves of the historic participation of all the people of South Africa in the first democratic, free and fair elections.  Over the last two decades we have worked hard to construct a society that serves its entire people. In fact, we have come a long way in addressing the economic, social and cultural challenges created under apartheid.

We have made significant progress in building a democratic nation founded on the values of human dignity, non-racialism and non-sexism.  The rule of law and universal adult suffrage is enshrined in the Constitution. Great progress has been made in lifting our poor and disadvantaged people out of poverty with access to water, healthcare, education, housing and many other basic needs which they did not have before 1994.  Our economy has become more inclusive and continues to show steady growth. We should all be proud of the progress we have made in the past 21 years of freedom.

Honourable Speaker,

This year’s Freedom Month coincides with the 60th anniversary of the historic adoption of the Freedom Charter in Kliptown, Soweto. The Freedom Charter was and still remains an embodiment of the hopes and aspirations of the people of South Africa.  It was at this historic event that the people of South Africa declared for our country and the world to know: that South Africa belongs to all who live in it.  That our country will never be prosperous or free until all our people live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities.  That peace and friendship amongst all our people shall be secured by upholding equal rights, opportunities and status for all.  And pledged to strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes set out in the Freedom Charter had been achieved.

Honourable Speaker,

The values as espoused in the Freedom Charter still hold true and they are an overall vision for a non-racial and democratic society as embedded in our Constitution.  We therefore cannot but be saddened by the brutality visited upon the foreign nationals in our Country.  Today we cannot but bow our heads in shame because of what is happening in our country.  This is a betrayal of the dreams of many generations, including our own of African unity and solidarity.   We therefore convey to all Africans everywhere, to all African nations, severally and collectively, to our own people, and to the families of people who were murdered, our sincere condolences, and our heartfelt apologies that Africans in our country committed unpardonable crimes against other Africans.

Honourable Speaker,

We will and must do everything necessary to ensure that as Africans, regardless of our geographic origins, we will once more live together as Africans, at peace with one another.  Because like Elias Inbram said “when your heart beats for the people – when your eyes see their suffering and your vision sees their relief – and a united world – where goodness is the status quo – Then you have responsibility to take every action to make not only change happen, but to improve the lives of all whom you can touch”.

Honourable Speaker,

In keeping with addressing the multi-dimensionality of poverty and inequality, in the South African context as envisaged in the National Development Plan 2030 (NDP), social protection is an umbrella concept that brings together:

  • Social security which draws on section 27 of the constitution to address income dimensions of poverty and contribute to ensuring a standard of living below which no-one falls;
  • Measures to address capability poverty: support to early childhood development and investments in children; labour market activation policies and measures that foster productive inclusion of the under-and unemployed;
  • Protective measures for nutritional and food security. It is becoming increasingly evident in a growing number of countries that income is central but often not enough to ensure access to adequate quantities of nutritious food and nutrients.
  • Developmental social service interventions to address (i) economic and social exclusion and strengthen social cohesion; (ii) ensure that families and individuals are able to access services, entitlements, and potential economic and social opportunities; and (iii) developmental social services to reach out and provide care to the vulnerable such as those affected by HIV , women & children abuse, disabled etc.

The NDP 2030 notes that a comprehensive social protection system is feasible within a context of high economic growth, with high labour absorption capacity. A call is made for a multipronged strategy, which includes complimentary policies from government departments. The NDP recommends the development of policies to address structural deficiencies in the economy, which should be coupled with a strategy to address frictional employment through the expansion of state funded and state operated employment services.

Honourable Speaker,

A comprehensive and integrated approach to social protection is adopted in the NDP 2030. This requires coordination from different government departments. The five features of the social protection envisaged in the NDP 2030 are that it must be: protective; preventive; promotive; transformative as well as developmental and generative.

Therefore, in keeping with the Vision outlined in the National Development Plan, Allow me to turn my attention to the plans of the Department of Social Development for the 2015/16 financial year in our effort to address the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.  

On our Policy Priority: Protecting the Poor

Honourable Speaker,

As part of Balelapa Household Profiling Status Study of 2012, 48 252 no income households were identified in the Northern Cape Province.  These no income households were to form the prime beneficiaries for the provision of a comprehensive basket of services to address their holistic needs.

We identified a Change Agent in the very same households to ensure that we provide developmental opportunities to these Change Agents for them to be linked to more sustainable intervention in terms of training, employment and or self-employment, because we are mindful that social protection in the form of social relief is not sufficient to change the lives of our people.

For the 2015/16 financial year, we have identified 2 222 households and 2 222 Change Agents across the length and breadth of the Province to be provided with targeted much needed services and other developmental opportunities to extricate these households out of poverty.   This however needs an all-rounded effort from all Government Departments, if we are to make poverty history.

Honourable Speaker,

 

  • On Social Security

Social security provisioning remains an important instrument in the fight against chronic poverty in South Africa, because for as long as a large proportion of our population remains trapped in conditions of abject poverty and outside the economic mainstream,  social welfare grants will remain an important source of income. These grants serve as a buffer for many people against abject poverty.

Therefore during the 2015/16 financial year the South African Social Security Agency will pay just over 455 944 grants to the value of R 3,7 billion, of these grants 101 882 are Old Age Grants, 85 275 are Disability Grants of which 34 212 are for temporary disabilities, 5 893 are Foster Care and a whopping 295 827 care dependency and 7 685 for child support grants.

In addition to this, the Agency will spend an additional R 7,4 million in addition to the R 6,5 million of the Department of Social Development’s allocation for Social Relief of Distress in the form of food parcels, vouchers for school uniform and blankets to ensure immediate relief for vulnerable households and children and youth living and working on the streets, men on the side of the road and people at mine dumps in times of distress.

Furthermore, in order to ensure efficient and effective service delivery, the Agency has also increased access channels by increasing services points and mobile units and improved the turnaround time for processing of applications to 15 days.

Honourable Speaker,

No one can deny the commitment of this Government to alleviate the plight of the poor.  I am acutely aware that this is not a sufficient remedy for the poor majority of South Africans who are unemployed, disabled or orphaned.  However, these grants serve to protect society’s most vulnerable from abject poverty; our minds will therefore continue the restless inquiry to find permanent solutions to the plight of the poor and vulnerable.

Honourable Speaker,

 

  • On Food Security

The late former President, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela once proclaimed that “like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It’s man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by actions of human beings” he went further to assert, that "overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom."

Therefore, as we celebrate the beginning of the third decade of our freedom through accelerating radical economic transformation, we must restore the dignity of our people by overcoming poverty.  

Honourable Speaker,

The Department of Social Development has set aside R 14 million for the Food Security Programme. Through these interventions, 35 000 households will have access to at least a meal per day, therefore ensuring that the most deprived households need not to perish from hunger.  In addition, National Department of Social Development committed an addition R 2,3 million to strengthen our food security programme.  The National Development Agency has also committed R 1 million targeting 112 households in the Frances Baard District to address food insecurity amongst these families.

Honourable Speaker,

The youth of our country remain a determined force in advancing the democratic trajectory that many fought for as part of the liberation movement in our country.   We are sensitive to the challenge of youth unemployment and poverty.  Therefore we continue to take all necessary and possible measures to empower our youth to acquire much needed knowledge and skills to achieve a decent standard of living.   

On Policy Priority Two: Youth Development

The National Development Plan 2030 acknowledges that “South Africa has an urbanising, youthful population. This presents an opportunity to boost economic growth, increase employment and reduce poverty”. It therefore enjoins us to provide young people with broader opportunities.  Strengthen youth service programmes and introduce new, community-based programmes to offer young people life-skills training, entrepreneurship training and opportunities to participate in community development programmes.

Honourable Speaker,

Education remains one of the most effective tools in the fight against poverty, because it is only through education that we can create sustainable change.  The Department will therefore be providing 125 bursary opportunities for the youth of our Province in social work and other social services professions.  This is an ongoing programme aimed not only at assisting the beneficiaries of the bursaries in terms of their development and empowerment, but also at addressing the shortage of social workers and other Social Work professions in the Northern Cape.  During the course of this year, 28 social work professionals who are beneficiaries of our bursaries will be absorbed into the employment of the Department.  To this end, R 10,3 million has been allocated.   An additional R 3,9 million has been allocated for the employment of Learners and Interns.

Honourable Speaker,

Nothing short of a skills revolution by a nation united will extricate us from the crisis of youth unemployment.  We have therefore set aside an addition R 1,9 million to train 350 young people in technical skills because technical skills are the backbone on which every successful economy relies.

Honourable Speaker,

  • On EPWP

The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) is one of the important catalyst initiatives aimed at drawing significant numbers of unemployed South Africans into productive work, in a manner that will enable them to gain portable and adaptable skills and increase their capacity to earn an income.  Therefore, the Department has received an Incentive Grant allocation of R 6,3 million to enhance the Department’s initiative of creating 320 work opportunities benefiting 320 poor and vulnerable households.  This will contribute positively to restore their dignity and self-worth as they work to earn their livelihood.

Honourable Speaker,

On Child care, protection and empowerment

The Children’s Act, No 38 of 2005 (as amended) stipulates that designated child protection services include prevention services. It is acknowledged that social services as a component is not adequate to address the issue of child abuse, neglect and exploitation effectively and therefore the response to these challenges, requires a multi-sectoral approach, partnerships between government and civil society and cooperation between all spheres of duty bearers.

Increasing challenges facing children are:

  • Poverty
  • Child abuse and exploitation
  • Loss of support systems within families
  • HIV and AIDS pandemic and its impact on children resulting to child headed households.

It is for this reason that we have set aside over R 45 million to strengthen our efforts to address the needs of orphans and vulnerable children to ensure that children’s' basic needs are met, that their rights are protected, and that families are supported to adequately care for their children.  For the part two successive years, the Department has strengthened the eight Child and Youth Care Centres to the tune of R 1,4 million based on the additional needs identified through our monitoring and evaluation of our services.

Honourable Speaker,

  • On Early Childhood Development

Early Childhood Development lays the groundwork for responsible citizenship, economic prosperity, healthy communities, and successful parenting of the next generation.  Therefore the National Development Plan states that “the single most important investment any country can make is in its children.”

It is against this background that we committed just over R 79 million to ensure the provision of quality ECD services for both centre and non-centre based ECD services, targeting over 18 000 children.

Included in the R 79 million is an R 14 million allocation for ECD mobile services which will be rolled out in Zwelintlanga Fatman Mgcawu District, Pixley ka Seme District and John Taolo Gaetsewe District.

Honourable Speaker,

We are also continuing to improve the infrastructure at our ECDs to ensure that our children are taught in an environment that is conducive to learning.  During this financial year, five ECD facilities have been identified for the improvement of their facilities.  We will also be continuing with the training of our ECD Practitioners, 160 Practitioners will be trained during this financial year  because I believe in the Chinese Proverb that says, "A child's life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark."

Therefore we must ensure that all role-players contribute positively towards the development of our children, because early childhood development starts with the family, but we all play a pivotal role in the care, protection and development of the children.

Honourable Speaker, In addition to the initiatives of the Department regarding ECD, the National Development Agency has set aside R 1 million, targeting eleven additional ECD centres, two per district with the exception of John Taolo Gaetsewe District where three ECD centres for educational toys and outdoor play equipment  to ensure the provision of quality ECD stimulation services.

Honourable Speaker,

  • On Care and Services to Older Persons, families and persons with disabilities

The provision of integrated and developmental programmes, services and facilities to promote the well being and protection of older persons, families and persons with disabilities remains a key focus for the Department.

Ageing is a natural process of life.  Older persons are a valuable resource.  They are the repositories of tradition, culture, knowledge and skills.  These attributes are essential in maintaining intergenerational links.  Because we value our elderly, the Department took a resolution to phase out the means test for Older Person’s Grant.  This will ensure universal benefit for older persons delivered through one system.

Honourable Speaker,

We are not only a caring Government, but we are a Government that listens to its people.  The phasing out of the means test for Older Person’s Grant came as a result of the complaints we received from older persons in terms of the means test.  There are currently consultations being conducted with the older persons sector and other affected and interested parties on this.  The Northern Cape consultative session is scheduled to take place on May 28, 2015.

In addition to this, we have set aside R 18 million for care and services to older persons, and we have upgraded Huis Immanuel in Skeinkopf in Namakwa District to the value R 529 000.00.  These programmes and services will enable the Department to ensure that we allow our older persons to enjoy their rights as contemplated in the constitution of the Republic.

Honourable Speaker,

I am concerned about our families, too often we read and witness vile acts committed against women and children by those who are suppose to care and protect them.  Those we refer to as our family.  At times I ask myself, what happened to our sense of humanity that says, umntu ngumntu ngabantu.

The Department has set aside R 8,8 million for services and programmes aimed at families and people with disabilities, however, we can invest millions of rands in programmes aimed at restoring the moral fiber of our societies, they will remain ineffective and with no impact, unless we resolve to restore our collective sense of humanity.   

Unless we honour our Lord's command to offer love, friendship, forgiveness, and grace to all people without regard to class, colour or background.   We must therefore at all times pray for the Lord to open our eyes that we might see the people around us as people whom He created and whom He have placed in our paths for a purpose.

Honourable Speaker,

  • On HIV and Aids

HIV/AIDS remains a deadly disease, it poses a great threat to development prospects of our people, especially the poor, who have no economic cushion.  The impact of HIV/AIDS within the social sector is made obvious by the increasing number of orphans and vulnerable children, the increase in the number of child headed Households and the increase in the number of households in need of Home Based Community Care Services.

The Department will therefore spend R 19,2 million on  our HIV/Aids programme to ensure the provision of services to those unable to access services otherwise.

Our interventions to mitigate against the impact of the HIV and Aids pandemic are aimed at providing care, protection and support to people infected with and affected by HIV and Aids, as well as other vulnerable groups. To achieve this objective, we must continue to work closely with the Department of Health to prioritise the strengthening of awareness and educational programmes and the prevention of new infections through social mobilisation and behavioural change. The expansion of home- and community-based services and the provision of material and psychosocial support to people infected with and affected by HIV and Aids is also crucial.

Because of the importance of home- and community-based services, we have procured uniform for our HCBCs for 197 Care Givers to the value of R 2,3 million.  This will enable the community to easily identify for much needed home- and community-based services.

Honourable Speaker,

The Isibindi model remains a key intervention in the provision of community-based child and youth care.  The programme is focussed on providing care, protection and developmental support to vulnerable children and families at risk.  Therefore, in addition to the existing 13 Isibindi sites, the Department will be rolling out 3 additional sites in Hopetown, Pella and Postmasburg.  The Hopetown site is in direct response to the request from the Municipal Manager, Mr. Mpho Mogale in Hopetown, after having seen the positive impact of the programme elsewhere.

Honourable Speaker,

  • On Policy Priority Three: Crime prevention
  • Substance Abuse

The Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Act, 70 of 2008, mandates the Department of Social Development to develop programmes and support initiatives aimed at the prevention and treatment of substance abuse.

Last year during the budget speech I reported that we will receive an allocation of R 42 million over the medium term expenditure framework to establish the first ever Government funded in-patient treatment facility in the Province.  I am therefore pleased to announce that we have received R 22 million to build a 40 bed in-patient treatment facility in Kimberley.

Substance abuse remains the leading cause of and a major contributory factor to crime, poverty, dysfunctional family life, reduced productivity, unemployment and the burden of diseases such as HIV and AIDS, as well as injuries and premature deaths. It manifests itself across social, racial, cultural, language, religious and gender and age boundaries.

Because we are mindful of the fact that substance abuse destroys lives and communities; it undermines sustainable human development.  We have set aside R 8 million to continue with the implementation of our “Ke Moja” campaign in 111 schools in the Province and a range of other prevention, awareness and in-patient treatment programmes.

Honourable Speaker,

We must continue to encourage our pregnant women to not consume alcohol, as it is detrimental to the health and development of the child and leads to Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).  The health of our babies must outweigh the need for social entertainment and alcohol.

Honourable Speaker,

  • On Victim Empowerment

The abuse of women and children tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation, it poses a grave threat to our hard earned democracy and serve as an impediment to the attainment of a better life for all.

During the opening of the first democratic parliament in 1994, the late former President Mandela asserted that “Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression… Our endeavours must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child."

Honourable Speaker,

Despite our best efforts as government as well as civil society organisations to prevent crime and especially crime against women and children, crime remains a challenge for all South Africans.  Many women, children and the elderly are victims of these heinous cowardly acts.
Therefore as government we will continue to support the victims of these horrendous violent and barbaric acts. We must however strengthen our value system as a society, a value system that acknowledges that “Motho ke motho ka batho”. We must therefore continue to create awareness of these atrocious acts and encourage the victims of these crimes to report such crimes.

Honourable Speaker,

During this year, the Department in partnership with the South African Police Service, NICRO, the Departments of Education and Safety and Liaison will pilot the Sol Plaatje Community Safety Plan as part of the integrated social crime prevention strategy. The purpose of this plan is to facilitate social integration and protection of vulnerable groups to ensure that communities are and feel safe.

Honourable Speaker,

In response to the high level of crime and violence, government developed the Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) in May 1996.  This programme aims to make the criminal justice process more victim friendly and to minimize the negative effects of crime on victims with specific emphasis on the prevention of victimization, providing support, protection and empowerment of victims of violence with special emphasis on the most vulnerable groups, i.e. women and children.

Therefore as the Department of Social Development, we have set aside R 7 million for Victim Empowerment.  In our endeavour to ensure that victims of gender-based violence are protected and cared for, we will be establishing a victim support centre in Namakwa.  We will also be opening the newly established Grace Devine Shelter in Frances Baard and strengthen our court support project throughout the Province.  In addition to these, we will be implementing the White/Green Door Safe House in Bankhara Bodulong in John Taolo Gaetsewe District for women and children, this will ensure access to safe houses in the community in the event of abuse and or violation of their rights.

We are mindful that this is not enough that is why we call on private sector and civil society to join in and partner with us to create a safe environment for our vulnerable people.  We must continue to work together in creating a society that value life and that respect the rights of people to enjoy a life of dignity free from any form of abuse.

Honourable Speaker,

  • On Children in conflict with the law

When dealing with Children in conflict with the law, it is important for the justice system to treat every child in conflict with the law in a manner that recognizes and upholds human dignity and worth, and instils in the child respect for the fundamental rights and freedom of others. The system must consider the developmental age of the child and the desirability of the child's reintegration in and assumption of a constructive role in society in accordance with the principles of balanced and restorative justice.

Therefore our programmes and services for crime prevention, diversion, rehabilitation, reintegration and aftercare continue to ensure the normal growth and development of the child in conflict with the law.  To this end, the Department have set aside R 39 million to realise this noble objective in line with the Child Justice Act.

Honourable Speaker,

We are mindful that in order for us to deliver on all this commitments, we need the support of our Non-Profit Partners.

  • On NPO Support and strengthening of Communities

During the past financial year, the Department set aside R 5 million for training and capacity building of our NPOs.  For the 2015/16 financial year, an additional R 8 million has been allocated for Non Profit Organisations (NPO’s) capacity building interventions as part of our plan to entrench good governance and to ensure the institutional sustainability of the 822 NPO’s to be funded by the Department during the 2015/16 financial year. Through this intervention, we will be creating 18 work opportunities for young people to assist these NPOs in terms of good governance and improve their accountability. This allocation represents the most comprehensive capacity building programme of our NPOs in the Department.  It further attests to the commitment of the Department to ensure the efficient, effective and transparent utilisation of public funds, in line with the Public Financial Management Act.

Honourable Speaker,

The budget for the 2015/16 financial year of the Department is R 709 million and the allocation is as follows, Social Welfare Services R 94 million; Children and families R 236 million; Restorative Services R 149 million; Research and Development R 117 million; and Administration R 110 million.

Our budget clearly demonstrates our commitment to service with close to R 600 million going to service delivery line function programmes.

Honourable Speaker,

The Department received its 2nd consecutive clean audit opinion during the 2014/15 financial year.  The Department of Social Development was also awarded the Auditor General’s Best Performing Department Award for the 2014/2015 financial year, the Provincial Premier’s Excellence Batho Pele Awards for Best Performing Institution in the Northern Cape and the South African Institute of Government Auditors Best Performing Department in the Northern Cape. This bears testimony of our commitment to service delivery and the efficient, effective and economical utilisation of public funds, underpinned by integrated planning and execution of programmes.

Honourable Speaker,

we must ensure that all our efforts are geared towards the realisation of a better life for all our people.  This is not the sole responsibility of Government, but our collective responsibility as Government and Private Sector.  Therefore, we wish to express our most profound gratitude to Standard Bank, Gama-Gara Development Trust, Gift of the Givers and Wilderklawer for the partnership in this all important task of creating a better life for our people.

Honourable Speaker,

Allow me to express my most sincere appreciation and gratitude to the officials of the Department of Social Development under the collective capable leadership of the Head of Department, Ms. Elizabeth Botes and her Executive Management Team, because it is through their selfless acts and commitment that I can boldly claim that we are a Department at work to extricate the people of our Province out of the dire conditions of poverty and deprivation.

I also wish to express my gratitude to the officials in my office, under the stewardship of Reverend Given Pieterse, because it is through their support and commitment that we remain true to the ideals of a prosperous South Africa, at peace with itself.

To my family, I wish I had the right words to express my most sincere gratitude and appreciation for your understanding, your love, kindness and unwavering support.

To the Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms. Sylvia Lucas and my colleagues, I draw strength from your resolve, courage and determination to transform our Province into a prosperous Province free of poverty.  We are charged with the responsibility to take every action to make not only change happen, but to improve the lives of all the people of our Province.

Like William Ernest Henley said, “It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll. We are the masters of our fate: We are the captains of our souls.” 

I thank you.
Enkosi

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