Modern, Growing, Successful Province

Budget Speech 2016/17

Budget Speech of the Department of Social Development as presented by Mr. Gift van Staden, Member of the Executive Council responsible for Social Development

Honourable Speaker of the Legislature, Mr. Kenny Moeimang
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
Mr. Ichabod Manyane, Acting Head of Department of Social Development and Government Officials
Mr. Lesedi Piki, Provincial Manager of the National Development Agency (NDA)
Ms. Thandi Sibanyoni, Acting Regional Executive Manager of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA)
Community Based Organisations and Non Profit Organisations
Members of the Media
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentleman

It is an honour and privilege for me to deliver what constitutes my maiden budget speech for the Department of Social Development on the birth month of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU), renamed the African Union (AU). It was on 20 of May 1963 during his address when the first chairperson of the OAU, Emperor Haile Silasie, said…”Africa is today at mid- course, in transition from the Africa of yesterday to the Africa of tomorrow. Even as we stand here we move from the past into the future. The task on which we have embarked, the making of Africa, will not wait. We must act, to shape and mould the future and leave our imprint on events as they pass into history.”

Ladies and gentlemen; the task we have embarked upon since 1912 in pursuit of a national democratic society cannot and will not wait. History has indeed imposed on our shoulders the burden to build a non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa. Therefore, fired up with passionate selflessness and steeped in the vintage traditions of our movement, the African National Congress, we bear the huge responsibility to catalyse our people’s aspirations for a social order free of the trappings of poverty and the entanglements of racism, sexism and a divided society.

Honourable Speaker,

Only an all-rounded effort driven by ourselves will extricate our people out of the clutches of poverty and deprivation and lead to a path of sustainable development.  Therefore, our attack on poverty must seek to empower our people to take themselves out of poverty, while creating adequate social nets to protect the most vulnerable in our society.  Our combination of Social Protection and Social Investment interventions are therefore aimed at engaging people in the reconstruction of our communities to ensure we make a meaningful contribution towards the eradication of poverty and the restoration of the dignity of our poor and vulnerable people.

Therefore, we must spare no effort to free our people from the abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty because we are committed to making the right to development a reality for everyone.

The humiliating suffering which continues to afflict our people is a noble and glorious challenge which is placed before us, our minds therefore continue the restless inquiry to find permanent solution to addressing poverty. Juan Somavia once said, “poverty is a nightmare. It is a vicious circle of poor health, reduced working capacity, low productivity and shortened life expectancy. For (their) families, poverty is a trap. It leads to inadequate schooling, low skills, insecure income, early parenthood, ill health and early death. For (their) societies, poverty is a curse.”

Former President Mbeki said “we surely must be haunted by the humiliating suffering which continues to afflict millions of our people.  Our nights cannot but be nights of nightmares while millions of our people live in conditions of degrading poverty. Sleep cannot come easily when children get permanently disabled, both physically and mentally, because of lack of food. No night can be restful when millions have no jobs, and some are forced to beg to ensure that they and their own do not perish from hunger. The full meaning of liberation will not be realised until our people are freed both from oppression and from the dehumanising legacy of deprivation we inherited from our past.”

Honourable Speaker,

On 8 May 1996 all political parties in our democracy unanimously adopted a Constitution whose preamble encapsulated the belief that “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity”. Heralded as one of the most progressive in the world, our Constitution has sought to address many of the demands made in the Freedom Charter.

As we celebrate 20 year since the adoption of our Constitution, the ultimate litmus test for our Constitution and young democracy will be measured by how we collectively address poverty and create a society based on democratic values, social justice, and fundamental human rights. A society that is able to free the potential of each person to contribute towards the building of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous and democratic South Africa.

Honourable Speaker, 

A comprehensive and integrated approach to social protection is adopted in the National Development Plan 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 and informed by our Policy Priorities, namely:

  • Policy Priority 1: Strengthening social welfare delivery through legislative, policy reforms; capacity building.
  • Policy Priority 2: Improved provision (improved quality and access) of Early Childhood Development Services for children aged 0-4.
  • Policy Priority 3: Strengthen Community  Development Interventions
  • Policy Priority 4: Deepening Social Assistance and Expanding Access to Social Security (Provincial Priority-Food Security).

Allow me to turn my attention to the plans of the Department of Social Development together with its Agencies, namely South African Social Security Agency and the National Development Agency for the 2016/17 financial year in our effort to address the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

On our Policy Priority: Strengthening social welfare delivery through legislative, policy reforms; capacity building.

We are currently funding 193 social services professional students in terms of the National Scholarship Programme in order to ensure we strengthen our delivery of social welfare services across the length and breadth of our province.  An additional 120 bursaries have been made available for people study social work and or social service related professions.  We have allocated R 1,7 million for training and development programmes for our Departmental officials, this forms part of our capacity building programme to enable the Department to respond to the needs of our poor and vulnerable people.

These Social Services Professionals that are undergoing training will create a pool of professionals in social work, community development and social auxiliary work to be available and be utilized by the Department of Social Development, State Agencies as well as other government departments that are in dire need of such professionals.

Honourable Speaker,

On our Policy Priority: Improved provision (improved quality and access) of Early Childhood Development Services for children aged 0-4.

Early Childhood Development is a critical programme because it provides learning and support appropriate to the child's developmental age and stage.

During the 2015/16 financial year Budget Speech, we committed to train 160 Practitioners and improve the infrastructure at our Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDs). I am therefore happy to report; we have exceeded this target by training 226 practitioners on the Ocean of Love Programme to improve the quality of the stimulation programme at these centres.

Furthermore, we have successfully rolled out ECD mobile services in Zwelintlanga Fatman Mgcawu District, Pixley ka Seme District and John Taolo Gaetsewe District. The mobile services reach areas where formalization and construction of ECD’s is still a challenge, thus we are able to cover rural areas which would otherwise have been excluded.

The children reached through mobile based programmes will be increased from 980 to 1 280. We are expanding our home outreach programme to Namakwa this financial year which will benefit an additional 200 children.  An additional 1280 children aged 0-4 years will be targeted across the Province to increase the number of children  accessing registered  early childhood development programmes in ECD Centres from 18 282  to 19 562.

In an effort to ensure the safety of our children at Early Childhood Development Centres, 16 Early Childhood Development sites have been identified for fencing and for outdoor equipment to ensure that our children are able to learn in an environment that is conducive for learning and safe for their wellbeing.  The 16 sites identified are 4 in John Taolo Gaetsewe District, 3 in Frances Baard District, 4 in Zwelintlanga Fatman Mgcawu District, 3 in Pixley ka Seme District and 2 in Namakwa District.

We have commenced with the assessment of conditions of our funded ECD Centres to ensure that we respond in a comprehensive manner to the challenges of our ECDs.

273 Practitioners will be trained in terms of NQF level 4 certificates at our Technical Vocational Education and Training Colleges (TVET Colleges) to ensure the provision of quality early childhood development programmes.

We are in the process of finalising our comprehensive Early Childhood Development Strategy as our collective commitment as stakeholders in the ECD space to putting young children first by ensuring quality care and education for our country's youngest citizens.

Honourable Speaker,

We have allocated R 79 498 million to realise our vision of universal provision of early childhood development services. We do so, because we understand that the maximisation of livelihood of the human life cycle requires a heavy investment in the early childhood phase. Such an investment guarantees a better start in life which translates to improved health, learning and cognitive outcomes.  Because, like Joe Biden said “Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”

Honourable Speaker,

The welfare of our children is not the responsibility of Government alone. It is our responsibility as parents, families, teachers, caregivers, community leaders and business. We all have a role to play because the welfare of children is a collective responsibility. We need to work together because “it takes a village to raise a child.”

Honourable Speaker,

On our Policy Priority: Strengthen Community Development Interventions.

We are called upon to protect and care for those most vulnerable in terms of abuse, neglect and exploitation, because they are unable to protect themselves and care for themselves.

Therefore, in terms of Child Care and Protection, we have allocated R 53 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.  The care and protection of our children remains our collective responsibility, which calls for collective action from all sectors of society.

Honourable Speaker,

Like our Children, our Elderly and People with Disabilities are equally in need of support, care and protection. 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 Government.  We are mindful of their special needs that why we children with disabilities in ECD Centres are funded at R20 per child per day compared to the normal subsidy of R15.  We have therefore set aside an allocation for the appointment of 2 additional social workers for the Association for the Physically Disabled (APD) to strengthen services at Oasis in Upington, Postmasburg and Springbok

In terms of Older Persons, the Department successfully hosted the National Active-Ageing Programme (which included the Older Persons Parliament, Choir Festival and Golden Games) from 26-30 October 2015 which saw the participation of 1400 older persons and 600 officials and caregivers across the country.  I therefore wish to express my profound gratitude to Heads of Departments who played an instrumental part in planning and the successful execution of this programme.  The Active-Ageing programme is a programme aimed at ensuring we provide our elderly with community based services that contributes to a healthy lifestyle and active ageing.

Honourable Speaker,

We are currently funding 24 residential facilities which provide a 24 hour service for our frail older persons in the province. These facilities provide our elderly with much needed support because they have dedicated their time, energy and wisdom to us and it is now our duty to serve them with dignity.  We have allocated R 29,4 million to ensure we respond to the needs and challenges of our older persons in a comprehensive manner.

Honourable Speaker,

Many people suffer abuse at the hands of those they regard as family, therefore, instead of our families providing us with a safe space, for many that space is used to perpetrate the most heinous crimes of rape, abuse and even murder.  Therefore,  we must work together to restore our families by providing support to those in need of support to ensure that our families stay together in peace.

We have therefore set aside R 29,4 million for services and programmes aimed at support and building caring families. In terms of our programme for people with disabilities, we have allocated R 15 million to ensure that we respond to the needs of 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.

Honourable Speaker,

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.

One of our major challenges in addressing substance abuse was the fact that we do not have a facility in the province to provide in-patient treatment services.  During last year’s Budget Speech we announced that we will be receiving an allocation over the medium term expenditure framework to establish the first ever Government funded in-patient treatment facility in the Province.  During last financial year we received R 16 million which we used for the earthworks and related professional services, I am happy to report that we have concluded the earthworks. We have received an additional allocation of R 43 million during this financial year for the top structure of the treatment facility. I am however aware of the litigation on this project; we are therefore working together with the Department of Roads and Public Works to ensure a speedy and amicable resolution of the matter.

In terms of HIV and AIDS, this remains a deadly disease that poses a great threat to development prospects of our people, especially the poor, who have no economic cushion.  The impact of HIV and AIDS is made obvious by the increasing number of orphans and vulnerable children in need of Home Community Based Care Services. The Department has set aside R 28,9 million for the provision of home based and psychosocial support services to orphans and vulnerable children and vulnerable households.

We must remain alert to new tendencies like the “Blesser” (Sugar Daddies) phenomena which promotes the sexual exploitation of our young girls by older men for financial gain.  We must therefore continuously create awareness of the dangers of such phenomena and vigorously implement social behaviour change programmes if we are to prevent the new infections of HIV and Aids.

Honourable Speaker,

The continuous 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, especially our women, children and people with disability.

Therefore as part of our crime prevention programme, we have trained all our probation officers in the 5 therapeutic programmes to render diversion services in areas where there are no NGO’s who are rendering accredited diversion services. The Dept has funded Nicro Kimberley to pilot a School Safety Ambassadors’ programme in Pescodia, Homelite and Homevale area to render crime prevention programmes in Secondary Schools.

We must therefore work together with law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders to ensure the prevention of crime, but also, we must continue to work with the victims of such crimes and provide them with support.  We have therefore set aside R 14 million for Victim Empowerment programmes that will be rolled-out throughout the province which include a Victim Support Centre is in the Process of being established in Postmasburg.

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

Honourable Speaker,

The late former President, Nelson Mandela once said “poverty is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. 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 in ensuring that we make poverty history, our interventions are not only protective and preventive, but they are also promotive, transformative as well as developmental and generative.  We have therefore adopted the Balelapa Household Programme (War on Poverty) to ensure that we respond to the needs of our people at household level by providing them with a range of integrated social welfare as well as developmental programmes aimed at extricating them out of poverty.

During last year’s Budget Speech, we committed to linking 2 222 Change Agents to developmental opportunities, I am happy to announce, we managed to link a total of 2 710 Change Agents to developmental and employment opportunities.  Of these Change Agents, 348 are now employed.   This is but one indication of what is possible if we work together in unison to create a better life for our people.

Honourable Speaker,

For this financial year, we have identified 2 444 households and profiled them to ensure that our interventions as Government are aligned to their needs.  In addition to this, we also identified 2 444 Change Agents from these households, and if we provide these Change Agents who are in the main young people with developmental opportunities, we will not only be addressing their individual needs, but will be extricating their families out of poverty.  However, we will only be able to extricate these families out of poverty if we work in an integrated manner across the spheres of Government and with Private Sector.

Honourable Speaker,

If our interventions are to be promotive, transformative as well as developmental and generative, we must then work with our people at community level to identify their needs, but also community based assets which can assist us in addressing the needs of our people.  Because, it is important for us to work with our people, learn from them and to utilise whatever resources they have if we are to restore their dignity and fundamental human rights.  Therefore, the Department adopted the Social Mobilisation and Empowerment Programme which is an inclusive process focussing on addressing poverty and underdevelopment at community level by working with all stakeholders including communities in responding to the needs of communities by institutionalising services.

In terms of our Social Mobilisation and Empowerment Programme, the Department currently funds 8 existing sites in the following areas: Fraserburg, Williston, Topline, Seoding, Camden, Majeng, Strydenburg and Cassel.  An additional 5 new sites have been identified in Loopeng, Komaggas, Stilwater, Kakamas and Marydale, thereby bringing the funded Social Mobilisation and Empowerment Programme sites to 13 across the Province.

We have set aside R 2,7 million for this programme, however, this is insufficient to address poverty at community level.  We therefore urge our partners in Private Sector to work with us because the success of this programme is highly dependent on how best we are able to work together as Government, Civil Society and Private Sector because only an all-rounded effort will extricate our people out of the clutches of poverty and deprivation and on to a path of sustainable development.

The ANC is committed to ensuring that our services and programmes are accessible to our people. We have therefore resolved to decentralise the National Development Agency, they will therefore be opening their first District Office in the Zwelintlanga Fatman Mgcawu District.  This will not only bring Government services and programmes closer to the people, but it will also create much needed work opportunities for our people.

Honourable Speaker,

This year marks 40 years since the landmark June 16 student uprising, which had a significant impact on the course of the liberation struggle and attainment of freedom and democracy in 1994.  June 16, 1976 will forever serve as a reminder of the role and contribution of the youth in the struggle for freedom and democracy in South Africa.

Last year we witnessed the “Rhodes Must Fall” and the “Fees Must Fall” campaigns which must serve as a reminder of the ability of our young people to mobilise themselves and act in unison to achieve their collective developmental needs and aspirations.

Therefore, if there is a lesson to be learned from these campaigns, it is that the needs of our young people are urgent and time-bound and if we do not act and act with urgency to respond to their needs, we shall bear the brunt. In the words of our struggle hero and icon, Oliver Reginald Tambo, “A country, a movement, a people that does not value its youth does not deserve s future.

Honourable Speaker,

Unemployment remains the biggest challenge we face in terms of youth development and this was once again confirmed by the report released by Statistics South Africa in terms of the “Vulnerable groups series I: The social profile of youth, 2009-2014” the report also confirms that our youth constitutes the majority of our population and therefore, not only do they represent the future, but also the demographic dividend, as a well?educated and healthy youth population could potentially propel the economy and the country onto a new growth trajectory.

But for this to happen, space and scope must be created for them to engage meaningfully in the economy of the country in order to develop and realise their untapped potential and therefore contribute towards the realisation of a prosperous country, free of the scourge of inequality, poverty and unemployment.

Based on the Report, there is a clear undeniable link between poverty and educational attainment.  Hence those young people with matric or lower levels of education constitute the majority of our unemployed youth. This therefore presents a challenge because; these young people need a range of interventions in terms of portable skills to enhance their livelihoods.

We have therefore set aside R 2 million to train 350 young people in technical skills because technical skills are the backbone on which every successful economy relies.  However, 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.  Therefore we have allocated R 9,6 million in terms of the Social Work Scholarship Programme, targeting 193 people currently studying Social Work.

An additional R 320 thousand has been allocated to fund other related further and higher education programmes, as well as an additional R 2,6 million has been allocated for the employment of Learners and Interns.

This brings our total allocation on skills development and education to R 14,5 million. This clearly indicates our commitment towards the empowerment of our young people as Agents of Change.

Honourable Speaker,

It is as a result of our youth development programme that I would like to introduce three young people, namely: Ms. Zimbini Baardman, Ms. Sureka Booysen and Mr. Neo Frans.  These three young people were recruited for the Balelapa Household Profile in 2010.  We provided them with a range of developmental programmes, from an NQF Level 5 Community Development Programme to a learners and drivers license.  All three of them are now full-time employed, one in the Department of Social Development and two at SASSA. They are now the breadwinners at home, able to sustain the livelihoods of their families.  This goes to show the positive impact of our Change Agent Program if taken seriously.

This is what is possible, if we work together to create space, opportunity and support for our young people.

Honourable Speaker,

The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) remains one of Government’s catalyst initiatives aimed at drawing 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 3,5 million to enhance the Department’s initiative of creating 167 work opportunities.

In addition to this, we have set aside an addition R 10 million to create 1 500 work opportunities for our poor and vulnerable to ensure that they earn a stipend as they serve render critical serves ranging from Home Community Based Care to Early Childhood Development.  This will contribute positively to restore their dignity and self-worth as they work to earn their livelihood.

Honourable Speaker,

During the last financial year, SASSA provided 6 140 learners with school uniform to the tune of R 12,2 million.  Therefore, this year, working with SASSA and NDA we are in the process of capacitating existing funded Cooperatives which are mainly women and youth owned Cooperatives to ensure that they begin to supply us with school uniform.  In addition to the cooperatives which stands to benefit in excess of R 13 million, 10 000 learners will be benefiting from this initiative.  This is a key women empowerment programme, because women and youth are part our most vulnerable sector of society. Central to this empowerment programme is our commitment to the eradication of poverty amongst our women and youth, to migrate them out of abject poverty to participate in the mainstream economy of our Province. Hence, we call on all other Government Departments and the Private Sector to support these Co-operatives.

Honourable Speaker,

On our Policy Priority: Deepening Social Assistance and Expanding Access to Social Security (Provincial Priority-Food Security).

Although Government is implementing a range of programmes aimed at addressing poverty in the long run, the reality is that many people are in need of immediate social relief of distress; these include orphans, people with disability and the aged amongst others.  Therefore, 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 2016/17 financial year the South African Social Security Agency will pay just over 465 927 social grants to the value of R 3,9 billion, of these grants R 1,5 billion is for old age grants followed by R 1,2 billion for Child Support Grant and R 925 million for Disability Grant.

In addition to this, the Agency will spend an additional R 28,9 million additional to the R 6,8 million of the Department of Social Development’s allocation for Social Relief of Distress (SRD) in the form of food parcels, vouchers for school uniform and blankets to ensure immediate relief for families and people in distress, bringing the total budget of SRD to R 35,7 million.

Honourable Speaker,

In South Africa the cause of hunger and malnutrition is not due to a shortage of food but rather inadequate access to food by certain categories of individuals and households in the population.  Statistics South Africa has shown that food insecurity is not an exceptional, short-term event, but is rather a continuous threat for more than a third of the population.

The Department of Social Development has set aside R 15 million for the Food Security Programme. Through these interventions, 36 000 households will have access to at least a cooked nutritious 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 5,9 million to strengthen our food security programme.

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 8 million for training and capacity building of our NPOs. A key tenet in terms of our NPO programme remains the compliance, hence during the last financial year, we held a successful NPO Indaba, ECD and Home and Community Based engagement sessions with programme managers and management committee members to outline our key policy deliverables and matters of financial compliance.

For the 2016/17 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 774 NPO’s to be funded.

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. Furthermore, the National Development Agency has set aside a total amount of R3.1 million for capacitating Civil Society Organization as a means of ensuring that they are compliant with the NPO act.

Honourable Speaker,

The budget for the 2016/17 financial year of the Department is R 773 million and the allocation is as follows, Social Welfare Services R 104 million; Children and families R 249 million; Restorative Services R 177 million; Research and Development R 124 million; and Administration R 119 million.

Our budget clearly demonstrates our commitment to service with over R 654 million translating to 84,6% of our budget going to service delivery line function programmes and only R 119 million (15,3%) going towards Administration.

Honourable Speaker,

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.

As asserted in the Millennium Declaration "For the majority of our people, every day that dawns is a day of hope, hope that in time, our country will lift from the shoulders of all our people the heavy burden of poverty that many centuries of deliberate inhumanity by some towards other human beings, has imposed on millions. That people's power will stand at the centre of our continuing struggle to achieve the goal of a better life for all. It will continue to serve as the principal force mobilised to defend our democratic gains and advance the goals of our democratic revolution.”

Honourable Speaker,

Building a caring and self-reliant society lies at the heart of our programme of action, therefore as the African National Congress led Government, we continue to work tirelessly to ensure we build self reliant and caring communities and therefore we must work in an integrated manner as all sectors of society to ensure that we do not only address social assistance, but also the sustainable integration of all communities into economic activity.

Our vision as a Department seeks to build conscious and capable citizens through the provision of integrated social development services, this is why we remain committed to providing 19 562 children with early childhood development services, 2 000 people with work opportunities through our Non Profit Organisations, 2 444 families with much needed services and 37 000 people with nutritious meals.  This is why we continue to provide our elderly with programmes aimed at active ageing away from institutionalisation to community based services.

This, Honourable Speaker, speaks to the expectations of the long-term vision of the National Development Plan, namely outcome 13 which is to build a comprehensive, responsive and sustainable social protection system.

Honourable Speaker,

May I take this opportunity to thank the African National Congress for showing considerable confidence in me by having given me the opportunity to serve the People of this Province at this level. Furthermore, I want to thank the Portfolio Committee on Health and Social Development led by the Honourable Dithebe for its continued guidance and support in the manner in which we conduct our business.

Allow me to also express my most sincere appreciation and gratitude to the officials of the Department of Social Development under the collective capable leadership of the Acting Head of Department, Mr. Ichabod Manyane, the Regional Executive Manager of SASSA, Ms. Thandi Sibanyoni and the Provincial Manager of NDA, Mr. Lesedi Piki and their entire staff as it is through their selfless acts and commitment that I can boldly claim that we are a Department hard at work to make poverty history and we are aware that we cannot do this on our own, because only an all-rounded effort will extricate our people out of the clutches of poverty and deprivation and on to a path of sustainable development.

I further wish to express my gratitude to the officials in my office, under the stewardship of Mr. Neo Maneng, because it is through their support and commitment that I am propelled forward.

To my family, I am forever grateful for your support and understanding.  It is because of your love and selflessness that I am able to dedicate my time and energies to the people of this beautiful Province of ours.

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.

It now gives me great pleasure to invite you to support Budget Vote 11.

I thank you!!!!

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