Social Development: Budget Vote 19
By Mrs Helen N Makhuba MP
IFP Social Development Spokesperson

 

National Assembly, 14th April 2011

Honourable Chairperson:

 

Social development's mission is to ensure the provision of comprehensive social services which protect the poor and vulnerable within the framework of the South African Constitution and subsequent legislation, to create an enabling environment for sustainable development and delivery of quality welfare services in partnership with all those committed to building a caring society.

 

In South Africa social welfare grants are growing at an alarming rate: for an example 300% growth in the number of social grant beneficiaries over 9 years. Treasury estimates that by 2012 we will have 16 million grant recipients in South Africa of these 10 million will be child support grant beneficiaries. Many Economists are saying that South Africa is already the largest welfare state in the world; we would like to see measures in place whereby these beneficiaries can be taught certain skills in order for them to be self sufficient in the future.

 

SASSA plays an important role in providing these grants to all beneficiaries in our country. In their presentation this year in March 2011 the agency spoke about measures it would implement in order to reduce the turnaround time for the processing of applications. These measures seem to be working as many beneficiaries now leave the offices of the agency knowing whether or not their grant has been approved and when they will receive their 1st grant payment. Most of the agency's offices are operating in this manner.

 

We are concerned about the fact that SASSA received a qualified audit due to a number of challenges  ranging from missing files, loose correspondence not filed, critical documents missing etc. We hope for a better audit outcome at the end of this fiscal year. SASSA has to clean up its act as its present state of poor organization renders the agency vulnerable to fraud and corruption. The shortage of Social workers is another major problem facing the department.

 

SASSA also faces additional challenges ranging from sharing offices with DSD in certain regions, conditions at certain pay points not meeting the norms and standards and a growing number of social grants having a negative impact on service delivery, as well as staff perpetrated fraud becoming endemic in other regions. We are happy to hear that fraud management, good governance and beneficiary maintenance will receive priority attention. The move from cash based welfare payment system to an electronic based system is also welcomed and we look forward to its rapid national implementation.

 

The Central Drug Authority also plays a very important role in the lives of all South Africans in combating the scourge of substance abuse in our country. The IFP feels that the CDA and government cannot fight this war alone, and without the intervention and assistance of parents and family of those concerned. The information and resolutions taken at the substance abuse summit must be disseminated to all communities. More rehabilitation centres are needed and rural communities must be included as drug and alcohol abuse is rampant within both our urban and rural communities. Drug abuse is also complicating our fight against AIDS. A new drug has been created from anti-retroviral drugs called whoonga. We have heard of cases where AIDS patients have been robbed of their antiretroviral medicine.

Gender based violence against woman and children in most cases occur in conjunction with alcohol and drug abuse. The IFP calls for this matter to be prioritised and urges the DSD to continuously work with other departments, like police, justice, and women, children and people with disabilities.

 

The mandate of the NDA is to contribute towards the eradication of poverty by granting funds to civil society organisations for purposes of carrying on certain project work. Most of these projects have lapsed due to lack of capacity to run the business for which the project was created. The IFP urges that training should be given to all who receive government funding in order to ensure that they are able to sustain their businesses and thereby achieve the operational objectives and mandates of the agency. The IFP would also like to see the correct monitoring and evaluation of all NDA funded projects.

 

The IFP supports the budget vote.

 

I thank you.

 

Contact:
Mrs Helen Makhuba MP
073 268 3063