Budget Speech 2007/8: Department of Social Development: Western Cape (Vote 7)
Budget Speech 2007/8: Department of Social Development: Western Cape (Vote 7)BY: Ms Kholeka Mqulwana, Provincial Minister of Social Development
AT: Provincial Legislature
24 May 2007
My colleagues in the Cabinet,
Honourable Members of the House,
Leaders of the African National Congress (ANC),
Members of the NGO fraternity,
Representatives from the business sector,
Ladies and gentlemen,
In his State of the Nation Address in February this year, President Thabo Mbeki asks of us:
"What progress have we made in the quest to achieve the objectives to which we honestly told the nation we were committed, as a result of which our people gave us the overwhelming authority to govern our country from 2004 until the next elections in 2009?"
In responding to the President's instruction, as a department, we have built up momentum for stronger development and economic participation for all communities in this province. We need to act with even greater determination and focus on meeting the needs of the poor in urban and rural areas. We need to act in unity to ensure that this progress is not only sustained, but elevated to a higher level during the course of the new financial year.
This places a responsibility on us to take the lead in ensuring that growth is both accelerated and shared among all our communities. Our key challenge is to sustain this growth, broaden participation in the economy and extend opportunities to all in order to deepen the quality of social development.
For those of us in government, it requires that policies and programmes are effectively implemented, coordinated, continually monitored, evaluated, and informed by the needs, interests and views of the masses of our people.
It requires the mobilization, not only of the substantial resources and capacity of the state, but also the mobilization of the most important resource within our communities, the people themselves, behind this central task of improving their lives for the better.
Economic growth and development is about empowering the masses to take control of their own lives, ensuring that they have the means and opportunity to enjoy the freedoms for which they have fought for a long time. They must, therefore, be an integral and driving force behind this effort.
In this respect, there is a clear role for participation by the Non-Governmental Organizations and civil society structures. There is also a profound need for sustained cooperation between the government and its social partners; labour, business and civil society.
In delivering our budget for the 2007/08 financial year, we are inspired by the President's critical call to carefully examine the mandate given to us when we signed the People's Contract To Create Work and Fight Poverty in 2004. As a result, the department's total budget allocation for the 2007/08 financial year is R891 503 000, which represents a growth of 22, 5% from the previous budget.
It is also important to emphasise the fact that more than half of this allocation (54, 8%), which is R488.628 million, will be utilized to support and strengthen social welfare services rendered by the NGO sector on behalf of our department. This represents a growth of 23.5%, which is unprecedented in the history of this department.
This in itself is indicative of our intention to expand the delivery of services to our people and strengthen our partnership with the NGO sector. It also compels our department to strengthen its monitoring and evaluation role, to ensure that the programmes of these NGOs speak directly to the needs and expectations of our communities.
Mr Speaker, for the 2007/08 final year, our budget speech will emphasise the following:
- Reflecting on our achievements over the past year
- The execution of our service delivery mandate
- Harnessing the work of our foot soldiers in service delivery
I am proud to announce that significant strides have been made by the department in the realisation of its transformation mandate. As promised during our previous budget allocation, the department has awarded more than 85% of the procurement of goods and services, with a value of R8, 4 million, to historically disadvantaged individuals.
What stands out about this achievement is the fact that all racial groups have been accommodated in the contracts awarded. Coloured owned businesses were awarded 53% and Africans 32%. This achievement far outstrips the targets set for procurement in our Transformation Plan. Of note is that sixty three percent (63, 64%) of contracts were awarded to companies owned and controlled by Black women.
Mr Speaker, during our budget vote last year, we also promised this House that we would transform the department's language services to reflect the demographics of our province and all our people. In this regard, I am pleased to announce that we appointed three language practitioners in our Communications and Marketing Unit. In addition, 72 of our staff members have taken up Xhosa lessons. In-house training courses in Sign Language and Afrikaans will be offered for people not conversant with these languages during the current year.
Driven by our transformation agenda, we have made government services accessible to the poor by establishing an office in Vredenburg, West Coast, while sites have been identified, one in Khayelitsha, two in Mitchell's Plain. Together with SASSA, we have opened local offices in Plettenberg Bay and Riversdale. We have also employed customer-liaison officers at reception areas at Head Office and all of the sixteen district offices. These are our achievements as part of our Transformation Plan.
As part of the social worker retention strategy, we have spent over R1 million in scholarships to attract male social workers in order to address our gender equity targets.
We have reached our target of transferring 25% of our budget for social service organisations to emerging and new organisations (NPO's/NGOs'), the monetary value of which is more than R26 million. The challenge will be to create an environment that will sustain these gains.
Mr Speaker, I now want to highlight the contribution we are making in the execution of our service delivery mandate.
In this financial year we have taken the strategic decision to realign service delivery by adopting a programmatic approach, which is reflected in the following eight key programmes:
- Children and Families
- Youth Development
- Substance Abuse
- Older Persons
- Sustainable Livelihoods
- HIV and Aids
- Institutional Capacity Building
In each one of these programmes all service providers; ourselves and our partners in the NGO sector, will be required to deliver services at the level of awareness, early intervention, statutory and after care. This comprehensive approach is intended to set the tone for the next 10 years and will enable us to gauge the gaps in service delivery and where we need to redirect our energies and resources. We will do this guided by our commitment to social transformation and the building of social cohesion.
Consistent with our targeted approach and impact maximisation, in this financial year, we will focus primarily on five programmes.
Substance abuse is not a fight that we can win on our own. Its transversal nature requires the collective involvement of all government departments, the community and other role players. In displaying our seriousness to fight substance abuse, a total budget of R50, 095 million has been allocated for the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of those affected.
Public awareness and the expansion of community-based interventions will receive priority attention.
Of this amount, R14 million has been earmarked for the next three years for the establishment of a comprehensive treatment model which consists of a small in-patient treatment centre, accessible out-patient counselling services, after care and support for all those who enter treatment, as well as massive public education programmes in all of our district office areas. Furthermore, other departments, sectors and communities are currently engaged vigorously to develop their own drug master plans.
The care, support and protection of children and families are not only our biggest programme, but it is at the heart of this department's core business. As a result, a total amount of R248 million has been allocated for these services during this financial year. Consistent with our belief that an investment in ECD is an investment in the future of this nation, Early Childhood Development has been prioritised nationally and provincially. R90 million has been allocated for this sector. This investment will cater for 848 ECD facilities, accommodating 67 910 children. A further 2 090 children are accommodated in our ECD outreach programmes. We are called upon to expand this by registering an additional 166 ECD facilities. An increase to the funding levels of ECD facilities from its present R6, 50 to R7, 50 per child per day will be implemented. The upgrading of the skills of 1 500 ECD practitioners through the EPWP programme, and in partnership with the Department of Education, is currently receiving priority attention.
The training and employment of 240 ECD assistants to strengthen services in this field has been approved. Phase one of the auditing of ECD facilities has been completed and preliminary findings have revealed that more children have access to ECD facilities than we initially thought. Speaker, this milestone alone, shows the progress we have made in this field. We will continue to build on this investment.
Mr Speaker, we are currently providing financial support to 2 041 children in 37 children's homes. This is an area we have prioritised for increased financial assistance, in line with the provisions of the new Children's Bill. We have therefore set aside R12 million to address the increasing needs of children.
Although children belong to and flourish best within a family context, research findings also indicate that the family is often the site of abuse. In this regard, communities have long played a fundamental role in the care of children and are recognised as being the best protection for children who have been abused, abandoned, neglected and exploited. One of the best community responses is the concept of Safe Houses, where safety parents are identified, vetted, with the help of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and trained to provide a safety net to vulnerable children in times of crises. The safe-house concept recognises the inherent strengths of communities to look after children, promote cohesion and keep the idea of shared responsibility alive. It is our intention to expand this concept to include other vulnerable people for example, older persons and people with disabilities. Over the next 3 years we intend to establish at least one safe house in all 350 wards of the province.
The department, in a joint venture with the National Prosecuting Authority, will throughout the year, embark on an awareness and prevention campaign called "365 days of Activism against the abuse of women and children" to:
- Strengthen families against abuse within the family network and in communities.
- Contribute towards building safer and peaceful communities
- Strengthen a culture of human rights by providing more effective and integrated coordinated responses to victims of trauma particularly children
- Transform victims of violence to victors of violence through a comprehensive network of social services and programmes.
- Mobilise other stakeholders to join hands.
For this purpose the department will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Prosecuting Agency (NPA) with the hope that the latter will bring in its experience in order to maximise input and outcome in our partnership with the justice department.
In his 8 January Statement earlier this year, the President also reminded us to acknowledge that youth empowerment must remain a central feature of our developmental focus. "Initiatives that relate to putting in place sustainable platforms for economic growth cannot succeed without the massive participation of South Africa's youth. This participation is not only critical towards the empowerment of young people, but also serves as a bridge between the first and second economies."
In line with the President's call, our department seeks to achieve the seamless integration and responsiveness to the demands of young people by investing in their skills development, employment creation, crime prevention programmes and the reduction of HIV/AIDS.
For example, in partnership with the Cape Winelands District Municipality and the Swedish government, our department has finalised the establishment of the Wolwekloof Youth facility. It will focus on addressing the broader challenges affecting young people as well as deepening democracy, citizenship and skills development by exploiting the unique environmental qualities of the site, agribusiness and tourism opportunities as affirmed by the Premier. This is our department's contribution towards the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa), as championed by Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. All other provincial departments and the private sector are invited to play a role in making the facility a success.
Although our department has done exceptionally well in respect of services to youth in conflict with the law, we nevertheless remain concerned about young people who have to await trial in prison. In this regard we have entered into discussions with the Department of Correctional Services with a view to forming a partnership to implement a Level Four facility, aimed at keeping children who have committed serious crimes out of prison and place them in alternative care.
Mr Speaker, I am proud to mention the fact that this will further enhance the comprehensive range of services we have put in place for children in conflict with the law and which is regarded as national best practice. In line with the call by the Premier, we will continue to support organisations working in the metro hotspots identified by the provincial government, build their capacity to be effective in strengthening social cohesion.
Approximately R116 million has been allocated to homes for the aged, focusing in particular on the frail with incomes of R840 per month or less. Currently the department provides financial assistance to 10 350 persons in 132 homes for the aged. An additional 12 000 older persons benefit from community services rendered by NGOs on behalf of the department.
Last year we initiated a pilot project designed to promote racial integration amongst our senior citizens. The pilot was successful and we consequently integrated it into the Golden Games programme. This programme is an additional programme to promote racial integration and social cohesion. As a result, we are pleased to announce here that, through this programme, we have expanded integrated day care provision, including intergenerational programmes, by over 200 new clubs!
The aim of the Golden Games was to promote active aging and create awareness of the rights of older persons, as enshrined in the Older Persons Act. This programme was a resounding success. All targets were exceeded. For example, we planned to establish 45 clubs and ended up with over 200; we targeted reaching 5,000 older persons and reached more than 14,000.
In the spirit of promoting partnerships, this programme drew more than six companies from the private sector, with an estimated total contribution of over R5 million in cash and kind. These partnerships will continue.
Speaker, allow me to share with the House that two days ago, our department was invited by the Presidency to share our experience of the Golden Games in anticipation of the rollout of the programme nationwide.
Mr Speaker, R31 million is made available for our Sustainable Livelihood programme, aimed at migrating people from the second to the first economy. The nappy-making project funded by the department is a classical example of migrating more than 100 food parcel beneficiaries from a state of dependency, to one of economic self-sufficiency.
The department is effecting its MOU with Saldanha municipality together with the business sector, public entities and NGOs to establish a snails project that will finally migrate approximately 1500 women and young people in the west coast district.
Additional to this, the empowerment of young people and women is at the centre of this department's poverty reduction mandate. I am pleased to announce that the Afro-Chic Women Learn to Earn programme which targets 500 women between the age cohort of 49 to 59 years from Langa, Nyanga, Greater Athlone, Gugulethu, has produce results beyond our expectations. For example, 12 women have qualified as machine mechanics, a job previously held by men, 15 of the women get regular contracts for bead work and some have started their own small businesses.
In addition, the women from coloured and African communities have bridged the racial divides and now socialise with each other. 320 employment opportunities have been created for young people by funding two interventions in the hospitality sector and through the car wash project.
The car wash project has been made successful by our partnership with the Government Motor Transport (GMT), whereby our department provides opportunities to women taken from our food-parcel beneficiaries to wash government vehicles in all our district offices in the province.
Our poverty reduction initiatives also extend to include young people with disabilities, where 12 of them from Noluthando school for the deaf in Khayelitsha are being trained in boat-building in partnership with the Netherlands government.
I am pleased to announce that a delegation from the Netherlands will visit our province in June to cement our partnership.
The department will continue to maintain a strong working relationship with SASSA to link beneficiaries to sustainable livelihoods and well being programmes. This approach begins to militate against the systemic nature of poverty and vulnerability.
Mr Speaker, let me highlight the contribution made by our foot soldiers in speeding the delivery of services to the people. These are the social service professionals, who include social workers, social auxiliary workers, development practitioners, child and youth care workers and all categories of staff who contribute towards our service delivery mandate. I want to acknowledge their contributions, often in the face of great challenges. In the year ahead, we will prioritise the improvement of their service conditions to enable them to serve their government with determination.
Critical to the development of human capital within this department, the retention of social workers as a scare skill is receiving top priority. We have already developed a first draft of an implementation plan for the Western Cape , based on the national social work retention strategy. This will be extensively consulted internally and externally. It is important to recognise the challenges to retain this scare skill in both the government and NGO sector. Part of our intended interventions will be a comprehensive audit, to be finalised towards the end of July this year.
The audit will determine the number of unemployed, registered social workers in the province. The findings, amongst others, will assist with the development of a 10- year Human Development Plan for the sector.
In responding the challenge of retaining competent staff in this profession, the department has already upgraded salaries of social workers, including those in the employ of NGO's. I am proud to announce that, during this year, a further R12million is set aside to increase the salaries of social workers and address the challenges faced by other foot soldiers employed in the NGO sector.
In addition to the above, scholarships for social work students, particularly targeting male students will again be made available to the tune of R1m. Promoting the social service field as a profession of choice will enhance this intervention even more. As a result, we have entered into collaborative agreements with centres of higher education to assist in this, as well as repositioning the profession to meet the challenges of the 21 st century.
We have set aside R7 million for the training and employment of social auxiliary workers. This will increase to R7.7 million and R20 million in the outer years. This cadre of staff will not only create sustainable employment for young people, but will also mitigate against the scarcity of social workers by complementing their workloads.
Speaker, expanding on the number of social service professionals will be futile without investing in their capacity building, looking at job enrichment, orienting them to new service delivery demands, and creating support networks. In addition to capacity building interventions, we will also investigate options to facilitate the development of management skills of NGO staff.
We regard volunteers as the backbone of service delivery, as they are available outside of normal office hours and have an intimate knowledge of communities, families and individuals. They are also able to immediately respond to crisis and vulnerability. They complement our service delivery and we will include them in our training and capacity building interventions. We salute the bravery and civic responsibility of the 1000 youth volunteers who support and mentor other young people who have undergone substance abuse rehabilitation programme.
Speaker, I want to conclude my budget speech by emphasising the fact that the Department of Social Development has managed to achieve almost all its targets for social transformation and its service delivery objectives. We commit ourselves to continue to form strong partnerships with our stakeholders, which would include, among others, international stakeholders to influence quality service delivery.
We must take care to ensure that all our policies and programmes involve the people in their design, implementation and evaluation. We must work hard and smart during the course of 2007 to ensure that our services are effectively used to link government with the various stakeholders in our economy. Mr Speaker, we agree with the President when he says: "In concert with the task of growing the economy and creating new opportunities for work and economic development, we have been hard at work since 1994 to push back the frontiers of poverty, recognizing that no people can be truly free until they have cast aside the shackles of poverty and underdevelopment.
Those who work with us to achieve the service delivery agenda of government, including poverty reduction initiatives, have been and will always be the spirit driving us as a department.