Vote 7: Social Services and Poverty Alleviation Budget Speech 2006
Vote 7: Social Services and Poverty Alleviation Budget Speech 2006BY: Ms Kholeka Mqulwana, Provincial Minister of Social Development
AT: Provincial Legislature
22 May 2006
Colleagues from the Cabinet,
Honourable Members of the House,
MEC Xhasa from the Eastern Cape,
Officials from the department,
Members of the NGO fraternity,
Representatives from the private sector,
Leaders of various religious formations,
Leaders of community organisations,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I stand here presenting our department's Budget Vote 7 for the 2006/07 financial year, at a time when South Africans from all four corners of our land are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the adoption of our noble Constitution. Equally important is the fact that next month we will also be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the struggle waged by the young people of our country. As we close 2006, we will also be paying tribute to the sacrifices made by the women of our country to deliver the freedom we are celebrating today.
As the department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation, we are equally convinced, as President Thabo Mbeki stated in his State-of the-nation address that our country has entered its Age of Hope. Consistent with that belief, as the department, we are celebrating 2006 as the year of the Golden Age of Hope and Growth.
We remain resolute in carrying forward the national mandate of working with the people to fight poverty and create work.
Our country has achieved a number of milestones in creating hope to our people that their government will not fail them. The contribution we are making as the department to grow local economies in areas of our jurisdiction and competency, continue to give hope to our communities that a better life for them is within reach.
The contribution we are making in giving support to a number of sustainable community small business enterprises, has provided many families with sustainable livelihood while undermining hunger and suffering for them.
Since the last Budget Speech, several strides have been made towards achieving the aims of the government's transformation agenda. The most important challenge is intensifying our efforts aimed at providing access to services by all the people of the Western Cape, consistent with our belief that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, Black and White.
Mr Speaker, we are presenting a budget that will ensure that the department consolidates its areas of transformation and improve service delivery in the true spirit of Batho Pele. The Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation received a total allocation of R727, 143 million for the 2006/07 financial year. This indicates an increase of R32, 617 million on the Adjustments Estimate for the 2005/06 financial year.
The analysis of the department's budget for the 2006/07 financial year indicates that 54,5% will be spent on transfers to NPOs, and 17,5% to the establishment of 16 district offices as cost centres, 13,2% allocated to facilities managed by the department and 14,8% goes to corporate services.
This allocation is 3.96% of the provincial budget. Of note is the fact that no conditional grants were allocated from national, except for specific funds, which were earmarked within the equitable share in respect of the specified functions. Mr Speaker, we are pleased to report to this House that we have achieved 95% of the deliverables we had initially set for ourselves in the department's previous budget vote.
We are here standing honest in front of you to report that of the 25% targeted funding for the new and emerging service providers, the department only allocated 13% to these new organisations.
In responding to this challenge, in the last financial year our department conducted a preliminary audit of potential emerging organizations to determine the nature, type and scope of their functioning. Following the audit, a capacity building framework enabling these organizations' greater exposure to opportunities, improving efficiency and ensuring compliance with the department's requirements has been developed and implemented at a cost of R520 000.
In addition to these interventions, for 2006/07 financial year, R2 million has been set aside to address the capacity needs of the targeted emerging organisations. The identified organisations will receive funding not later that 1 October 2006.
Last year, we also promised that we would extend our reach to the poor by establishing local offices in Khayelitsha, Mitchell's Plain and Knysna. This milestone has not been achieved due to the unavailability of premises in these three areas, owing to historical poor apartheid urban planning.
Given the difficulties experienced in Knysna to secure office premises (due to high prices), we have taken a decision to establish a local office in Plettenberg Bay, rather than Knysna. In the case of the Khayelitsha area, there is a process in place to conclude the acquiring of three local offices. The department will occupy these offices during this financial year.
Mr Speaker, we have been able to create warmth in the reception areas of many of our district offices by employing customer liaison officers. Regrettably, our reception areas at head office and a few remaining district offices are still managed and controlled by security personnel. Challenges of interdepartmental co-ordination have led to the delay in the construction of our reception areas.
The milestones that we have not achieved in the 2005/06 financial year will be carried over by the department as priority targets to be tackled during the course of the current financial year.
Consistent with the transformation theme we adopted for our 2005 budget vote, our Transformation Plan culminated in the approval of the new organisational structure for the department. We are currently awaiting a Presidential proclamation to change the name of the department to the "Department of Social Development", which will mirror the new core business of the department.
The highlight of the departmental structure is the introduction of the new Transformation Chief Directorate, whose mandate is to ensure transformation and improved service delivery in the entire department.
As a third phase of our transformation process, in this financial year we will focus on the broader transformation of the facilities and places of safety owned by the department.
Mr Speaker, let me also take this opportunity and inform the House that, although not satisfactory, the participation of Previously Disadvantaged Individuals (PDI's) in our procurement processes has increased as follows:
For the period 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006, a total of 24 bids to the value of R64,3 million were awarded, of which 18, to the value of R44 million, were awarded to Black business people. The challenge remains the further classification of Blacks to accommodate all targeted groups.
Mr Speaker, I am pleased to report that the department has made tremendous strides in achieving its employment equity targets for levels nine and upwards.
The figures for the various designated groups, which include all appointments from April 2004 to date, are as follows:
- Out of a total of 131 positions, 66 Africans were appointed, of which 32 were suitably placed in middle management positions, with one placement in a senior management position.
- The department also appointed 50 Coloureds, of which 19 placements were in middle management positions.
- 17 Whites were appointed, of which nine filled middle management positions.
- Two Indian staff members were appointed.
Having achieved employment equity, my immediate focus is the racial integration of the department, the attraction of more people with physical disabilities and nation building. For the first time in the department, we have young White South Africans who are prepared to share their skills and render services in the township.
In addition to what has been achieved by the department, we are pleased to announce that, enhanced by the employment of language practitioners, the departmental communication and information will now be accessible to all communities in the three official languages of the Western Cape.
Special focus will be placed in the West Coast area to ensure that language barriers do not bar our communities from accessing government services.
We will continue to attract and retain men in the social development environment by providing bursaries for further studies in this field. In this regard, R1 million has been set aside to achieve this goal.
Consistent with the undertaking we made last year to integrate day care centres for older persons, it is our pleasure to report that we are currently in the middle of a very successful pilot project, whereby senior citizens from Langa and Delft were integrated into the relatively privileged day care centres in the Bellville area.
We are elated to note that all participants received this pilot project with enthusiasm. This programme will continue until our racial integration objective is achieved.
We are proud to announce to this House that the National Assembly has passed the Older Persons Bill and it has been referred to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence. This piece of legislation represents a new developmental approach to ageing. It also guarantees the rebuilding of the family unit by placing senior citizens at the centre of the community.
In this province, we are celebrating the freedom enshrined in this Bill by involving our senior citizens in sport and recreation. In this regard, the department recently established the Golden Games for older persons, modelled along a similar international event we learned from Georgia, in the USA. These activities are enhancing the racial integration of our senior citizens. Mr Speaker, believe us, this idea of involving elder persons in sport has created hope in them that society acknowledges their wealth of experience in a number of areas and will continue to value them.
To ensure the success of the participation of senior citizens in sport, the department appointed 300 youth interns to identify older persons in various communities whilst assisting them to open their clubs in order to enrol for participation in the Golden Games. The most significant element of these clubs is the establishment of a community "network", in order to determine the well being of the elderly.
Mr Speaker, we need to record our appreciation in the fact that from March to the beginning of May this year, all our 16 district offices were engaged in Golden Games, where more than 6 000 senior citizens took part. We salute Age In Action for their help.
Let me take this opportunity and invite all members of the House to join me during the first provincial games for older persons, which will be held on 29 September - 1 October 2006 in Oudtshoorn. Please come and witness the elderly in action, "Kugug'othandayo"!!
In line with our belief that children are the future of any society, their adulthood depends on the kind of investment the government, in partnership with parents and communities, commit in their development. We have already started working with the infrastructural development of the ECD sector.
A study undertaken by the Early Learning Resource Unit (ELRU) revealed that approximately 22% of children have access to ECD provision. This suggests that the majority of children, particularly from poor communities, are outside the ECD safety net. Given this reality, we will be optimising the services offered by the Family In Focus programme in order to complement ECD services rendered from ECD facilities.
In this programme, the focus is on the family as the primary source of care for young children. It seeks to empower parents and caregivers to become involved in the development and education of their children.
Supported by other sister departments of the provincial government, the Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation will implement the cabinet-approved Integrated Provincial ECD Strategy to ensure access to quality ECD provision by all children of the province. We will put special emphasis in the upgrading of the skills level of caregivers to ensure their suitability to deal with the developmental challenges facing children in the ECD sector.
In order to ensure that the content of the curriculum of ECDs empowers the children and properly prepares them for the schooling system, the department will be working with the provincial Department of Education to set minimum standards for the qualification required for all ECD practitioners. Special attention will be given to the ECD practitioners who, throughout the period of apartheid, looked after our children.
Mr Speaker, it is saddening to observe that our children continue to be abused, assaulted and brutally murdered, mostly by people close and known to them. In order to respond to this cruelty, we have commissioned research on the status and safety of children in the Western Cape. Further more, we are in the process of developing indicators that will help us to benchmark the well being of our children. This work will be completed during this financial year and its recommendations will be piloted in Delft, where the day-to-day experience indicates that our children are unsafe and most vulnerable.
Mr Speaker, rural/farm women, as a vulnerable group, are still amongst the most marginalized in society. My ongoing interaction with rural communities has revealed that women on farms continue to be subjected to the most inhuman forms of abuse, ranging from sexual assault, evictions to wage discrimination. Even the maternity benefits that women of South Africa have won in the struggle against work place discrimination are still very remote to them.
As a department, we will continue to lead interdepartmental collaborative efforts aimed at ensuring that women on farms enjoy the same freedom and civil liberties to which all South Africans are exposed.
People living with disabilities are still not properly integrated in the mainstream social activities of our communities. Motivated by this reality, our department has created hope for this vulnerable group by successfully placing a number of disabled young people as contract workers after the successful completion of a learnership on secretarial and administration. The department will continue with this effort to ensure that this group plays a significant role in growing our country's economy.
Mr Speaker, young people in our province are still subjected to the most intolerable forms of social ills ranging from alcoholism, drug and substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, unemployment, poverty, HIV/AIDS to crime. To respond to these challenges and informed by our commitment to building social capital, the department has embarked on a number of strategic partnerships aimed at providing services necessary to empower young people.
Our partners provide youth empowerment programmes, which include youth protection, treatment and development, ethical leadership, youth focal leadership, certificate in youth training, school dropout reduction, computer literacy, internship and learnerships.
The number of HIV/Aids orphans is expected to rise. Baseline research is currently being conducted to identify child-headed households through door-to-door campaigns to assist in the design and implementation of a service delivery model for orphaned and vulnerable children.
Following the Memoranda of Understanding we signed with the six municipalities we mentioned in our previous budget, we are in this financial year going to consolidate our intergovernmental collaboration by creating hope to our people that the three spheres of government will work together to better their lives by supporting the following sustainable community projects:
1. BITOU MUNICIPALITY
- In Bitou we are witnessing the strengthening of social capital, local economic development and the improvement of household income in action. A group of young people drawn from the Kurland and KwaNokuthula communities has been integrated to work together in a brick-making project, with the municipality providing a market for their products.
- At the same municipality, we are supporting another group of young people in manufacturing beach chairs, tables and umbrellas, which are to be hired out to tourists and other holidaymakers.
- In another youth project, we are giving hope to a group of more than 20 young people who formed an HIV/AIDS support club, which manages a laundry project with local hotels and township Bed-and-Breakfast proving a market for them.
- Together with the Umsobomvu Youth Fund, we are supporting the establishment of a youth advisory centre, focusing on a number of programmes to empower young people in entrepreneurial skills.
All these young participants from the projects mentioned above, will undergo a thorough life skills programme, including driving and financial management skills. To this end, R2 million has been set aside, as our contribution to the partnership, for the current MTEF.
2. EDEN DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY
In addition to the existing partnership with the Bitou municipality, we are further consolidating our partnership with this district municipality in gardening services focusing on emerging organisations. In this regard, R613, 000 has been allocated for this purpose.
3. WEST COAST
In Koekenap, in the Vredendal area, we are working with the Matzikama municipality to support a brick making project, which as been classified under Project Consolidate. Our department has given hope to the number of beneficiaries in this project as it is sustainable, employs its own staff, procures its own material and is profitable.
In Elandsbaai, we are supporting an agricultural project made up of young women whose focus is on poultry and gardening. In order to maximise the impact of government in such specialised projects, we are establishing a working relationship with our sister department of agriculture.
For the success of this partnership in the West Coast region, the department has made a contribution of R700 000.
4. CENTRAL KAROO
In this region, we are currently engaged in discussions with the municipality with the aim of consolidating our intergovernmental relations in support of sustainable rural development initiatives. In the current MTEF, R1,5 million has been earmarked for this purpose.
Mr Speaker, as outlined above, the department has made a concerted effort to focus service delivery in rural areas to create sustainable safety nets.
5. CITY OF CAPE TOWN
- In the Langa/Guguletu/Nyanga and Greater Athlone/Bonteheuwel areas we are successful in bridging the racial and geographic divide by supporting a joint garment making project.
- As witnessed in the Koekenap area, our department has brought smiles and happiness to the faces of many people in the Khayelitsha area. We have empowered women who were previously unemployed and hopeless to be respected small business people. We are happy to have succeeded in fighting poverty from the homes and families of the affected beneficiaries.
- We support a number of initiatives, including a cluster of brick making projects, food gardens and garment making.
I am proud to announce the brick-making project is doing very well. It has a constant market, including government and the municipality. It also has a sound bank account. The quality of the bricks has been certified by SABS. We salute Syntell for their continued support in this project.
- In the Delft area, our Monitoring and Evaluation team identified a need for further services for women and children. In this regard, we are supporting a cluster of a number of small food gardens. Joining the government partnership (Social Services and the City of Cape Town) are the department of agriculture, Eskom and the NDA. The project is now supplying supermarkets like Spar and the broader community.
For the success of our partnership with the City of Cape Town municipality, in support of sustainable community poverty reduction projects, R6,5 million has been allocated as our contribution over the MTEF period.
In addition to the six MOUs already signed with the municipalities, before the end of September this year, other Memoranda of Understanding as well as agreements of partnership in specific projects will be signed with the Theewaterskloof and West Coast municipalities.
An amount of R1 million has been earmarked for these partnerships.
As a way of scaling up support to community poverty reduction projects, while facilitating access to markets and the transportation of goods and services, the department is negotiating the procurement of vehicles to benefit the following programmes:
- Nomzamo Brick Making in Matzikama,
- Phakamani Brick Making in Khayelitsha,
- Azaad Youth Services in Cape Town
- Youth Futures Data in Bitou
- Suurbraak Community Programme
Although SASSA is a separate entity, it will continue to share office space at our 16 district offices until its new offices have been established.
In conclusion, as a department we can only provide a safety net to protect society's most vulnerable. We call, therefore, upon the community, other government departments, civil society, municipalities and, especially, the private sector to work with us in consolidating the gains we have achieved in improving the lives of our people.