Speech by Minister Sharna Fernandez: Second Reading Appropiation Bill Debate
· Honourable Premier
· Cabinet colleagues and Leader of the Opposition
· Honourable members of the Western Cape Parliament
· Guest in the gallery today, fellow South Africans,
Our Minister of Finance, Minister David Maynier, is to be congratulated on tabling a responsible, sustainable budget for the 2019 MTEF period. In the words of our very capable Minister of Finance.
He said: The Medium Term Budget is about, I quote…
“How we are getting things done in the Western Cape.”
Honourable Speaker, let’s not hide behind any smoke screens…
Provincial services are indeed taking strain and are unable to meet the ever increasing demand because rapid increase in population in the province.
I highlighted a few months ago, that in the next 5 years, we will see the Western Cape population grow by a further 700 000 people.
However, the only way to fill these gaps and get ahead of the population growth and development curve is if our equitable share allocation is significantly increased and national government stops wasting money on, failing SOEs (like Eskom and SAA), above-inflation wage increases, and bad policy choices such as the NHI and talks around Land Expropriation without Compensation.
Where other Provinces are struggling we are still managing to show progress in the services we offer the People of our Province, especially those who are most vulnerable and at risk across the Western Cape.
our government, led by our Fit-for-purpose Honourable Premier, Alan Winde, remains a shining example of a capable state, while we continue to watch national government imploding and shifting the goal posts set out in the National Development Plan (NDP).
Yesterday, a member of the ANC asked: what are we doing in terms of increased support for our Victims Empowerment programmes with regards to GBV?
To answer that question, Hon. Members … I would like to bring some real hard facts to the fore…
… In the year 2009, when the DA first took over government in the Western Cape, the amount allocated for VEP was a mere R7,67m.
Honourable members. I’ll have you know that the budget allocation for the same VEP programme in 2019 is R45m.
That is 6 times more than what the Previous ANC administration allocated in this province. And let’s be honest… the scourge of Gender Based Violence was equally a challenge then already.
As Minister Maynier highlighted in his Mid-Term budget policy speech, we must indeed give credit to the ANC national government for a few things they have got right…
National government has provided financial support that has assisted our government in ensuring that
- an additional R59.7 million to employ social workers in areas where there is a high prevalence of gender-based violence, substance abuse and issues affecting children in the Western Cape. This will include Provision for capital requirements for the additional 30 social workers, as of the 31st of October 2019.
- an additional R17 million to continue to support efforts to deal with the drivers of HIV, TB and STIs, and gender-based violence in the Western Cape.
- an additional R31.5 million to improve access to sanitary dignity for young women so they can stay in school and get the education they deserve in the Western Cape. However, I would like to use this opportunity to applaud our Provincial treasury
The Western Cape Government is 1 of 3 Provinces that has allocated funding for the Sanitary Dignity Project
the 2019/2020 financial year.
I would also like to have you know, that our average spend per child in an early childhood development centres is more than any other Province in this country.
Another important point to highlight is that as a government, we are also providing higher subsidies than all but one other province for children to be placed in child and youth care centres.
Regarding the operation of Child and Youth Care Centres, we should ask our ANC colleagues across the floor whether or not their counterparts in the other Provinces have managed to deal with the BOSASA contracts that came to an end on the 31st of October.
Speaker, One issue I need to bring to this house’s attention, is surrounding the Children’s Amendment Bill, in particular, the fact that the National Department of Social Development has not provided effective solutions to address the Foster Care Backlog after almost 10 years since it was brought to our attention.
Our Department has been able to manage the foster care placements, but the children’s courts are struggling to process orders due to capacity constraint. Especially in the Winelands area. Our social workers do not have a backlog, but over 4888 cases which we submitted to the courts across the province are still waiting to be processed, of which 3 538 are in the Winelands area.
We agree with the Centre for Child Law that it would help if Parliament amended the legislation so that extended family members caring for orphaned children can access additional grant funding instead of having these children placed into the foster care system.
I hope that over the MTEF there is clarity around the migration of ECDs, from DSD to the Department of Basic Education.
It is unquestionable that the hard work of ensuring improved access to quality holistic ECD services is much more complicated than a simple shift of location. As the DA-led Western Cape government, we cannot agree or disagree with the possibility of this migration because there is still great confusion and uncertainty at a national level.
Honourable Speaker, Yesterday, a guest in our adjustment budget committee highlighted the need for us to expand our services to those individuals dealing with substance abuse in our poorest communities. Over the MTEF we strive our best to expand our services in this regard.
At the end of the day, we must not be under any illusions that one of the main contributors to the scourge of violence and Gender-based-violence being experienced across our Province… is by substance abuse…
Despite our best efforts, there remains room for improvement. In saying this though, the DA-led Western Cape government continues to be at the forefront of the fight against substance abuse, focusing on rendering -early intervention, inpatient treatment, community-based treatment, and aftercare services.
Speaker, we will continue to work more effectively and efficiently in light of these immensely difficult economic times we face…. We have to do this, not merely for ourselves but so that we can instill renewed hope for our children and the generations that will come after them.
In closing, I would like to end of by quoting the words of Tara Davids from Corruption watch who tweeted the following:
Joshua Covenant Chigome
Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez
Tel: 021 483 9217
Cell: 083 661 4949
Private Bag X9112, Cape Town, 8000
14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8001