Social Development Appropriation Bill – Vote 7 | Western Cape Government


Social Development Appropriation Bill – Vote 7

26 March 2024

Honorable Speaker

Honorable Premier and Cabinet colleagues,

Honorable Members of the Provincial Legislature in the house and on the virtual platform,

Members of the media and public

Citizens of the Western Cape,

Good afternoon, goeie middag, molweni nonke, asalamalykum. I rise to table the Appropriation Bill for the Department of Social Development.

It has certainly been no easy feat to get to this point of the budget process, in a time of fiscal uncertainty and a higher demand for services than ever before.

But the Department’s leaders have braved the storm, taking the little we have to work with to ensure we continue helping the most vulnerable in our society and fulfill statutory obligations. For that I say thank you to the management team, for your unwavering commitment to the people of this province.

The Department has received a budget allocation of R2.539 billion for the 2024/25 financial year. Thereafter it is expected to increase to R2.635 billion in 2025/26 and R2.719 billion in 2026/27.

The current economic climate is grim as the global economic outlook persists on a negative trajectory. Locally, low revenue generation, massive debt servicing costs by the national government, domestic risks like the energy crisis, and increased service delivery demands have greatly affected the provincial budget.

It is also no secret, that the absorption of the cost of the nationally negotiated public sector wage agreement dealt the Department – and many others within the Western Cape Government – a huge blow. Within our already constrained allocation, this 4.7% wage increase to public servants has to be accommodated within the Department’s baseline budget.

This has necessitated extremely difficult conversations with DSD’s NPO and NGO partners, warning them of what the constrained fiscal environment will mean for them.

National government’s failure to get Eskom back on track has also not done us any favours, with load shedding hampering economic growth across sectors. This has placed further burden on NGOs and NPOs, leading to a greater reliance on the Department for funding.

Additional funding

While these are certainly difficult and unprecedented times, I would be remiss not to highlight the support from Provincial Treasury with its additional allocation of R25 million in 2024/25 and R25 million in 2025/26 to alleviate service pressures emanating from baseline reductions.

National Treasury has also allocated an additional R50 million per year over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period to alleviate the Compensation of Employees pressures.

This funding will sustain the baseline funding for organisations within the Child Protection Services space, ensuring the Department upholds its statutory obligations.

The additional funding will enable the Department to provide R6.5 million in 2024/25 for the expansion of a homeless shelter in Cape Town in partnership with the City of Cape Town.

The Sanitary Dignity Project will be able to continue, with an allocation of R11.9 million in 2024/25, R12.4 million in 2025/26, and R12.9 million in 2026/27.

Poverty Relief

Honourable Speaker,

In her tabling of the Budget a few weeks ago, Minister Wenger said over 75% of the provincial budget over the MTEF is being spent to champion the needs of the poor and most vulnerable residents in the province. This rings especially true for our Department.

The continuation of the Sanitary Dignity Project will see 385 schools being reached, supporting approximately 150 000 indigent girls across the province. This is an additional 20 schools and 20 000 girls being supported compared to the previous financial year. The support to schools in rural areas like farms will be greater, where rural coverage is at 65% and Metros at 35%.

I mentioned the Department has had to make difficult decisions with the limited funds available, while keeping those most in need top of mind.

A R10 million reduction in budget for the Sustainable Livelihoods programme, forces the Department to focus on its community nutritional support to the Community Nutrition and Development Centres (CNDCs). The House must note poverty relief is not a core mandate of this Department, but rather that of the South African Social Security Agency. Despite this not being our responsibility, we recognize that where national government fails, provincial government needs to step in – despite limited financial resources.

A large number of kitchens will be closed and the programme will only retain those in strategic areas, such as the rural areas based on situational analysis and need assessments, like Beaufort West and Kannaland where poverty is rife.

The R2.5 million reduction for the Youth Development programme for 2024/2025 means fewer participants and interns at the Youth Cafés are going to be funded, meaning fewer will be able to access these services. From the current 10 000 youth participants and 105 interns, these numbers will drop to 8000 youth and 55 interns respectively. Thankfully, all the Youth Cafes in the province will continue to be funded, but without an inflation-adjusted allocation.

Honourable Speaker,

Earlier this year, the Western Cape Government showed once again it cares for those living in poverty. When certain parts of the Karoo were hit by a prolonged power outage, this Department - within a matter of a few days - was able to procure 5000 food parcels worth R3 million through an emergency procurement process.

It is important to note that disaster relief is not this Department’s core mandate but is the responsibility of the nationally-led SASSA. We stepped in because we saw the urgent need for help for thousands of vulnerable citizens.

These food parcels – along with several dozen more that were in DSD’s storage facility – were delivered and distributed to indigent households in different parts of the Central Karoo, including Laingsburg, Ladismith, Leeu Gamka, Swartberg, Merweville, Matjiesfontein and Prince Albert.

These food parcels benefited over 17 000 people.

This emergency food relief programme was thanks to the hard work of DSD staff who worked day and night to conduct needs assessments and conduct the distributions, with the assistance of many stakeholders, like municipalities and the Department of Local Government; the South African Police Service; Volunteers; NGOs and corporates.

This mission highlighted the importance of collaboration in ensuring the most vulnerable citizens are cared for. As government, we can only do so much on our own, especially now in an age of budget cuts and fiscal constraints, but when we work with dedicated partners towards a common goal, we can achieve great things.


Honourable Speaker,

I mentioned earlier the uncomfortable conversations that have needed to take place with the Department’s partners in the NPO and NGO sectors. We know it has been an uphill battle for these organisations to stay afloat since the COVID- 19 pandemic hit.

The dismal economic climate persists.

Funding had to be reduced for the Older Persons programme, impacting 160 service centres, with at least one organization stating it will have to close its assisted living home due to this reduction. The Department will, however, continue focusing on protecting the elderly from abuse and harm. The monitoring and registration of residential facilities for Older Persons will continue to be prioritized to ensure that vulnerable and frail Older Persons receive care and services according to the prescribed standards.

Fortunately, the fiscal constraints have not had a major impact on the Children and Families programme. We’ve been able to continue funding organisations and social worker posts in this programme.

NPOs in the Restorative Services programme received fewer cuts than initially expected. Court-ordered statutory services were protected, while Child and Youth Care Centres and Substance Abuse treatment centres that deal with court-ordered services received increases.

Diversion programmes within the Crime Prevention programme were also prioritized, with limited funding cuts taking place.


Honourable Speaker,

I am concerned by the impact of funding cuts to NGOs and NPOs on service delivery. It will most certainly have a knock-on effect on the already-overburdened DSD social service professionals like social workers and social 5

auxiliary workers. That is why I am encouraged by the innovation the Department – in collaboration with the Department of the Premier – is showing in its implementation of an electronic system that will improve accountability and provide data to track the impact of interventions in the Child Protection space. We are hopeful these systems will reduce the heavy administrative burden on staff and improve reporting tools.

As lead Minister for Gender-Based Violence in the province, it remains a priority for me to see interventions in this space strengthened. The GBV Ambassador programme – where we have trained volunteers who are community members helping to raise awareness about GBV support services and information – has showed great success in Delft.

Since its launch, the GBV ambassadors have worked with DSD staff in Delft with awareness campaigns and assisting victims of violence and abuse to get help. From April last year to December, the ambassadors have assisted in getting 152 GBV services rendered in Delft. This is a perfect example of how collaborative work between government and communities can increase and improve service delivery where it is needed most.

The Department is also working on getting GBV Ambassadors programmes off the ground in other areas in the province, like Witzenberg, Theewaterskloof, Philippi, and Kraaifontein.

Honourable Speaker,

While I am saddened to end my term with a budget speech that is peppered with bad news, I am equally encouraged knowing the Department is in the capable hands of leaders like Dr Robert Macdonald, Charles Jordan, Annemie van Reenen, Ramula Patel, Mzwandile Hewu, Leana Goosen, Juan Smith, and Gavin Miller. They, and the rest of the management team, have sailed this ship through tumultuous waters, and it is certainly set to become even stormier with further budget cuts possibly on the horizon.

Then there are the DSD staff members who work tirelessly to serve the vulnerable residents of this province. I especially wish to highlight the work of the incredible social service professionals, as we are ending Social Work Month. You are the foot soldiers who traverse communities across the Western Cape, often at great personal expense, to ensure the dignity and well-being of those most in need are ensured. You are greatly valued and appreciated.

Thank you to the Ministry team, for continuously being the wind beneath my wings, led by the inimitable head of Ministry, Ms Ananda Nel.

To our partner NGOs and NPOs, I appreciate the difficult position you are in. I assure you, we will continue advocating for you where it matters, as you are invaluable to ensuring the social fabric of our communities remain intact. Now, more than ever, we need the private sector to work with us and you to try to meet the ever-increasing demand for social service.

A whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach is more important now than ever before to address social ills and create a Western Cape we can be proud of. We need willing residents – like the GBV Ambassadors in Delft; NGOs and NPOs; the private sector; municipalities and other government departments.

We will continue to work for the people of this province, unlike the National Government that works only for itself, showing no integrity, accountability, nor true leadership.

Thank you to this august house for the opportunity to table the Appropriation Bill for Vote 7 today.

I thank you.

Media Enquiries: 

Monique Mortlock-Malgas

Spokesperson to MEC Sharna Fernandez

Department of Social Development