Mr Programme Director
Honourable Mayor Jonas and Councillors
The District Manager, Mr Mongezi Pike and Staff members
Representatives of the Stakeholder fraternity
Ladies & Gentleman
I want to express my gratitude for being part of a team whose mandate it is to contribute to the fulfillment of the ideals enshrine in our Constitution.
It is important that we embarked on a road that has - as commitment - our dedicated service to the people of our country - especially the poorest of the poor. Our commitment should be People First, This Time! Whilst the global economic recession has affected us immensely, we should pull our strings together to ensure that all South Africans have a share in the unfolding South African promise : the promise of A Better Life for All and Opportunities for All.
Ladies & Gentlemen, We in the Western Cape, is deeply concerned about the current state of abuse against children in our Province. It has reached crisis proportions and we are currently mapping out a strategic government response to the abuse of children. The nature, magnitude and the depth of this problem, requires an inter-sectoral and inter-governmental approach with clear targets to create a safe environment for all children in South Africa.
The Western Cape government has already accorded the establishment of an office for a Commissioner of Children - as its top priority. The Commissioner for Children is a Chapter 9 institution and we have resolved to go this route because we regard the protection of children as a pivotal constitutional priority.
The Department of Social Development in the Western Cape's key deliverables for 2009/10 move from the premise that to realize a self reliant society, opportunities need to be created for all the citizens of the Western Cape that are poor, vulnerable and have special needs.
For the year 2009/10 the Department received a total budget of R1 162,502 million, which represents 4, 01% of the total Provincial Budget. This will be efficiently and cost effectively spent to create socio-economic opportunities for all.
Since accepting office, the Western Cape Government, has outlined four broad strategic goals that will shape the programmes, projects and activities of the Department.
3.1. Modernisation of service delivery
This goal will address service delivery challenges at the service points, at district offices and facilities under the management of the Department. They will all be subjected to efficiency and effectiveness audits. This goal is closely linked to the theme of People First. The Department of Social Services signed a service level agreement with SASSA (the South African Social Security Agency) to ensure effective and efficient service delivery.
You can only modernize service delivery if you appoint the right person into the right job. Every manager will undergo a competency assessment to get the right mix of competencies to serve the people. Customer satisfaction surveys will also be conducted in this financial year to ensure that the Department is responsive to the needs of the people.
The department will also conduct it's work on three levels:
- Strategic management level
- Programme management and
- Project management level.
Finally, the modernization programme will also allow the Department to measure its performance through a provincial wide dashboard system. Officials are already preparing to migrate from the current MIS (Management information system) to the dashboard system.
3.2 Improving financial governance
The second goal of this Department is to improve financial governance. Part of this governance is to make sure that every one of the 1800 organisations that receive financial assistance from the Department, are complying with the highest standards of corporate governance. We have already published live on the internet a list of all organisations receiving funding - as well as their performance - against the performance indicators. This has been done to ensure accountability and transparency. During this financial year, the department will also conduct an impact assessment of these organisations to ensure that we receive value for money.
3.3 Social Entrepreneurship
The vision of the Department is "to create a self-reliant society." To achieve this vision, one needs to create opportunities for all people. We need to create opportunities so that people benefit as a result of it. Market fundamentalism has proved not to be the tool to create opportunities. State fundamentalism has also proved not to be able to deliver a self-reliant society. Market fundamentalism fails because it lacks the compassion. State fundamentalism fails because it creates a hand-out and dependency culture, which is not sustainable in the long run.
In order to navigate the Government out of this predicament, we are committed to social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship is an approach that unlocks opportunities in society through innovation and creativity. Solving complex social problems with bureaucracy and red-tape is counter-productive. Complex social problems require innovative and creative methodologies.
If we are serious to create a self-reliant society, we need to break the cycle of dependency and start exploring social entrepreneurship. There are case studies of organisations that became self-reliant by employing social entrepreneurship and we should learn from these experience.
3.4 Creating a caring society
The Department has adopted a programmatic approach to implement social development. To bring compassion into the business of social development we must care for and about people. During a recession, people will be at risk of loosing jobs and income to sustain their families. It is in this context that we must show extra compassion for the situation of individuals and families.
In conclusion, Ladies & Gentlemen, it is the vision of the Western Cape government to have established at the end of it's term the following:
- More places of safety
- More out-patient clinics
- More diversion programmes for children at risk.
If we all take hands together, if we take responsibility and work together, things will change for the better. With the help of the Almighty God, our hope in the future will prevail.
I thank you.