Social Development Appropriation Bill – Vote 7
Our Department – along with many others – have been battling against the fierce “headwinds” which the Honourable Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities referred to during her budget for action.
The increase of 4.05% in the proposed budget, inching it up from R2.3 billion to R2.4 billion, barely offers us any protection against these headwinds. It is like donning only a scarf to guard against the daunting Cape Doctor.
This nominal increase fails to keep up with inflation and the increased demand for services associated with - various socio-economic challenges.
It is indicative of a National Treasury that is woefully unaware of what the needs are on the ground.
The International Monetary Fund predicts South Africa’s economy will most likely only grow by 0.1% this year largely due to rolling blackouts. It’s a significant drop from the IMF’s January estimate of 1.2% growth.
The economic downswing, exacerbated by the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, load-shedding, and global financial instability, will continue to have a negative impact on the Department.
This, together with our nominal budget increase means that:
- the Department will not be able to provide any material increase in funding to its NGO partners in the new year.
- Staff have also received below inflation increases which has triggered union action impacting service delivery. We saw the effects of this unrest earlier this month. No provision for salary increases are included in the budget, other than provision for pay progression, medical and housing subsidy increases.
- The Department will have to continue cost containment measures.
It is not all doom and gloom, however. As the Western Cape Government has proven time and time again, with ingenuity and innovative leadership, limited resources can be stretched for the benefit of all citizens.
With the funding allocations received by this Department, we are more determined than ever to best serve the most vulnerable residents in the province, from the elderly to the youngest members in society.
SOCIAL WORKERS & SAFETY
Considering that it is Social Work Month, it is fitting that I announce that the Department has received R207.2 million for Compensation of Employees over the 2023 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period. Of this, R61.4 million is being allocated in 2023/2024, over R69 million in 2024/2025, and over R76 million for the financial year thereafter.
This funding will ensure the filling of priority posts within the Department, including the appointment of social service professionals, which includes, social workers, social auxiliary workers at coal face and child and youth care workers at secure care centres.
As Minister Wenger mentioned during her budget for action, 247 additional social service professionals are being appointed. These appointments will hopefully stabilize an over-burdened welfare and child protection system, especially in crime hotspots as identified in the provincial safety plan.
R30 million in once-off funding was received in 2023/2024 for Child Protection Services. This allocation included the training of safety parents of disabled children, the continuation of training for Child and Youth Care workers, and subsidies for bed spaces in Child and Youth Care Centres. R750 000 was allocated for training interventions, R11.2 million to Child Care and Protection, R11.2 million to Child and Youth Care Centres, R2 million to Crime Prevention and R1.75 million to Victim Empowerment.
Staying on track with our government’s 365 days approach in addressing gender-based violence, we remain committed to ensuring victims of violence get the support and assistance they need, while strengthening the family unit in a bid to prevent and address abuse in homes and communities.
R45 million was received over the 2023 MTEF period of which R15 million is allocated in 2023/24, R15 million for the next financial year, and another R15 million the year thereafter for evidence-informed parenting programmes.
GBV services received an additional R30.6 million over the 2023 MTEF period, broken down into R9.8 million in 2023/24, R10 million in 2024/25 and R10.6 million in 2025/26. These funds will be in support of the Victim Empowerment Programme.
Over the next three years the Department will expand shelter services in the Victim Empowerment space, and expand Khuseleka centres in the Overberg and Eden Karoo. Funding to current service providers will also be enhanced to ensure sustainability at these facilities.
Rolling blackouts can have a detrimental psychological impact on those relying on shelters to escape abusive situations, or to get back on their feet. It also hampers the safety of those living and working in in our shelters and especially in our secure care centres.
An amount of R8 million was received over the 2023 MTEF period for the procurement of diesel for generators. R2 million was allocated to secure care centres and R600 000 was allocated to the regions each year over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period to ensure continuous service delivery during load-shedding.
NEW FACILITIES & UPGRADES
R15 million was received over the 2023 MTEF period for a special centre in Lentegeur, Mitchell’s Plain for adolescent and young adults with mental health diagnoses. The allocation will increase and is allocated to Services to Persons with Disabilities.
An additional R25 million in 2024/25 and R12 million in 2025/26 was received for upgrades in terms of health and safety regulations, the building of laundry facilities at Sivuyile Residential Facility, and the building of a new mental health and maternity centre, and substance use disorder dormitories at Siyakatala.
Earlier I mentioned we are still in Social Work Month. DSD staff working in communities deserve to feel proud of where they work, especially where clients may visit offices and may require some sort of comfortability while being assisted.
R20 million in once-off funding was received in 2023/24 to improve the look and feel of DSD offices and facilities in targeted hotspot areas through initiatives such as painting, repairing broken windows, and paving, as part of the Executives’ Face of Government priority allocation. R1 million was allocated to Corporate Services, R16 million to regions and R2.8 million to secure care centres.
I continue seeing the ravaging effects of a stilted economy and the COVID-19 pandemic. When one ponders on SASSA’s continued failure at ensuring a smooth disbursement of grants to beneficiaries, it’s no surprise that the national entity is dropping the ball on providing relief to the hungry and destitute…one of its core mandates!
Poverty-stricken citizens thus look to us as the provincial government to fill the gap left by an incompetent National Government. This is not an easy feat when dealing with a miniscule budget increase that’s limping behind inflation.
The Department received an additional R85.1 million over the 2023 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period for Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Livelihoods. R28 million is allocated over 2023/24, R28.3 million in the following year, and R28.7 million in 2025/26 to fund Food Distribution Centres and Community Nutrition Development Centres.
The overall allocation of R53.8 million for the Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Livelihoods programme for 2023/2024 will ensure that the Department is able to provide cooked meals to over 89 000 vulnerable beneficiaries at its Community Nutrition and Development Centres (CNDCs), food distribution points and community kitchens per quarter.
Notwithstanding the constrained fiscal environment, the Department is able to extend its food relief footprint to three areas in need, Murraysburg, where we will provide support to 5 community-based kitchens, as well as in Vleiland in Laingsburg, and in Kensington.
Providing skills and development opportunities is an important pillar of self-reliance. The Department has thus made additional allocations to support the various skills and development programmes at six CNDCs in Houtbay, Laingsburg, Kannaland, Uniondale, Murraysburg, and Matzikama. The department will provide continuous technical support to ensure these projects assist our clients to live lives of hope, dignity and worth.
From time to time, families in the Western Cape may experience undue hardship and to mitigate this, the Department is looking to secure food parcels to assists these families in crisis through our various local offices.
This is not going to be an easy year. The challenges we have overcome as a province since 2020 have been replaced by seemingly greater obstacles. And we are not unique in facing economic hardships, it’s happening on a global scale.
Increased pressure on our services, growing workload for our staff, limited resources to meet the needs of our communities while poverty and unemployment rates increase seem insurmountable. This is especially daunting when facing the realization that national government keeps dropping the ball. One just needs to look at the latest loadshedding notification or stand outside a SASSA office and speak to one of the hundreds of grant beneficiaries who either haven’t received their funds or has had to return because they couldn’t be helped last time they were there.
I thus call on all the Department’s staff, NGO partners, and other key stakeholders to work with us. 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.
Thank you to this august house for the opportunity to table the Appropriation Bill for Vote 7 today.
I thank you.