Premier, Cabinet Colleagues and Members of this House,
Leaders in Local Government,
Community and Religious leaders,
Representatives from our service delivery partners and other NGOs
Colleagues and friends,
Citizens of the Western Cape
Speaker, in delivering my budget speech I am reminded of the many people in this wonderful Province of ours that start each day determined to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Much of what is done and achieved by these dedicated and patriotic citizens never make the headlines and are seldom acknowledged but I want to start off today by acknowledging and paying tribute to all of those in our province, of all backgrounds, classes, denominations, faiths and cultures that strive to make the world we live in a better place for today’s generation and those that will follow. It is the expressed goal of my Ministry, Department and indeed, the entire DA Provincial Government, to find creative and sustainable ways of linking hands with all of these citizens so that we can together make a difference and be better at what we do, for all the people of the province – and therefore, Better Together.
In outlining my priorities for the coming financial year I want to start off with the basics by restating the importance of the ‘Development’ in Social Development.
This means that while a critical part of what we do is to provide various kinds of services and programmes aimed at assisting the vulnerable, poor and destitute in our society, this takes place in a context of development- where the development outcome should always be to ensure that the services and funding we provide will lead towards such recipients taking charge of their developmental processes and where the overwhelming reliance on hand-outs from government is lessened over time. After all, such a process of development is central to addressing our strategic objectives of reducing poverty and increasing social inclusion.
Mr Speaker, the challenge of social development in this Province is great. While the Provincial Government under the able leadership of the Premier continues to make great strides in meeting and addressing these challenges head on, the journey ahead is still long and complex. The Social Development Department is fully aware of its critical role in contributing towards the whole of society meeting these challenges.
We move out of a previous financial year in which a number of events have starkly illustrated the disturbingly high levels of social dislocation, distance trauma in many of our communities, urban and rural. The scourge of poverty, unemployment, gangsterism abuses of various kinds, but particularly gender –based violence continue to press down and prevent many of our people, particularly the youth, from reaching their potential. I believe that as a department, Social Development is uniquely and strategically placed to pull together a strategy that can begin to address these issues in a sustainable and developmental manner. I am therefore announcing three elements in this regard.
The first is to work closely together with the Departments of Community Safety, Health, Economic Development, Cultural Affairs and Sport, as well as Education, to develop a comprehensive strategy that addresses the unravelling of the social fabric of many communities.
This is not something that can be tackled effectively by a single department and requires the active support of all levels of government, indeed, of the whole of society and Social Development will take the lead in the development and implementation of such a strategy.
Secondly, in relation to the proliferation of gender based violence specifically there are two initiatives I can announce. One, we will appoint, train and operationalise 25 social work graduates that will work as specialised community based trauma councillors. We will use these councillors in a number of different locations, including Khayelitsha, Atlantis, Mitchells Plain, Nyanga and Vredendal. They will operate out of local Social Development offices and will play a critical role in ensuring that we build local community capacity to deal with and address trauma at a local level.
The second announcement in this regard is the identification of suitable government owned properties that could be utilised as safe houses, particularly for women and children that are victims of abuse. These safe houses will be run by the department.
Speaker, as per our mandate, the Social Development Budget is first and foremost tabled in the context of increased service delivery to the poor and vulnerable in our society. Contrary to accusations that Social Development and the Western Cape Government is cutting back on services to the poor and vulnerable, it is a fact that across all departments, 76% of this province’s total budget is being spent on the poor.
Mr Speaker, as a department we remain steadfastly focussed on meeting the challenges of delivering on Strategic Objective 8, which aims to promote social inclusion and reduce poverty in the Western Cape. As the lead department for implementing key priorities under PSO 8, we place great emphasis on the following programmatic areas:
early childhood development for linguistic, cognitive and personal development of young children,
youth and family development the reduction of drug and alcohol related harms support for vulnerable groups.
Speaker, in delivering on our mandate in terms of our core programmes, we have been very diligent in realigning our targets and budgets to deliver on these priorities, with due care to the delivery of quality services that are appropriately targeted, rely on evidence-based best practices and that are cost effective.
In my previous budget speech I made a commitment to cutting down exponentially on procurement of unnecessary goods and services, advertising, catering, salaries and travel and subsistence and the like. I have great pride in saying that we have kept to that commitment and significant savings in this regard have been passed on to our programmes so that we all the time ensure that our scarce financial resources are spent on service delivery, via our partner NGOs.
2. The Budget
Mr Speaker, please allow me now, to give you a short overview of my department’s budget for the 2013/14 financial year, with a focus on the most significant funding allocations.
The department’s total budget allocation for 2013/14 amounts to R1.578 billion, a substantial increase of R168 million from the previous financial year.
Programme 2: In keeping with this government’s approach to spend the bulk of our budget on the poor, Social Welfare Services once again takes the lion’s share of the budget. In fact, of the R168 million total increase in the budget, R166 000 000 (99%) goes to Social Welfare Services, meaning that it has received the biggest proportional increase in the budget, reflecting our shift away from unnecessary internal departmental costs in favour of service delivery to the poor and vulnerable.
In the past four years this administration has increased its allocation to welfare services from 78% of the total Social Development budget in 2009 to over 85% for 2013/14 (which is also up from nearly 84% in the 2012/13 budget).
By far the bulk of this amount is transfer funding earmarked for NGOs providing Welfare Services to the public on behalf of the Department. We have hugely increased this allocation to NGOs (from R767 million last year to R890 million this year) - contrary to the hollow claims of ‘funding cuts’ made by some in the opposition. I have no doubt that we will hear these claims again today, but I urge that the public look past the rhetoric and focus on the facts.
Indeed, probably for the first time in this department, the 2013/14 budget we table today will ensure that all currently funded NGOs which continue to be funded in the new financial year will receive at the very minimum, an inflation-related increase of 6% on their allocations.
Previously, under the ANC government, year after year NGOs were paid the same amount of money to render the same level and quantity of services to the public. This trend has nearly bled the NGO sector dry, as inflation effectively decreased NGO income, while the same outputs were expected. As we will see, some sectors will receive increases well above inflation to ensure their sustainability. At the same time, however, we will be implementing systems to ensure increased accountability from the NGO sector.
Speaker, some programmes will also be receiving increased funding to enable the expansion of existing projects, or to introduce entirely new projects in line with the imperatives of PSO 8. The following sub-programmes in welfare services have been prioritised in this budget.
Firstly, child care and protection services, which includes our ECD programmes, sees an increase of R76 million or nearly 19%, to R482 million this year, from R406 million last year. Nearly 100 000 children will benefit from this allocation. The increase in funding has also come with a drive to improve the quality of ECD services. While statutory requirements such as full registration with the Department of Social Development is still a priority, our focus also expands to the quality of the teaching. Last year we trained more than 400 ECD practitioners across the province, to work according to a hands-on curriculum which they helped to put together.
I am furthermore delighted to say that we have increased the subsidy for children in ECD to R15 per child per day, up from R12. This may seem like a small amount, but makes a huge difference in the resources at ECD centres across the province.
Secondly, our services to vulnerable persons receive significant increases. Programmes for persons with disabilities will be funded to the tune of R86 million, up from R70 million in last year’s main budget. Over the past two years, the allocation to this programme has in fact doubled. Care and service to older persons increases to R166 million from the R154 million budgeted for 2012-13. Both of these areas of service are critically importance to my department. We as government have a responsibility to do for people what they cannot reasonably be expected to do for themselves, and as a caring government, disabled citizens, and frail and impoverished older persons, should be prioritised for services and protection.
We will continue to expand our service centres for persons with disabilities, especially focusing on the rural areas this year.
Service centres for older persons are becoming very popular amongst our seniors and we shall continue to expand our current service centres, in addition to the nearly 220 centres that are currently operational across the Western Cape.
At these service centres, the older persons take part in programmes and activities that promote active ageing and overall well-being. Physical exercise is now part of their routine. We provide the facilities, the social welfare services and the healthy nutrition. They attend the programmes, and in this way, we can make their lives better together.
Speaker, every day we are reminded of the alarming stats of violence against women and children. We know that a woman is raped in South Africa every four minutes. We value the work done by our NGO partners in this field, so much so that our budget for this programme has nearly doubled, from R9 million at the beginning of the 2012/2013 financial year, to nearly R18 million for 2013/2014 and nearly tripled from the 2008/9 budget this government inherited when taking office in the Western Cape.
Also worth noting is that substance abuse, prevention and rehabilitation increases from R77 million last year, to R81 million in the new financial year. This will enable us to provide treatment for over 13 515 individuals in need of facilities and community based outpatient treatment across the Province. This amount also includes increased provision for public information and early intervention services to help prevent the onset of drug and alcohol related harms. In addition, we are increasing our provision for youth treatment and early interventions, and for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome prevention programmes, especially in rural areas.
We have already seen positive results with our pilot outpatient projects for school children in Eerste River, Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha, and we intend to extend these services in 2013/2014 to Lavender Hill and Hout Bay. In addition, we are engaging with the Department of Health and the Sultan Bahu treatment centre in Mitchells Plain with a view to establishing South Africa’s first outpatient opiate replacement programme. This initiative is aimed at addressing the harms associated with shifting trends toward heroin abuse in the province. Up until now, opiate detox and replacement therapy has been exclusively offered by in-patient facilities. But as research by the UNODC and others has shown, these programmes can be very effective, and offer a wider reach, if rendered on an outpatient basis.
The sub-programme Care and support services to families receives a total allocation of R40 million. This includes the HIV programme, as well as other chronic illness psychosocial support services.
Speaker, our budget for Programme 3: Development and Research also sees significant shifts to align our funding with the strategic priorities of PSO 8.
Most notably, our youth development budget continues to grow, from R24 million last year, to R31 million for 2013/2014. This figure includes a total of R 24 million budgeted for the supply of nutrition support for the MOD Centre programme.
The youth development budget has thus grown exponentially, from a base of only R2 million two years ago. It is no secret that I am passionate and committed to extending as many opportunities as possible to the youth of this province. The 2011 census tell us that there are almost 3,6 m young people between 0 and 34 in this province. If we break that figure down further, about 1,1 m are young people between 14-25 years. This age cohort is the target of our newly completed Youth Development Strategy. For the first time the Department has a comprehensive and detailed youth development strategy that will guide all our programmes that target young people.
Mr Speaker, the youth strategy puts on a footing to ensure that the programmes we fund via NGOs and those that we deliver through own services have a clear understanding of what the developmental outcomes are that they must meet.
The most important outcome that the strategy puts in place is that it says that:
‘By age 25 all young people of the Province should be economically self–sufficient and independent, healthy, with positive family, personal and social relationships, and should be active in their community’. In pursuing these outcomes for young people the strategy identifies a wide range of services, programmes, and supports for young people that will ensure that have access to the kinds of opportunities they need for their own development.
But, we also recognise that the implementation of this ambitious strategy will require the cooperation of all of my departmental programmes and sub-programmes, transversal linkages with other government departments and most critically, implementation partnerships between ourselves, NGOs, communities, families and most importantly, the young people themselves.
Mr Speaker, I want to announce two further priority areas around youth development in this regard. The first is that we will be focussing a lot on those young people that are colloquially referred to as NEETS- those young people not in employment, education, or training. At the risk of sounding trite Mr Speaker, we want to ensure that we have more EETS than NEETS! Our NEETS strategy will be a transversal one and will involve ensuring that we create the broadest spectrum of opportunities, services and supports for these young people, via the EPWP, Community Works Programme, PAY Programme and other similar initiatives.
The second important youth priority programme I want to briefly focus on is that of the Chrysalis Youth Academy. The Chrysalis Programme has grown so much that I can say without fear of contradiction that it is the best youth development programme of its kind in the country, if not the world! An example of how highly the Chrysalis Programme is regarded is that in 2012 the KZN Provincial Government sent 11 young people to be trained at the Academy in preparation for the establishment of a similar programme in KZN.
As I speak a high level delegation from the Gauteng Provincial government Legislature has just completed a visit to the Academy with a view to establishing a similar academy in Gauteng. Preparations for establishment of an academy based on Chrysalis principles and ethos is well under way in the EDEN District. All of these developments are a glowing testimony to the excellent work done by Ms Lucille Meyer and her dedicated staff at the Academy and the Premier had an opportunity to see this at first hand recently.
Mr Speaker, We believe that the importance of the work done by the academy cannot just be measured in the short–term. We say this because even though we see the vastly changed young men and women that emerge from their 3 monthly courses, we also believe that these young people will go on to play a critically important leadership role in their communities and society at large in the future.
This year we again aim to support the expansion of the main Chrysalis Academy in Tokai as they explore plans to increase the number of young people they take in during a calendar year. Issues around resource and infrastructural constraints means that the expansion of the Academy could also include its rolling out on a non-residential basis.
As part of the move towards maximising youth opportunity creation we will be establishing what we call Youth Cafes. I must emphasise that this is not a reference to the fast food enterprises that young people love so much – but rather as the local fulcrum for the provision of services, support and opportunities for young people. Youth cafes will be a safe and youth-centred place where young people across the board can meet, gather, socialise, learn, explore, identify opportunities and network. It will be a place that young people will want to be seen at because it will speak to and address their needs.
The youth cafes will therefore be much more than simply a job and CV processing centre but will offer allow young people to access a full range of services, support and opportunities. I have great pleasure in announcing that we will be establishing youth cafes in the following areas: Bredasdorp, Vredenburg/Saldanha, Worcester, Athlone, Khayelitsha, Atlantis and Gugulethu.
Our focus on Child and Youth Care Centres for youth at risk as regulated in the Child Justice and Children’s Acts have been a focus in the past financial year and will continue to be a focus in the coming years. Lindelani Child and Youth Care Centre for boys has been re-purposed following specific needs that arose over the past few years for certain programmes and services to our Youth at Risk. This is the first of three such centres that are planned to be rolled out over the next three years in the Western Cape.
The reasons are to:
Our bed space for Sentenced Youth will be increased from 80 youth only in the Metro to 136 youth that will include 56 bed spaces in the Eden/Karoo Region (George). Programme delivery that focuses on Offence Specific Programme also receives special attention.
Infra-structure, IT and goods and services enhancements have already commenced and will continue and the recruitment of professional staff for these Centres will be finalised by July 2013.
Last year the increase in the youth development budget came against a significant decrease to the budget for the Sustainable Livelihoodsprogramme, mainly due to the detection of massive corruption and misuse of funds in that programme, by officials and by certain NGOs. Investigations in this regard are ongoing, funding to the culprits has been cut, and disciplinary action is ensuing.
In the meantime the remaining budget for this programme has increased slightly to R4 million to continue the emergency provision of food for communities identified with high incidences of malnutrition by the Department of Health. We have heard the opposition claiming we are unduly cutting back. Let me be very clear.
This Province will never deny the provision of emergency nutrition to those genuinely in need. But where we can, we endeavour to include food as part of a package of services that will promote the more sustainable social inclusion of the beneficiaries. We provide food as part of our MOD centre programmes, our protective workshops for the disabled, our ECDs, or, in the case of the Education Department, schooling.
In total, this Provincial Government feeds over 550 000 citizens of this province most days of the year.
Speaker, I am also pleased to announce that under Programme 1, the budget for Administration continues on a downward spiral, down from R179 million last year, to R175 million for 2013/2014. This means that we are able to redirect more funding to service delivery areas and priorities.
Compensation of employees sees a slight increase from R478 million from last year to R521 million in 2013/2014. We have allocated funds for the filling of much needed vacancies in our service delivery departments, for the increasing of the capacity of the office of the CFO and for the implementation of the departmental facilities strategy.
I am also delighted to be able to further capacitate our NGO partners, by appointing graduate social workers to work at NGOs gaining invaluable experience, while at the same time availing their skills and knowledge to organisations desperately seeking more hands on deck in order to render vital services in vulnerable communities. My pledge to the NGOs was that we would cover the salary costs of the graduate social workers, while they reaped the benefits of additional human resources.
This brings me to another key shift in our focus and approach to NGO funding. I am pleased to say that with our increased allocations to NGOs for welfare and other services, we have also brought increased accountability mechanisms to ensure that the public gets value for money, and that the beneficiaries of our services receive quality services.
In this regard we have concluded a new funding policy that significantly improve and simplify the process via which proposals for funding are assessed and processed in the Department. The policy will ensure that transfer payments are managed in a manner that promotes accountability, efficient administration, clear performance requirements, and the principles of administrative justice.
It is premised on ensuring that the department, within its available budgetary resources (as provided for annually by a Vote of the Provincial Parliament), funds the provision of statutory social welfare services to achieve the progressive social services rights pertaining to children, older persons, and other vulnerable members of society as envisaged in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
Mr Speaker, the my Department continues to demonstrate in practice its commitment to extending opportunities to people that will contribute towards lifting them out of poverty and helping them to build and lead lives of value and purpose. Through the generous increases to key programmes as outlined in this budget speech, we believe that such efforts will play a significant role in improving the lives of the poor and vulnerable of this province. At the same time though, we shall continue to promote and practise austerity measures so that we maximise the amount of funding available for service delivery.
Reducing poverty remains a huge challenge, and I am hopeful that the shifts and changes we will implement will result in more people being able to access much needed services.
Before I finally conclude, I wish to thank the Premier, for her astute, wise and inspiring leadership, guidance and unwavering support. The Premier continues to set the standard that sees this Provincial government well on its way to its stated objective of being the best run regional government in the World.
To my cabinet colleagues, the Ministry staff, my executive team, the officials in my department and our service delivery partners, I look forward to another challenging yet rewarding year with all of you as we come together under a common goal – the promotion of social inclusion and poverty reduction.
And lastly, to my wife and son, thank you for all your love and support.
I thank you.
Spokesperson for Minister Fritz
Cell: 083 280 9199