Annual Report: Department of Social Development Improves Audit Results
In line with the Western Cape Government outstanding set of audit results for the period 2013/2014, the Department of Social Development improved its audit outcomes, and achieved a clean audit outcome.
The audit outcomes were presented by the Auditor-General to the Standing Committee on Community Development in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament on Tuesday 28 October 2014.
The department incurred no unauthorised and or fruitless and wasteful expenditure for the 2013/14 financial year. This is testament to our drive to ensure all public funds are spent in delivering much-needed services to the people of the Western Cape.
The result reflects the Department’s consistent year on year improvement in audit results, and illustrates our continuous effort to improve service delivery, and to account for how we have spent public funds.
The Department has improved the quality of, and expanded the services delivered throughout the province.
Early Childhood Development
During the 2013/14, the Department took note of the vulnerability of children in the Western Cape. Just over 83 857 children accessed registered ECD facilities, exceeding our planned target of 70 000 by 13 857. The Department has substantively increased the ECD unit cost funding from R12 to R15 to increase compliance to legislative norms and standards, and to remunerate ECD practitioners better. An additional 848 ECD practitioners in 425 ECD facilities were capacitated on the implementation of an ECD programme based on regulatory requirements.
In addition, the Department has provided meals to 101 of the 181 MOD centre after school programme, increasing the learner participation as well as combating hunger during the afterschool children engagement programme.
The Department has approved a youth development strategy, and has placed greater emphasis in driving consistent and meaningful youth interventions beyond singular commemorative days. This has seen the number of young people accessing social development programmes reach 16 286, from a planned target of 11 200. This is encouraging, as it shows there is a demand for youth skills development and linkages with job opportunities, and our launch of the Mitchell Plain Youth Café in partnership with an NGO called R-Labs, proved crucial in assisting meet this demand. In addition, 4 440 young people were linked to job and other skills development opportunities from the Departments own services.
Persons with Disability
The Department set-up a Disabilities Workgroup which has established the following objectives: access to education; creating job opportunities, and access to assistive devices. This saw 58 830 people with disabilities accessed developmental social welfare services. The Department funded 1 422 persons with disabilities in residential facilities, and an additional 2 393 were funded to access work and skills opportunities in protective workshops.
It is encouraging to see that 54 480 persons with disabilities were able to access Department funded NPO specialised services, this from a planned 23 115. These provide support services and educational programmes, under have received support as part of the Premier’s Special Projects.
The Department continues to work with NGOs to roll out targeted interventions and services for older persons across the province. Key to our efforts is improving the quality of services rendered, which primarily involves moving NGOs and individuals rendering services to the elderly to comply with norms and standards, as per the Older Persons Act no. 13 of 2006.
In total 32 292 vulnerable older persons received access to services, and 9606 accessed funded residential facilities, in addition to the 13 303 older persons who access community based care and support services.
Tackling Substance Abuse
The Department has made great strides in improving our systems and delivery in addressing the social ills caused by substance abuse in the province. Our funding allocation to address harmful drug and alcohol abuse has doubled over the past four years.
The Departments initiatives are also paving the way both nationally and internationally, as for the first time in South Africa, out-patient opioid substitution treatment is now being offered in partnership with our NGO partner Sultan Bahu in Mitchells Plain. The last report indicated that of the first cycle of clients, 16 out of 21 clients (76.5%) who completed their statutory phase, are still testing negative for illicit substance use in their continuum of care. These results are truly world-class, as they far exceed the treatment outcome expectations reported in international literature.
However the demand for these and other substance abuse services still outweighs the supply, even as we continue to expand our services. It is critical that we work with all roleplayers in society including other spheres of government and law enforcement agencies to tackle this scourge.
The Department of Social Development will continue to expand and extend services, opportunities and support to its citizens that enable them to lead lives they can value. However, the Western Cape government cannot do this alone. Key to our success will be to continue working in a whole-of-society approach, building partnerships with NGOs, the private sector, our communities and individuals. We can only achieve our vision of building a self-reliant society with we work Better Together.