The Department of Social Development obtains 9th consecutive clean audit
“The Department has remained steadfast to fulfil its core mandates by implementing programmes which prioritise children and families, support to victims of GBV, ECD, restorative services and services to vulnerable citizens, such as the elderly and persons with disabilities. We remain well aware of the importance that delivering our services play in promoting the human rights, dignity and well-being of all the people we serve.
Although the past financial year has been one of the most uncertain and tumultuous years in the history of our democratic state, the Department remained committed to fulfilling its statutory duties despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our country and province,” concluded Minister Fernandez.
With plans for the 2020/21 financial year crafted before the national government implemented lockdown phases from March 2020, the Department had to adapt service delivery modes rapidly to ensure the safety of clients, staff, NPO partners, and accessibility to services.
The initial lockdown phases imposed strict controls on movement, resulting in a significant disruption to civil society and incomes, which threatened the food security of many households. In response, the Department stepped in to assist the most vulnerable households distributing 55 977 food parcels to 223 908 qualifying beneficiaries, in partnership with NPOs, over the last financial year.
During the financial year under review, other notable interventions provided by the Department amongst others include:
- Although Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDs) remained closed, the WC DSD was the only provincial Department in the country that continued to provide ECDs with funding during the COVID-19 hard lockdown. The funding was used for the salaries of their staff, and 70 percent of the ECDs used the funding to feed over 50 000 vulnerable children across the province.
- Shelter services for homeless adults were expanded, increasing bed spaces by 35 percent to 2 031 bed spaces. This service was further strengthened by providing additional resources for social worker (SW) supervisor posts to ensure quality supervision and support to the SWs at funded shelters.
- The Department appointed 30 GBV social workers to strengthen the regional response to gender-based violence (GBV) and provided specialised GBV prevention and support to the communities with the greatest need in the province. Six additional GBV shelter sites were made available in the province (in the Bergrivier, Swartland, Hessequa and Central Karoo district municipalities), bringing the total number of such shelters to 25. The first of these GBV shelters was launched in the Central Karoo district municipality on 26 March 2021.
- Given the higher risk profile of Older Persons, the Department provided support and funding to 117 qualifying residential facilities to prevent and manage COVID-19. This included the provision of PPE to 9 313 residents; specialised training for carers; the facilitation of volunteers to deep-clean old age homes, particularly in poorer areas and hotspots; and where feasible, the provision of relief staff to funded facilities.
- As with Older Persons, Persons with Disabilities are at greater risk during the pandemic. To support Daycare centres in safeguarding clients, a SOP and guidelines were developed for daycare centres for children with disabilities.
- The Department continued with the implementation of the Sanitary Dignity Project. The programme provides young girls and young women in primary, secondary and special schools in poor communities across the province. By March 2021, over 700 000 packs of sanitary pads were distributed to 220 schools, benefitting almost 95 000 female learners in Grades 4 - 12 across the Province.
“Whilst the uncertainty that we are dealing with during these unprecedented times makes extra caution reasonable, delivering social development services to our citizens, particularly the vulnerable, is at the heart of what we do.
Government’s success in mitigating the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been a consequence of how as a society, we have come together to unite against a common goal,” concluded Minister Fernandez.
The Department of Social Development’s Annual Report 2020-21 can be accessed on its website by clicking here:
The public can access our services and dedicated team of social workers by visiting any of our regional or local offices closest to them or by contacting the DSD hotline on 0800 220 250.