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MEC Fritz delivers 2018 Social Development Budget Vote Speech

28 March 2018

Budget Speech Vote 7 on Social Development

[The following speech was delivered by Minister Albert Fritz at the Western Cape Provincial Parliament on Wednesday 28 March 2018, during his presentation of the Department of Social Development’s Budget Vote 7 for 2018/19.]

Key Highlights;

  • With the largest spending (R694.2-million), the Department has prioritized children and families, even in a time of reduced budgets from National Government.

  • The Department is supporting all NGOs running funded and registered residential facilities (e.g. old age homes) with water augmentation, to fight the drought.

  • The Western Cape DSD has the highest pro-poor spending per capita, and has set the national benchmark for support and funding to the NGO sector, and spends 53% of its annual budget to our NGO partners.

  • We are spending an additional R123.7-million over the next three years towards ECD subsidies, to support the expansion of services and assist with facility maintenance.

  • A major focus on Victim Empowerment and support to women who’ve experienced Gender-Based Violence receives a major funding boost of R13-million from previous year, to R45-million this year to fund 16 shelters for abuse victims, and support anti-human trafficking NGOs.

Honourable Deputy Speaker,

Honourable Premier and Cabinet Colleagues,

Honourable Leader of the Opposition,

Honourable Members of the WCPP,

Mayors, Councillors and Municipal officials,

Special Guests, NGO and community leaders,

Citizens of the Western Cape,

Honourable Deputy Speaker, I rise to present the Western Cape Department of Social Development’s 2018/19 budget.

As I do so, I would like to take this moment, on behalf of the Western Cape Government and the Department of Social Development, to convey our heartfelt condolences to the husband and children of Mrs. Cheryl Smit. Mrs. Smit, who worked within our facilities, died tragically in a motor car accident on her way to work. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this difficult time.

Deputy Speaker, with a total budget of two billion, two hundred and forty one million, six hundred and sixty four thousand Rand (R2 241 664 000), this Department continues to serve the most vulnerable people of this province. We are guided and empowered by our core legislation, policy mandates and the Provincial Strategic Goals two and three. Provincial Strategic Goal 2 calls on us to improve education outcomes and opportunities for youth development, while Strategic Goal 3 calls on us to increase wellness, safety and tackle social ills.

The strategic goals speak to five key areas of my department, namely,

  • Children and families,

  • Substance Abuse,

  • Older Persons.

    Challenges

    We are feeling the effects of a national fiscus which has a revenue collection short-fall of R50-billion, and which has introduced even more stringent austerity.

    Deputy Speaker, even as the ANC in this House continues to dismiss the importance of clean audit outcomes from the Auditor-General, the impact of the national budget shortfall shows just how critical clean governance is for effective service delivery. Without it, money will continue to disappear, and service delivery will fail. It is as simple as that.

    It is in this context that we have had to stretch and reprioritize our budget in an effort to keep services going. I applaud my management team, led by the HOD, Dr. Robert McDonald, for staving off the worst effects of the cuts in some budget areas, and the other challenges we face. But we cannot pretend that service delivery is not suffering in this time of financial crisis.

    Deputy Speaker, the Department’s budget has effectively only grown by 5%. When you include Conditional Grants the growth amounts to a mere 6%. This is an extremely tight fiscal environment, and means that my Department must make do with what it has, and stretch each Rand to go further.

    Our NGO partners remain a key partner in our efforts, however the current economic climate, and the reduction of the overall fiscal base, has had negative consequences for our support to NGOs.

    Deputy Speaker, the current budgetary pressure means that the Department is only able to provide below inflation increases to funded Social Welfare NPOs. Specifically, we are providing a minimum of 3% per unit cost, and 5.7% for social work post funding.

    This comes at a difficult time for some NGOs, which were already struggling financially, and some which have already had to close. One such example is CAFDA in the Metro South Region, which has already shut its doors.

    The Department has no choice but to take over services previously implemented by funded NPOs, using our in-house capacity.  Unfortunately, this places a strain on the capacity of the Department and remaining NPOs, and may lead to staff burn out, and the risk of lower quality of services.

    The Department is doing all it can to mitigate this situation, including the establishment of NPO Help Desks and networks of support for NPOs at Regional and Local Office level. And we are lobbying for more funding to at least ensure inflationary-related year-on-year funding increases to NGOs.

    Deputy Speaker, I cannot understate the negative effects of the budget cuts from the National Government. A key example is the National Conditional Grant for EPWP which was cut from R15.9-million to R1.5-million. The impact of this cut will be felt by young people, who will have 562 less work opportunities available to them.

    Deputy Speaker, this is a scandalous move by the National Government, and it is one which necessitated my Department to step in to mitigate the effects thereof.

    We will use our expanding network of Youth Cafés and existing youth development programmes, to try and make up for these lost opportunities, but it will not be possible to fully plug the hole left by this funding cut.

    Drought

    The drought has placed a massive strain on the work of our NGO partners, and the Department.

    As part of our efforts to mitigate the adverse effects, the HOD has driven a process of responding to the crisis, by capacitating NGOs and our own services, with the aim of building resilience and creating alternative water sources for residential facilities.

    The Department is mindful of the impact of the drought on farming and rural communities. In this regard, and under the Community Development & Partnership Development Chief Director, Mr. Mzwandile Hewu, we are part of the Joint Operations Centre convened to drive the response to the crisis caused by anticipated farm-worker job losses.

    The Department will work closely with the Department of Agriculture and the South African Social Security Agency. Our role will be to conduct assessments of affected families, so that they can be linked to social relief benefits.

    Deputy Speaker, the challenges faced by the Department, both from our fiscal circumstances and the adverse environmental reasons, will not deter us in our drive to maintain and improve the standards of our services.

    This budget has focussed on ensuring that key statutory services keep pace with demand, and maintaining, as far as possible, current levels of services in other areas where growth is not possible.

    In this regard, let me share some of the spending areas for the 2018/19 financial year;

    NGO funding & pro-poor spending

    Despite the challenges and fiscal pressure I spoke of earlier, the Western Cape Department of Social Development has set the national benchmark for funding to NGOs. We transfer 53% of our budget to NPOs which serve the poorest of the poor.

    Children and Families

    Deputy Speaker, I’d like to unequivocally welcome and support developments that have gone into the establishment of a Children’s Commissioner. I applaud the hard work and leadership shown by the Premier, as we inch closer towards finalizing the necessary legislative processes involved.

    This prioritisation of children is also reflected in our current budget, where services to Children and Families remains our largest spending and focus area, under the capable leadership of Dr Lesley Corrie. There is a R 38 million increase in this budget, to R 694.2-million.

    The bulk of this increase will go towards the Early Childhood Development (ECD), Child Protection and Child & Youth Care Centre (CYCC) sub-programmes.

    ECD

    Deputy Speaker, the Department will continue with key projects aimed at not only increasing statutory compliance to norms and standards in this sector, but also improving quality. We will continue our collaboration with the Department of Health on the First 1000 Days Project, focussing on delivering comprehensive services to young children.

    We have allocated R336.1-million to the Early Childhood Development programme.

    The ECD Strategy has already seen the development of a ground-breaking pilot ECD programme for language and cognitive development at 50 provincial sites.

    The additional R123.7-million over the MTEF will go towards ECD subsidies, the expansion of services and facility maintenance. These funds will specifically assist conditionally registered ECD facilities with minor infrastructure and maintenance, with the view of bringing them to compliance. More importantly, the Grant will add extra resources to per child funding.

    Deputy Speaker, tremendous progress has been made in improving the compliance of facilities to the Children’s Act and our norms and standards. We have also begun to focus on quality, and to date since 2014, 1 743 practitioners have been trained in 1 370 facilities to implement quality registered programmes.

    To this end, I’d like to pay tribute to our former Head of the ECD Programme, Ms. Julinda Kruger, who recently retired from service. I wish her all the best and I truly believe she will continue, in her own way, to play a role in the ECD sector.

    With that said, let me also welcome Mrs. Tughfa Hamdulay to the position, and wish her well too. Mrs Hamdulay, a social worker by training, brings a wealth of experience to this position, and is a strong administrator. I have every confidence that she will take the ECD programme to new heights.

    Deputy Speaker, I’m happy to report that my Department will continue to support the After School Game Changer, via our Partial Care facility programmes. Ms. Nomazizi Mguda and Ms. Cheryl Davids will oversee an additional R500 000 being spent to expand our partial care facilities. These facilities provide the spaces which children need to engage in positive developmental activities.

    Child Protection

    Deputy Speaker, I condemn the killing of 30 children in our Province in the strongest terms possible. Perpetrators of these killings should be given the maximum sentences possible. In this regard, we want to welcome Judge Henneys heavy sentencing for one such case.

    R308.2-million has been allocated to child protection for the financial year.

    This is made up of R207-million for child protection services and R101.2-million for Child & Youth Care Centres.

    The Department has invested heavily in ensuring it is able to respond timeously to cases of children at risk, by honing our preventative services and early intervention services.

    I’m proud to announce that the Provincial Foster Care Management Plan has been finalized, and is being implemented. This plan is assisting us in aligning foster care management across NGOs and government.

    CYCC

    Deputy Speaker, under the leadership of Ms. Leana Goosen, we have made great strides in improving our Child & Youth Care Centres (CYCCs). This financial year will see more work go into transforming these facilities into internationally benchmarked facilities.

    We’ve allocated R101.2-million for this service to meet all requirements of the Child Justice Act of 2008.

    This figure excludes the R233.9-million under the Crime Prevention & Support sub programme which funds our services and outsourced facilities.

    In total, R335.1-million is allocated to provide services to all vulnerable children in our own and within NGO facilities.

    Deputy Speaker, our major focus continues to be the overhaul of our secure care Child and Youth Care infrastructure to meet the rapidly escalating demands for space in these centres.

    Work is already well under way to address the challenges at our CYCC facilities related to security breaches and ageing infrastructure.

    Key infrastructure and maintenance at CYCCs is underway, including the building improvements and refurbishing of old buildings.

    Along with our focus on infrastructure, we have established a Task Team within the Provincial Child Justice Forum. The Task Team tackles issues affecting the smooth implementation of the Child Justice Act of 2008, and is borne out of a multi-stakeholder Child Probation Services Workshop held in September, last year.

    Our focus will be to ensure CYCCs are registered, operating as per norms and standards, and have programmes which match a child’s needs, as per Section 191 of the Children’s Act.

    Youth

    The future of this province is dependent on building a generation of confident, educated, and empowered young people.

    Deputy Speaker, my Department has set aside of R17.7-million for its youth development program this financial year. This amount should be seen in the context of hundreds of millions spent across this and other departments in the province on youth development.

    As per our Provincial Youth Development Strategy, we have tasked Mr. Lionel Arnolds, Community Development Director, and Mr. James Albanie, who heads up our Youth Programme, with delivering safe and enabling spaces for young people. Youth Cafés are central to this effort, and are expanding opportunities to young people across the province.

    I’m happy to announce that we have recently launched the 8th Youth Café in Velddrif. This means the Department now has Youth Cafés in Mitchells Plain, Vangate Mall, George, Oudtshoorn, Vrygrond, Groot Brak Rivier and Gugulethu/Manenberg.

    Deputy Speaker, this financial year we expect to establish a minimum of four more Youth Cafés. We are also hard at work at developing a roll out model that will allow us to establish more Youth Cafes at a much lower cost.

    The Youth Cafés are our contribution towards driving the skills revolution for the youth in the Western Cape. Our focus is on getting young people into work opportunities, and the Youth Programme is focussing on building partnerships with the private sector.

    Disability

    Deputy Speaker, I’m proud of the progress we’ve made with our provision for services for people with disabilities. Under the excellent leadership of the Disability Program Manager, Ms. Patiswa Momoza and Mr. Siphiwo Mbewu, the Department has prioritized advancing disability rights, not only in words, but also in deeds and spending.

    My administration has allocated R169.7-million this financial year for services to people with disabilities. This includes an additional R46.2-million which is earmarked for this financial year for the provision of bed spaces in appropriate facilities as well as day-care services to persons with disabilities.

    I am particularly excited about the additional funding earmarked for the Disability Programme which, as announced by Minister Ivan Meyer, will total R534.8 million over the MTEF.

    This spending is what assists the province in leading the way in not only advocacy for people with disabilities, but also in improving access and service delivery.

    However Deputy Speaker, our disability strategy isn’t only about money. It’s about people, and our efforts to reach out to more and more. In this regard, the Disability programme has done a tremendous job. In 2014, 59 870 persons with disabilities accessed our developmental social welfare services, and I’m proud to announce that we have almost doubled this figure to 97 977.

    The teams working within our Provincial Disability Desk, headed by Mr. Jeremy Opperman, have begun to put in place ground-breaking and innovative projects. The Desk in collaboration with CEI established the “Assistive Device Service Desk”. This will streamline the procurement of assistive device technology for disabled staff.

    The Disability Desk is also in the process of conducting Access Audits on our service delivery areas, with the view of rectifying access challenges.

    Deputy Speaker, the Department has continued to refine its referral pathway for children and youth with disabilities that will improve the efficiency of services to these vulnerable young people.

    In this regard, I’m proud to note that a total of 1 729 children have accessed services in day care centres, provided by funded service providers. These facilities have staff trained in severe and profound intellectual disability.

    The Department continuously seeks to improve our services.

    This is why we have introduced a team of therapists from the Department of Education (SPID Teams), and employed a team of 20 Programme Implementers, who will ensure the therapists’ recommendations are carried out.

    This helps us ensure our service providers are trained on how to best care and provide education and stimulation to children with severe and profound intellectual disabilities.

    Substance Abuse Prevention & Rehabilitation

    Deputy Speaker, drug and alcohol abuse continue to be a major social problem in our society. Since 2014 a total of 35 502 clients have accessed our substance abuse services.

    Our allocation of R104-million is meant to continue our work in tackling this scourge.

    Of course Deputy Speaker, this figure does not include the R101.2-million we have allocated to our own CYCC facilities which also provide substance abuse treatment services. This has allowed us to expand our reach of substance abuse intervention to youth.

    The Matrix outpatient treatment programme was implemented in Child & Youth Care Centres, and a youth inpatient treatment programme has been implemented at Lindelani Youth Care Centre.

    We have specifically targeted treating young people, in order to address the rising tide of youth alcohol and drug usage.

    Over the last four years, the Department has expanded the adolescent matrix programme to schools in Kuilsriver, Eerste River, Steenberg, Lavender Hill, Hout Bay and Elsies River

    The scale of the problem is immense, and almost insurmountable, however real progress is being made. Under the leadership of Mr. Denzil Cowley and Ms. Fatima Isaacs, the Department has increased substance abuse services to over 36 NGOs working at 51 sites across the province.

    However, I must say this: there have been a growing number of reports of illegal rehab facilities springing up and fooling people into using their services.

    My Department will have a zero-tolerance approach to these dodgy operators, and if we find them, we will first work with them to bring them to compliance.

    However, if this isn’t possible, we will shut them down. The safety of people comes first, and we’re determined to act.

    Older Persons

    Deputy Speaker, we have set aside R245-million for the Older Persons Programme.

    Under the leadership of the Social Welfare Chief Director, Mr. Charles Jordan, and the Disability Programme Head, Ms. Debra Fortuin, we have prioritized ongoing efforts to drive registration of residential care facilities, especially for frail older persons. Compliance to the norms and standards to the Older Persons Act for residential facilities (old age homes) and service centers is a non-negotiable.

    I’m encouraged by the greater awareness that we’ve managed to raise on issues of compliance. Based on the number of queries and registration applications, the public is more aware of the mandated registration of residential facilities (frail care) in terms of the Older Persons Act, No. 13 of 2006. There are 119 funded registered residential facilities and 72 private registered facilities.

    If we are to end cases of abuse of the elderly, then we must continue to tackle the unregistered facilities operating in our communities.

    Deputy Speaker, a major focus area going forward is to strengthen and expand the community-based care models.

    We must encourage greater family and community participation in the daily lives of elderly residents, including keeping them in communities.

    Victim Empowerment Programme

    I am incredibly proud of the work being done by Mr. Mzukisi Gaba and Ms. Rene Botha. Under their leadership, the Department has focused on growing and building the capacity of the Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) so that it can begin to meet the huge need for support services for victims of violence and abuse. We still have a long way to go, but we are beginning to see the expansion of both residential and non-residential services to many more communities in the province where the need is dire.

    The Department recently launched the Women Empowerment Initiative, which aims to see the development of a referral pathway through the VEP, to channel 310 women within our 16 funded shelters for abused women, and provide skills, training and economic opportunities, in partnership with the Departments of Economic Development & Tourism and Agriculture.

    Deputy Speaker, I’d like to build on this approach, and in this regard, we have allocated an additional R13-million more than last year, bringing the VEP budget to R45-million.

    This will help facilitate community outreach, and workshops on Gender-Based Violence. It will also allow us to grow our services available to those affected by Gender-Based Violence.

    The recent spate of attacks and murder of women, have highlighted the importance of our work as a Department in partnership with our NGO partners. Our funding priorities in this regard are aimed at improving the reach and quality our response to violence against women and children.

    Our network of shelters remains a key resource in this regard, and the budget increases will aid the VEP to assist all our funded shelters to comply with the relevant norms and standards for shelters.

    This will result in key qualitative improvements at our funded shelters, including;

  • increasing support to residential NGOs by 30% per beneficiary,

  • increasing our support towards House Mother salaries from R2116 per month, to R3500.

  • Increasing funding to upgrade security at all our funded shelters,

  • Expanding funded skills development initiatives for victims at all shelters at R2500 per person, linked to our funding of bed spaces at shelters.

    This spending will enable VEP Shelters to attract and retain quality House Mothers, who play a critical psycho-social role within these facilities. It’ll improve the safety and quality of bed space at these facilities, and offer women a space to recover and access training and development programmes.

    Deputy Speaker, we are making progress in the provision of key victim support services. However, we must continue to get the message out that preventing violence against women and children is a 365 days a year task. We are calling on men, and in particular fathers, to play a greater role in changing the narrative, and in saying no to women abuse and gender violence.

    Social Crime Prevention

    Crime Prevention and Support receives an allocation of R233.9-million, to fund secure care Child & Youth Care facilities. Providing quality probation services and implementing obligations of the Child Justice Act, is our focus. In this regard, we will continue to focus on reintegration of those children in-conflict-with-the-law who completed residential and/or community-based programmes.

    Deputy Speaker, even in this constrained economic climate, my department will continue to prioritize improving the quality of services, whilst responsibly and sustainably growing the reach of our services.

    In this regard, I’d like to applaud our Finance and Supply Chain teams, specifically Mr. Juan Smith, Mr. Denver Holley and Mrs. Patience Mabhokwana for their leadership and dynamic efforts to save money wherever possible.

    Conclusion

    Deputy Speaker, we are working hard to sustain and even grow our services in the face of continued austerity, a constrained economy and a crippling drought. However we cannot achieve this alone.

    Our NPO partners and delivery partners such as SASSA, must continue to adapt in step with the Department.

    Let me take this opportunity to thank the Premier for her leadership. Also, I’d like to thank my Cabinet colleagues for the hard work they put in, serving the people of this province. I’d thank my Head of Ministry, Mr. David Abrahams and ministerial staff for the hard work and support.

    I’d also like to thank my Head of Department, Dr. Robert Macdonald and my full management team, for their outstanding leadership of the Department.

    Most importantly, I’d like to say thanks to every official in the department and our NGO partners. It is your work in reaching every person in need, in every community across the Western Cape, which helps us make a difference.

    Deputy Speaker, it gives me pleasure to table Budget Vote 7 on Social Development.

    I thank you.

Media Enquiries: 

Sihle Ngobese

Spokesperson for Albert Fritz, Minister of Social Development

Western Cape Government

 

7th floor, 14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8000

 

Tel : (021) 483 9217

Cell :  076 083 6543

Email : Sihle.Ngobese@westerncape.gov.za