Special Adjustment Budget: Department of Social Development (Vote 7) | Western Cape Government

Speeches

Special Adjustment Budget: Department of Social Development (Vote 7)

31 July 2020

The following speech was delivered by Minister Sharna Fernandez in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament today 31 July 2020.

Special Adjustment Budget: Department of Social Development (Vote 7)

Social Development Vote 7 – Budget debate

Honorable Deputy Speaker

Honorable Premier and Cabinet colleagues

Honorable Leader of the official Opposition

Honorable Leaders of Opposition parties

Honorable members of WCPP

Members of the media

Fellow South Africans.

 

I rise today to table Vote 7 – the adjusted budget for the Western Cape Department of Social Development.

Honorable Deputy Speaker

I do though wish to thank our NPO partners, all our Social Workers, Child and Youth Care Workers, Carers, Volunteers and all essential service workers for their valiant efforts, serving on the frontlines of the Covid19 pandemic. I would also like us to reflect on all those who have succumbed to covid 19.

The WC Department of Social Developments budget sees the re-allocation of R33million 402 thousand rand, made up of a rollover of savings from the 2019/2020 financial year of R25 million 732 thousand rand. An internal re-prioritization of R202 thousand rand and additional funds from Treasury of

R7.932 million rand. the net effect increases DSD’s budget from a baseline of R2 .673 billion rand to R2.681 billion rand.

Honorable Deputy Speaker

These savings have proven to be fortuitous since we have been able to allocate the full R25million R732 thousand rand for emergency funding of Food Relief in response to the Covid 19 pandemic.

R20 million was allocated to distribute 50 000 food parcels across the Province.  Four NPO’s, namely: SANZAF, Islamic Relief, Red Cross and the Mustadafin Foundation assisted in this exercise. 8 000 thousand parcels per region for Eden Karoo, West Coast and Winelands and 7 000 per region in Metro East, North and South areas. 300 parcels per region have been retained for families who are self-isolating or are in quarantine at home and cannot go to the shops.

The remainder of the funds have been allocated to feeding schemes to provide hot food.

The remaining R7.9 million rand has been combined with internally re-prioritized funds to add R2.5 million rand for operational capacity support to old age homes affected by covid 19 and that Deputy Speaker was over 300 old age homes and R12 million 900 thousand has been allocated for Personal Protective equipment to Old Age homes, Disabled Homes and Partial Care Facilities, including Early Childhood Development Centre’s. 

 Honorable Speaker

This protracted lockdown has seen a new pandemic emerge. That of hunger, extreme poverty and increased levels of un-employment as detailed in a recent Oxfam research piece.

We also see an increase in the number of victims in what I call the shadow pandemic. That of gender based violence and substance abuse.

Citizens are experiencing trauma, depression and hopelessness with many of them requiring psycho-social support. Sadly, Deputy Speaker our Provincial efforts are minimal in the bigger scheme of things as the country and continent faces a food crisis. We have initiated a Humanitarian work stream to address the needs however we are we need to now move from food aid to food security.

I do need to inform the house the Humanitarian work stream represents the Whole of Government and a Whole of Society Approach, in that we have Provincial government departments, the five district municipalities as well as the COCT is represented on that forum. Disaster management, the Solidarity Fund, SASSA and the EDP desk which co-ordinates the efforts of NPO’s, FBO’s, CANS and civil society as well as other donors. In this regard we have attempted to map the distribution of food to ensure that we know where the glaring food gaps are so that we can be responsive to the needs as and when donations come in, that we can assist. The City, I do believe has also embarked on a campaign of feeding however Deputy Speaker I must, in terms of my Social Development role indicate that we are experiencing donor fatigue and this is definitely impacting the feeding effort. Coming back to my Colleague’s vote, Minister Fritz, one of the biggest challenges to food distribution is that of, gangsterism and unrest and protest action. When there is unrest and protest action and gangsterism we cannot get food to the people who need it most. 

Honorable Deputy Speaker, it is important for me to draw the House’s attention to the mandate and where we find ourselves today. So in terms of the Social Assistance Act 13 of 2004 and I quote: The objectives of the Act are and I really do want us to listen.

  • “Point A is to provide for the administration of Social assistance and social payment grants.
  • Point b is to make provision for social assistance and to determine the qualifying requirements in respect thereof.
  • Point C is to ensure that minimum norms and standards as prescribed for the delivery of social assistance.”  

I raise that Honorable Deputy Speaker as I will be coming back to that point in the second part of my presentation. So at this point in time our focus in terms of Covid 19 is old aged homes and I am pleased to announce that as a result of our partnership, again transversal government in action, we have concluded a protocol with the DOH and we have worked together to assist more than 300 homes and we are actually seeing an increase in the recovery rate within that sector and that is indeed pleasing.

Our other area is that of ECD’s and sadly we have many unregistered ECD’s and we have not received any direction from National regarding how we are to deal with unregistered ECD’s but I do wish to thank our registered and funded ECD’s who continued feeding during the covid 19 pandemic.

Honorable Deputy Speaker, we also made a financial contribution to a shelter which can accommodate 120 people in Somerset West and this was established during the Covid 19 pandemic as well as some work we conducted at the 2 homeless sites in terms of substance use disorder and a trauma informed approach to GBV. Our commitment as the department remains to work prudently with tax-payers’ funds to ensure that every single cent is allocated for its correct purpose and that we ensure the safety of our staff because without the dedicated team within Social Development we would not be able to achieve our objectives. Sadly, many of our staff have tested positive and had to be quarantined which has impacted our ability in certain areas of availability on certain days however we have developed contingencies and we remain committed to serving the people of this Province.

I thank you Deputy Speaker.