Social Services and Poverty Alleviation - Budget Speech: 2005 | Western Cape Government

Social Services and Poverty Alleviation - Budget Speech: 2005

2005 to 2006
(Western Cape Government)

Social Services and Poverty Alleviation - Budget Speech: 2005

BY: Ms Kholeka Mqulwana, Provincial Minister of Social Development
AT: Cape Town
4 May 2005

Address to the Provincial Legislature During the Department's Budget Vote

Deputy Speaker,
Colleagues in Cabinet,
Chairperson of the standing committee,
Members of Parliament,
Leaders of political organisations,
Heads of departments,
Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs),
Representatives of the social development sector,
Our partners in business,
Honourable guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Ndiyabulisa kuni nonke,


Speaker we are dedicating this Budget Vote to the people of Joe Slovo and Bokmakierie who are my special guests today.

The first Ten Years of Democracy clearly marked the significant strides that our country has taken in transforming the legislative imperatives that inform the work of government. This, in the words of President Thabo Mbeki, "Provided the platform for us to move forward faster, with better quality of outputs and better outcomes in building a society that cares."

This year being the 50 th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, which declared that: South Africa belongs to all who live it, Black and White, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people, the challenge for us, particularly government, is to work and build a South Africa envisaged at the Congress of the People in Kliptown in 1955.

As the Western Cape Province, we need to ask ourselves as to what practical steps we have taken, individually or collectively to ensure that the Western Cape belongs to all its people, Black and White. What steps are we taking in the departments that we are leading to translate into reality the vision that the Western Cape is a home for all?

Speaker, I am privileged to introduce to you my most important guest this afternoon. A person who represents the majority of our people, who unselfishly worked hard, without any material incentive to produce a South Africa and a Western Cape that belongs to all its people.

He, like the millions in our province and the country, depends on us to make real changes, which will better their lives. A war veteran, who, during the Luthuli detachment led by Chris Hani, fought alongside Basil February. They, like many of us, fought for a South Africa and a Western Cape we are living in today. Once again, they gave themselves to the struggle for the creation of a South Africa of our dreams. There were no material incentives, nor rewards for being involved in the struggle against apartheid.

They, like many of us, fought for the liberation of the Black people and a Western Cape, which is a home for all. Speaker, I am speaking of none other than Comrade Alfred Willie. Comrades like Coleen Williams and Tshaina Talakume, whose parents are in the gallery, also tirelessly fought to the end for the Western Cape, which we all call our home today. It is with regret that the parents of Comrade Tshaina are still waiting in desperation to find and bury his bones.

What is it that individually and collectively we are doing to make the Western Cape the province that belongs to all who live it, Black and White?

In an attempt to answer this conscience-provoking question, we have chosen a transformation path in the Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation.

The reality of slow transformation has not escaped the Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation, in particular, and the social service delivery sector in general.

It is my duty to ensure that we, both as a department and service delivery partners, give impetus to government's transformation agenda.

As a result of this commitment we have adopted an interventionist approach, which lies at the heart of a developmental state. This commitment further requires of us to facilitate access to opportunities and resources by the poor, the vulnerable and those with special needs. This is the essence of social capital formation.

During December last year, I conducted four imbizo's with the NGO sector. This was because we needed to assess the gaps in our own work and improve service delivery. Mindful of the slow pace of transformation in this sector as supported by the department's own review report, we need to speed up change. Such a process should redress past imbalances, ensure equitable distribution of resources and foster social cohesion from a social development perspective in order to address the prevailing social conditions.

A departmental task team was mandated to craft a plan that will guide the transformation path for the department and its service providers. Having accepted the work of the task team, we went back to the NGO sector over the last two weeks to provide them with the first draft of this transformation plan. The consultations will continue and culminate in the production of a final Transformation Plan.

Today in this house we are submitting a transformation budget that will provide the resources to ensure that the department effects the necessary changes internally and also realises the shifting of resources to areas of greatest need and highest priority.

The Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation received a total allocation of R4, 9 billion for the 2005/2006 financial year, which is nearly 24% of the Provincial Budget. This is an increase of close to R600 million on the Adjustments Estimate for the 2004/2005 financial year.

The centralisation of the social security function in the South African Social Security Agency resulted in the total allocation for social security being made available to the department as a conditional grant. This conditional grant amounts to R4,2 billion and constitutes more than 86% of the total budget. It represents an increase of around R530 million.

This leaves the department with an amount of more than R670 million for social service delivery. This amount also includes the following conditional grants:


  • R20 million for Integrated Social Development (which is a Food Grant)
  • R6 million for HIV/Aids (Community-based care)


The increase in the allocation for social service delivery amounts to more than R62 million, which represents an increase of over 10% on the previous year's budget. Subsidy payments make up the largest portion of the total budget for social service delivery, amounting to over R310 million.


Mr Speaker, in anticipation of the centralisation of social security into the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) the department is in the process of positioning itself to ensure a smooth transition of this function and to give effect to its remaining core function - social development.

The exit of social security takes place at a time when there is consensus in the department that we need to transform in order to be accessible to all communities. The transformation plan mentioned before focuses on the primary function of the department and will require the improved alignment of the organisational structure at head office, district offices and facilities of the department in order to deliver on the new vision. To assist with this alignment, we will appoint a transformation expert in due course to finalise our transformation plan for cabinet approval.

As we subscribe to the vision of "A Home for All" and are the champions of social inclusion, a special focus was given to our tendering processes to address social exclusion.

While we are celebrating the increased participation of the Previously Disadvantaged Individuals (PDIs) in our procurement processes, the continued use of the phrase PDI hides the real impact we are making in opening the opportunities for all race groups in the department. During this financial year, the PDI sector will be further classified into Africans, Coloureds and Indians in order to measure our effectiveness.

It is regrettable to inform this House that when I assumed office in May last year, Africans as a group were poorly or not represented in the middle management of this department. I was morally obliged to take corrective actions. I am pleased to announce that in making our department and the province a home for all, out of the 22 advertised positions, 16 were filled by Africans, with 9 being females and 7 males. These appointments are assisting us in achieving proper employment equity.

Admittedly, the department has not yet been able to reach its employment equity targets. As from this year we will ensure that all levels of staff are fully representative of the demographic profile of the province. We have to recognise that the social development field is traditionally a female-oriented profession and special efforts will be made during this year to attract more men to the profession and to ensure that we retain the existing staff. Special efforts will be made to appoint African females into middle management positions. The department will address this issue through innovative recruitment processes.

During December 2004 we launched a disability learnership programme that makes provision for 10 disabled learners to undergo a learnership in the department. This was undertaken in recognition of the slow progress with the inclusion of disabled persons in the government workforce. It is anticipated that during this financial year the number will increase to 30. This will make a pool of administrative workers available that will promote their chances of finding employment in government. We call upon our sister departments to open employment opportunities for this group of prospective employees.


Speaker, currently there are only two languages (English and Afrikaans) that are dominant in our department, at the expense of our Xhosa-speaking beneficiaries/communities. As a result, the department will during this financial year make a significant contribution to language accessibility with the appointment of at least one language practitioner. This person will have the function of ensuring that strategic communication is distributed in all three official languages in a further effort to make all citizens feel that a caring government provides information in all three languages of the province.

During the third quarter of this financial year the department will improve the accessibility of its own services with the establishment of another district office on the West Coast in Vredenburg. Four local offices will be established in Khayelitsha, two in Mitchell's Plain and one in Knysna.

In line with our commitment to Batho Pele principle, by November 2005 we will bring warmth, care and humanity to all our reception areas by employing customer liaison officers.

These customer liaison officers will receive customers in a courteous and respectful manner and will be able to refer them promptly and appropriately for a speedy service. Security guards will focus on what they are good at, securing the buildings and protecting staff and property.

As part of its transformation agenda the department will develop an internal policy to address operating hours that respond to community needs. By 1 st November this year office hours will be extended to have staff available later in the evenings and also on Saturdays. Especially in rural farming communities, transport is quite often only available on Saturdays while district offices are usually closed over weekends.


Speaker, by now it is common knowledge that the social security function is no longer fully with our department. It is currently administered by us as a conditional grant with effect from 1 st April 2005. We have developed a strategic and transitional plan for the establishment of SASSA Western Cape and we are currently managing the process through a project management approach. To date we have split the department into two branches; SASSA Western Cape and Social Services and Poverty Alleviation, each with their own bank accounts.

We have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the national Minister of Social Development that provides for the administration of the conditional grant for social security pending transfer to the agency. During the course of the year in honouring the principles of transparency and consultation, I will continue with a series of public participation meetings to prepare beneficiaries for the final transition.

The Ministerial collaboration between ourselves and the department of Home Affairs made it possible for both the Minister and Deputy Minister to participate in our door-to-door campaigns. Their presence eased the issuing of Identity Documents and birth certificates which are pre-requisites to access pensions and grants.

The intergovernmental approach adopted by the ANC-led government, accelerates service delivery. On 11 th April this year, baby Tina Vili (ID 050411 0049 088) was born at the Khayelitsha Day Hospital. Within a few hours of birth, Tina was issued with a birth certificate and immediately screened for a Child Support Grant (CSG). The ANC delivers. This is what we mean by improving the lives of our people.

I also have Mrs Rachel Lot as my guest in the gallery. During my door-to-door campaign she explained her painful situation, indicating that she never had an ID in her life, except for the Green Card from the old Coloured Affairs. We immediately put systems in motion to help Mrs Lot. Today she has an ID document and receives her old age pension. We are indeed succeeding in making the Western Cape a Home for All.

During my last budget speech I highlighted the problems in managing the payment of disability grants. As part of the Easter Targets of the Premier we have added an intervention aimed at accelerating the processing of disability grants.

In order to address the backlog in disability assessments, the department recently appointed 17 doctors in collaboration with the Department of Health. During April 2005 I appointed an additional 12 doctors to assist with medical assessments. This project will continue during the months of May and June this year in identified areas where backlogs are greatest. Some of the contracted doctors will also be deployed to hotspot rural areas to assist with the clearing of backlogs. We will assess our effectiveness in this regard in July.

As we continuously visit communities, we discovered Mr Ncedani Lungile who is also my guest in the gallery. Mr Speaker, believe me when I say he used a Pick 'n Pay grocery trolley for a wheel chair. As a caring government, we approached our partner in development, AllPay, who is represented by Mr Andries de Jongh in the gallery today, and they donated a number of wheelchairs, which benefited a number of needy cases similar to that of Mr Ncedani. Through our public/private partnerships, Mr Ncedani's dream became a reality. Now that the ANC is in government, the ordinary people of our country are feeling the change for a better life.

In Madalabos, we discovered Mrs Qondani Nosiphiwe, who lived under very inhumane conditions. Her shack was so poorly built that, with the door closed, you could see outside whilst standing inside. She had no bed and was forced to sleep on the floor. Through our efforts to involve the private sector in people-development, today Mrs Qondani has a decent house. Once again, thanks to the donation made by AllPay. This is our understanding of transformation.

Through a strengthened partnership with the Departments of Home Affairs and that of Education this department was able to register more than 230 000 children under the age of 7 years for the Child Support Grant. As from 1 April 2005 the qualifying age for children to receive the Child Support Grant has been increased to all children under the age of 14 years. A target of over 163 000 children has been set for the Western Cape Province with a budget of R283 million for children aged 7 to 14 years.

In April this year we registered more than 103 000 children older than 7 years for the child support grant extension. A vigorous marketing effort in most marginalised areas will be conducted during Child Protection Month commencing 30 May 2005 in cooperation with the Departments of Education and Home Affairs.

We are concerned that our people are still trapped in the never-ending cycle of debt burden. Their grants are increasingly being robbed by unscrupulous money-lenders. As a result, the department will again embark on a comprehensive awareness raising campaign against money-lenders during the month of June. Further emphasis will also be placed on debt counseling and debt management in conjunction with the Department of Economic Affairs and Tourism and the Black Sash.

This partnership underscores the importance of community participation in rooting out fraud and corruption. During various consultative processes I appealed to communities to bring cases of alleged fraud and corruption to the attention of the department. The impact of our own fraud prevention plans will have a far greater impact if we can do it in collaboration with communities.

In respect of social security grants and pensions the department will review the circumstances of beneficiaries who receive their payments through the banks or through procurators and administrators during the 2005/06 financial year. The review process will entail requesting life certificates and beneficiaries appearing before officials. The review process will ensure that the right beneficiaries receive the right amounts.

Following an announcement by the national Minister of Social Development to grant indemnity from criminal prosecution of beneficiaries who had defrauded the department I embarked on a month-long campaign to publicly market this initiative. A total of 1 383 indemnity applications have been received. During the indemnity period the number of grant cancellations escalated to 1 965, meaning that a number of beneficiaries did not apply for indemnity, but opted to cancel their grants. An assessment panel was appointed by the Head of Department to assess the applications.

To date, 434 applications have been assessed. Out of the assessed applications, 59 were found to be government employees, 315 have been granted indemnity, 5 applications referred to other provinces and 47 cases are pending as beneficiaries did not attach all the necessary documentation.

In line with the successes achieved through the national anti-fraud campaign, during this month, together with our law enforcement agencies, we will be making major arrests of the people who continue to steal from the poorest of the poor. These are the people who defraud this province of millions of rands, which are destined for the poor.


Speaker, the current data used by the department for the delivery of social services is based on the 2001 Census, which does not take into account the high levels of migration experienced by our province.

For our equitable distribution of social services the availability of accurate and up to date information is crucial to empower communities, other government and civil society structures to plan properly. This needs to take demographic trends and migration patterns into account.

For this reason the department will embark on a pilot process in Khayelitsha and Oudtshoorn to validate and update population data. We also recognise that much of the information required for us to do proper planning is locked in communities. Therefore we have entered into a collaboration with the Khayelitsha Development Forum and the Khayelitsha skills database initiative to train approximately 70 young persons in Khayelitsha for the population validation project. The training will be accredited, their skills registered on the database and this will be marketed to other research institutions as a pool of field workers with training and research experience.

In this regard we call on all councilors in the Khayelitsha and Oudtshoorn areas to identify and submit the names of the young people from their respective wards to participate in this programme. We will also identify areas, which will need the participation of volunteers in population data validation.

The Directorate Research and Population launched its information center (Ulwazi) last month. A virtual resource center is also being developed on the Cape Gateway portal and will result in making strategic information available to a wider audience to promote a more scientific base for planning purposes.

In this respect it is also worth mentioning that the department has made great strides in improving the scientific base of its work. District offices, through team efforts of social workers, community development workers and using data from the social security database will embark on mini door-to-door campaigns to assess the social and economic needs of communities. By obtaining first-hand experience of what most marginalised areas require, the departmental human resources can play a much more significant role in facilitating access to appropriate sources of information and services to beneficiaries who live in constraining socio-economic conditions.

The department will appoint 64 development workers over the MTEC period who will work closely with social workers and the community development workers of the Department of Local Government and Housing in assessing community needs and foster inter-departmental collaboration. These workers will become important sources of information to community members on how and where to access government information and services.


Speaker, can we say with conviction that the social service delivery sector supports the vision of "A Home for All" when the human and financial resource distribution reflect a continued bias towards historically White communities? Even in rural areas, resources and services are located in more established towns with only ad hoc and limited service provisioning in outlying areas.

Khayelitsha has a ratio of one social worker for every 17316 of the population and Mitchell's Plain has a ration of one social worker for every 14 237 of the population. This is in contrast with Cape Town that shows a ratio of one social worker for every 5 159 of the population. The department will through its own resource redistribution attempt to improve this ratio to one social worker for every 7 000 of the population. Therefore, social worker posts in Khayelitsha, Mitchell's Plain, Eersteriver and Bellville will be advertised before the end of October this year.

The distribution of funding to NGOs shows a similar pattern. The historical bias to funding traditionally white social service providers that led to a strong sense of entitlement continues to exclude particularly emerging organisations from the departmental funding fold.

In line with the interventionist approach of our new provincial government, I have decided in consultation with the social service providers to reserve 25% per annum of available social service delivery funding for excluded organisations and those who are both based and operating in marginalised communities and who have been inadequately funded. We will also develop and implement an intensive programme to nurture and build the capacity of excluded organisations to deliver services within the department's requirements.

We call upon all previously excluded communities to make applications to the department for the delivery of social services in their areas.


Speaker, as a developmental government we are duty-bound to include the intended beneficiaries of our services in the planning and implementation of our services. The Directorate Monitoring and Evaluation will continue to assess to what extent service providers have succeeded to include beneficiaries in the planning, monitoring and evaluation of social service delivery. In a similar vein the directorate will ensure that community members are sensitised to identify and report social service-related risks.

The Directorate Policy and Programme Development will develop and implement simple methods of policy formulation in partnership with communities, staff, other government and civil society stakeholders through, for example, hearings, and focus groups so that community and potential beneficiaries' voices are reflected in policies. Policies will also be popularised through various community-based communication methods such as community structures and radio.

The Research and Population Directorate will use more participatory research methods. Research findings will be made simple, understandable and accessible, especially in terms of language. Community meetings will be utilised to discuss research processes and to give feedback to communities on research findings. This directorate will use street and ward committees to improve the accuracy of data collected, while encouraging communities to participate in government programmes to enhance their development.


I cannot emphasise enough the importance of investing in early childhood development. When we create an environment where every child has access to quality ECD provision, we are building for the future, we are supporting women, families and communities; we are supporting the economy and we are laying the foundation for life-long learning and proud, productive citizens.

Speaker, since our last budget speech we are pleased to report significant progress in the ECD area. At the moment we have taken over all the facilities previously funded by the Department of Health and have increased access from 50 000 to 56 000 children. We have furthermore set ourselves the target of increasing access to ECD by 5 000 children per year. Over R5,5 m has been budgeted for this.

The draft Integrated Provincial ECD Strategy, a partnership between ourselves, the Department of Education and the Department of Health has just been tabled for consultation and will soon be submitted to Cabinet for approval. We have adopted a visionary approach to ECD provision in this province, one which builds on the strengths, resourcefulness and traditions of families and communities. It is a strategy which unashamedly shifts from a Euro-centric model to a more Afro-centric approach where diversity is celebrated and culture is validated rather than marginalised. Some of the key focus areas of intervention of the Strategy are to ensure universal immunisation, universal access to Grade R and that every child in an ECD programme has a birth certificate and therefore, a legal identity.


Speaker, last year I spoke of the need for the principles of Ubuntu and Batho Pele to define the behaviour of caregivers who work in institutions for the elderly so that our frail and elderly receive the respect and dignity they deserve. Since then, the Directorate :Monitoring and Evaluation has done an appraisal of all old age homes in the province (134) and the findings support my resolve to make transformation of these government subsidised facilities a top priority. The appraisal has revealed the following:


  • Several old age homes are grossly under-occupied - some by more than 50%. Yet these facilities have admission criteria, which continue to be exclusionary and discriminatory. Waiting lists continue to reflect the historically dominant group in the organisation.
  • There are great disparities between the physical infrastructure of homes in the affluent (previous white) areas and those in the poor areas. At least one home in the Southern Cape was not fit for human habitation and we have intervened as we do not want to lose a community asset.
  • Some homes in affluent areas have reserves that range between R5 million to R85 million whilst those in poor areas show operating deficits. One of the reasons seems to be that some of the head office administrative costs are shifted to the affiliated homes in the poorer areas where it can be least afforded.
  • The governing structures of the homes are not yet reflecting the diversity of the province. When women and other racial groups are brought in, it is usually as additional members with no decision-making powers, sometimes for as long as up to six years.
  • Very disturbingly, the affluent homes are showing a trend of moving towards privatisation of their facilities. This will mean that poor people will have no access to a facility that was built with government money and where a condition of giving the low interest loan (which was discounted for a fair percentage of white old age homes) was that at least 60% of the residents had to be of sub economic income.


You will agree that decisive action needs to be taken and it needs to be taken fast. In taking action we will be governed by the principles of administrative justice.

Speaker, I am pleased to announce that as part of our endeavours to have a non-racial Western Cape, our day care for old persons will be increased. An additional R 3.7 million is budgeted for this expansion.

As from 1 st November 2005 old people from Gugulethu and Nyanga will be transported to the Goodwood/ Parow area to utilise the existing facilities there. Langa will be integrated to Bonteheuwel and Mannenberg will be transported to the Athlone area. To further practicalise racial integration Delft old people will be integrated to the Bellville area.

Integration of old persons in the Worcester and Eden district areas will be completed before the end of this financial year.


Speaker, the resources of families continue to be eroded by the socio economic circumstances they find themselves in. This is further exacerbated by the impact of HIV/AIDS on young people and the economically active population.

Our interventions recognise the importance of involving men in building strong, healthy families and breaking the cycle of gender-based violence. In this regard we will pilot a programme that will train 120 men to facilitate positive fatherhood and family strengthening programmes in 6 communities. Likewise, we will be taking 120 boys through a gender-based violence prevention programme.

In addition to the support we already give to families, it is our intention to resolve the matter of orphans and child headed households in this province. This year we will get a more accurate sense of the size of the orphan and child-headed population in this province and we will go from door to door to do so, if necessary as we are determined to do justice to these families. Over R9 million has been set aside for programmes dealing with HIV/AIDS.


Speaker, the building blocks for getting children off the street and supporting families and communities to nurture and care for their children has been firmly put in place with the partnership between ourselves, the City of Cape Town and other government departments and service providers. An additional R2 million has been set aside to support this programme which funds 16 service providers. We will however have to monitor that service providers share our vision of getting children off the streets.


Speaker, addressing the needs and aspirations of young people is an important element of involving them in our efforts to regenerate our communities, buid social capital and grow the economy. In the past year we have set up a youth job support programme at our Bellville district office. More than 200 young people have already used the centre and it is our intention to roll this out to all 16 of our district offices. The Directorate Monitoring and Evaluation increased its capacity by employing 11 unemployed graduates from impoverished communities who are also actively involved in community structures. We will also employ 20 youth development workers to facilitate intersectoral programmes. An additional amount of R5,2 m has been set aside for youth programmes, which include 200 youth internships. A further 100 youth interns will be recruited to undergo administrative skills training.

Our efforts will mean little if our young people continue to fall prey to the scourge of drugs and alcohol. For this purpose, we set aside more than R6 million to expand community-based prevention, counselling, treatment and after care services for young people.


Mr Speaker, Cabinet is currently studying the proposed Poverty Reduction Strategy, which will inform our collective intervention in reducing poverty in the province.

Poverty is demeaning, inconvenient and energy sapping. Our best efforts will therefore mean little if we do not launch a concerted attack on poverty as poverty exacerbates most other prevailing conditions. In this province and this country people are not only poor because they do not have food, housing and personal security. They are poor because they have been denied access to opportunities and public institutions.

Thus the purpose of our recently developed Provincial Integrated Poverty Reduction Strategy is to deliver on poverty in its many dimensions by ensuring that the livelihoods that people create for themselves are sustainable and improve the quality of their lives; that safety nets are created for the poor and vulnerable; that social, human and institutional capital is strengthened, that support, training and mentoring mechanisms are in place.

The budget of R31 m (R20 m as a national conditional grant and R11 m from provincial funds) will enable us to strengthen and ensure the viability and sustainability of pilot programmes especially in the presidential nodal areas, resource new programmes and support projects in the Project Consolidate areas, explore new methods of intervention and leverage additional resources and support local government initiatives. In this regard we have signed Memorandums of Agreement with the following 6 local authorities :

Cape Town Unicity, Eden, Bitou, Saldanha Bay, Matzikama and Central Karoo.

Clear service agreements to operationalise these MOUs will be concluded by July this year. These agreements will outline different roles and obligations of the different partners in supporting sustainable poverty reduction initiatives in identified communities.

Speaker, this is our contribution to the building of a home for all and the creation of a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it, Black and White.

Thank You

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