18 OCTOBER 2005
WESTERN CAPE MEC FOR SOCIAL SERVICES AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION, HONOURABLE KOLEKA MQULWANA’S PRESENTATION DURING THE PUBLIC HEARINGS ON PROVINCIAL BUDGETS AND EXPENDITURE REVIEW 2001/02/07/08, OLD HEARINGS ON PROVINCIAL BUDGETS AND EXPENDITURE REVIEW 2001/02/07/08, OLD ASSEMBLY, NATIONAL PARLIAMENT,
Members of the committee,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for allowing us to participate in these important public hearings. The Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation in the Western Cape takes pride in being part of the processes that seek to improve the lives of our people, particularly the poor.
In this regard, our budget for this financial year is driven and influenced by priorities ranging from transformation, community regeneration, protecting the most vulnerable, early childhood development, the fight against drug and substance abuse to strengthening and intensifying
social capital and build families.
We are pleased to outline our priorities for the current Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period.
Our Constitutional obligation is to provide quality and sustainable social services to all communities in the province of the Western Cape. To fulfil this responsibility, our department has aligned its political and operational imperatives along those of the national Department of Social Development. These include the registration of children under the Child Support Grant, creating a safer environment for senior citizens and protecting women and children against abuse.
In this regard the following national legislation is currently our nationally driven priority and financial resources have been made available to finalise them. These include:
The preparation phases for the Older Persons Bill and Children's Bill will require funding for the training of workers to implement the conditions of these pieces of legislation. There will also be priorities in terms of the progressive realization of some of the elements in these acts to avoid litigation. The department will further require legal support in its implementation of these bills as has already been evidenced in other provinces.
The proper implementation of the Child Justice Bill will require more assistant probation officers to cope with the great demand for this service.
The centralization of social security into the South African Social Security Agency by April 2006 is still on track.
The department will contribute to the transversal priorities such as:
The scourge of TIK and other substances that are affecting the youth in our province have prompted the Provincial Government to develop an integrated strategy on substance abuse.
The successful implementation of this strategy hinges on the availability of sufficient resources to implement the strategy. Ongoing community interventions as well as sophisticated treatment interventions are required to address this social phenomenon successfully.
Early Childhood Development (ECD) is regarded as a prerequisite to preparing young children adequately for education and for life. As such, the integrated strategy on early childhood development, which is currently in a consultative phase, will be implemented more vigorously during 2006. The department conducted a successful ECD Summit last month, the recommendations of which will soon be submitted to the provincial cabinet social cluster for consideration and possible enactment into legislation.
The Provincial Poverty Reduction Strategy will be submitted to cabinet for approval during the current financial year. Together with our private sector partners we have just launched our poverty reduction projects in Vredenburg (garment making) and Khayelitsha (brick making). We are planning to launch further poverty reduction projects in the Vredendal area, in order to provide sustainable livelihood to these vulnerable communities.
The department will also have to increase its resources in respect of children involved in crime. There is a trend emerging of younger children committing more serious offences that include violence and assault, often with weapons. The children who are involved in crime are as young as 14 years of age.
The new democratic government, founded on the culture of human rights, is part of the global community and has committed itself to the well being of all human beings. In this regard, the influx of refugees, especially into the Western Cape, is also emerging as a trend that will require a sensitive and strategic response from the department Minors and children who cross our borders to seek refuge status mean that the department has to attend to their social and economic needs and has to continue addressing these needs.
Our resources are also channelled towards improvements in child protection services. There is a strong correlation between children involved in crime and the high school dropout rate. We are developing strategies to detect and identify children at risk at an early stage to prevent them from becoming involved in crime.
Our department has started an organization-wide transformation process, which will culminate in a transformation plan during the current financial year. It is anticipated that the implementation of the transformation plan will have an effect on the organizational structure of the department.
We are convinced that the implementation of the new transformation plan and the new core business will require an appropriate organizational structure for the departmental head office, its 16 district offices and 8 facilities. The focus of the transformation drive is to achieve equity, redress and redistribution of resources. This will require additional human and financial resources if we are to make good on the social contract with the people of the Western Cape Province.
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. As part of this restructuring process the department will be required to increase its community-based response to the poor, the vulnerable, and those with special needs through the appointment of 64 development workers. These social development workers will work hand in hand with communities.
The social capital formation strategy makes it clear that its successful implementation is also dependent on an adequate spread and type of social service delivery in the province. The approximately 1300 existing NGOs will play a crucial role in our efforts towards family strengthening. We are allocating more funding to expand the spread of social service delivery in mending the social fabric of society. The department will have to invest in building the capacity of the structures of civil society to ensure that the networks around the poor, vulnerable, and those with special needs can be extended.
Special efforts are made to improve our accessibility to communities and their providers through door-to-door programmes and imbizos.
We have invested time and resources to enhance intergovernmental and interdepartmental co-ordination in attending to community needs. In this regard we have signed service delivery partnerships (MOUs) with municipalities and relevant provincial departments.
This presentation, Chairperson, though not exhaustive, gives these important public hearings an insight into the daunting task facing us as government in ensuring a better life for all our people.