Speech notes: Kobus Botha MPL, Department of Social Development Annual Report 2016/16 and half-yearly financial oversight report for 2017/18. 29 November 2017

Honourable Speaker

All protocol observed

INTRODUCTION

The concept of social policy is related to social justice and social development. It is a method through which social justice is attained and social development is carried on.

It’s not only the formulation of social policy that is important, but its effective implementation is paramount and is subject to changes from time to time as social aspirations and usefulness change.

In order to uplift the poor and vulnerable of our province, the Department of Social Development (DSD) in the Eastern Cape, derives its mandate from several pieces of legislation and policies.

Based on this mandate, the Department develops and implements planned programmes for the eradication of poverty, social protection and social development.

TRIPLE CHALLENGES

Poverty is seen as the world’s greatest challenge and in South Africa, poverty is counted as one of the country’s triple threats, the other two being unemployment and inequality.

It is a fact that more and more South Africans are sliding back into the poverty trap as previous gains are being reversed election after election.

Reasons for the decline include poor and corrupt political leadership, slow economic growth, stubbornly high unemployment, crime and educational outcome failures.

The nett effect being that 30 million South Africans are living below the poverty line and 9.4 million South Africans cannot find work.

The number of persons living in extreme poverty below the food poverty line of R441 per person per month in South Africa, increased by 2,8 million from 11 million in 2011 to 13,8 million in 2015.

The number of social grants recipients has increased to 17-million today, from around 3 million in 2000.

We are witnessing increasing dependence on State handouts and the level of income inequality remains among the highest in the world.

For the poorest 40% of the population, the growth of household income has been lower than the national average.

EASTERN CAPE PROVINCE REMAINS POOR

In the Eastern Cape, our population increased from 6, 6 million people in 2011 to 7 million people in 2016, making it the third most populous province in the country, behind Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Poverty in the province is still high as the majority of our people cannot meet their basic needs and live below the poverty line.

The latest household poverty gap analysis for the different provinces for the years of 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2015 indicates that the Eastern Cape still has one of the highest household poverty gaps in the country.

The number of households in the province has also increased from 1,7 million in 2011 to 1,8 million in 2016.

In 2016, 36% of Eastern Cape households depended on grants.

Since 2011, 54% of people living in the EC have remained among the poorest in the country.

It is against this sad background of poverty that one has to evaluate MEC Nancy Sihlwayi’s political leadership and the Departments HOD Ntombi Baart’s overall performance.

HIGH-LEVEL ANNUAL REPORT ASSESSMENT FOR 2016/17

The Department’s annual performance for 2016/17 financial year indicates that the Department received a total budget of R 2, 403, 619 billion.

Sadly, the Department experienced a general under-expenditure across all programmes that have increased from 0.3% (R7.8 million) in 2015/16 to 1.8% (R43.3 million) in 2016/17 financial year.

The staff vacancy rate has substantially increased from 2.7% in 2014/15 to 26.8% for the year under review.

The Department has a bloated organogram of approximately 16 000 posts of which 4 553 includes warm bodies and funded vacancies. The remaining 11 447 posts remain vacant and unfunded.

Can the MEC explain to the House what the latest progress is, in regards to why the Department requires so many staff to be appointed while our country is in an economic slump and while provinces are experiencing extreme budget constraints?

The Department also incurred irregular expenditure to the value of R 94, 189 million inclusive of irregular expenditure of R 39 million incurred for the year under review.

The fact that this amount was due to non-compliance with procurement policies, and prescripts which lead to over and under expenditure in different economic classifications and programmes is shocking, to say the least.

Although it was also later corrected as “reclassifications” it indicates that internal control measures such as monitoring and supervision are not effectively been implemented.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is of the view that the over, under and irregular expenditure indicates that there are serious systemic failures and deficiencies within the Departments operations.

In order to correct these failures, the DA calls upon the MEC, to urgently ensure that a review of policies and standing operating procedures be conducted in order to detect negligence, incompetence, and even corrupt activities.

In referring to corruption and various SIU investigations that are being conducted within the Department, can the MEC please shed some light on why the portfolio committee has not received comprehensive reports in this regards.

The DA feels strongly that if the MEC is serious about fighting corruption, then she should consider appointing Mr Crispian Olver, the author of “How to steal a city” before the Department is captured by thieves.

Corruption within the Department is the thief of economic and social development, stealing the opportunities of ordinary people to progress and to prosper themselves.

FAILURE TO REACH TARGETS

Progress within the Department has stalled as the Department has failed to reach its targets.

Out of 115 planned targets, only a disappointing 82 targets were achieved.

This represents a performance rate of 71.3% across all five of the programs for the financial year 2016/17, compared to 78.6% of targets reached for the 2014/15 financial year.

On closer analyse of targets per programme, it becomes clear that the following core programmes of the Department have not been met.

Programme 2 that deals with Social Services such as Service to Older Persons, Persons with Disabilities, HIV and AIDS and Social Relief services, only managed to achieve 52.6% of its targets.

Programme 3 that deals with Children and Families in the areas of Care and Support Services to Families, Child Care and Protection Services, Early Childhood Development and Parental Care, Child and Youth Care Centres and Community Based Care Services for Children have only reached 50% of its targets.

Programme 4 that deals with Restorative Services such as Crime Prevention and Support, Victim Empowerment, Substance Abuse, Prevention and Rehabilitation also only managed to achieve 50% of its set targets.

The DA welcomes the achievements as stated in the annual report for 2016/17, but the fact remains that the core programmes mentioned are the most important to the most vulnerable and poor in our communities and they are the most underperforming programmes.

The DA also finds the reasons advanced by the MEC and the present acting HOD to try and justify underperformance for the past 3 years as unacceptable, as most of the excuses emanate from year-on-year recurring findings.

POLITICAL LEADERSHIP DEFICIT

The above failures to implement House Resolutions speak of the lack of accountability by the MEC, to the Legislature.

Since 2014, MEC Nancy Sihlawyi had three HOD’s, and still she is failing to make an impact in improving the Department’s performance.

Her arrogant leadership style has tainted our countries international image when she turned the much needed national programme of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children into a political factional campaign event.

She abused her power as MEC, turned her back on what was good for the people of Alfred Nzo and abused state resources by directing her anger against her own ANC comrades in NMB on Saturday, 25 November, where she feverishly tried to campaign against the EC “train” on-behalf of the NDZ faction.

The MEC must accept her loss and stop abusing State resources to try and derail the “train” with taxpayer’s money. Pay back the money!

The MEC has failed dismally to lead the Department in reaching its targets and her latest outburst and conduct has once again exposed her as a “loose cannon” supporting chair wheedling faction in ANC.

Our job as the DA is to defend the people’s constitutional rights, with a keen interest in helping the poor and vulnerable groups in our society.

We want them free from poverty and exploitation as a political fodder.

PROVINCIAL WIDE BAD GOVERNANCE

The cause of bad governance in the Department of Social Development (DSD) can be attributed to the MEC’s poor political leadership.

Her arrogant, unresponsive, unhelpful and self-serving attitude is similar to JZ that has demoralised most officials in government.

Her NDZ ANC faction of today is not the same as the ANC of the old honourable stalwarts of the past that believed in putting the country and our people’s needs first.

The ANC is so deeply invested in corruption, patronage and factionalism, that it has literally stolen people’s progress, election-after-election.

The survival of our people and our country will depend on our ability to usher in change, a new beginning, a new government, a DA government that will serve the people with humility and a keen focus on quality service delivery.

HIGH-LEVEL HALF-YEAR OVERSIGHT & PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT FOR 2017/18 FINANCIAL YEAR FROM 1 APRIL TO 30 SEPTEMBER 2017

In terms of the Departments 2017/18 half-year financial oversight and performance assessment, the Department is struggling to spend a total budget of R 2, 632, 99 billion as allocated.

The Department projected to spend R 1, 270, 849 billion (which represents 44, 9%) of the total budget as at the end of September 2017.

Sadly, the Department underspent its half-year projections by only managing to spend R 1, 182, 558 billion of the total budget as at the end of September 2017, leaving a submitted deviation of R 88, 291 million or 6.9%.

POOR PERFORMANCE OVER THREE YEARS

The above financial challenges and poor performance by the Department are due to reoccurring findings and House resolutions not effectively being implemented in order to improve the functionality of the administration.

The DA is of the opinion that the Department has now become synonyms with mismanagement, mishandling, incompetence, inefficiency, bungling and blundering and a case for maladministration is now stronger than ever.

We, therefore, call on the MEC and the HOD to immediately develop a comprehensive turn-around strategy in order to try and improve the Department’s functionality.

We also believe that consequence management must take centre stage in order to ensure that the implementation of the values that are expected of the public administration is adhered to.

IN CLOSING

The ANC must take note that the people of South Africa are starting to believe that change is possible and that this change can be initiated from outside the ANC, not from inside it as factionalism and corruption have paralysed it.

The people of SA wants a new beginning, a new government, an all-inclusive, safe, caring and forward-thinking provincial government that delivers quality service through professional staff.

The DA is the only party that has the ability to usher in that change.

It will be a new beginning, a fresh start, with new MEC’s and a new Premier.

The DA supports the report as tabled.

I thank you.

 

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