Honourable Premier, Madam Speaker, MECs, Colleagues and Guests, it is indeed a privilege to greet you this morning in the name of the Democratic Alliance and to debate the contents of our Special Programmes Report.
Especially as it is quite obvious at this time of year that the Legislature Diary is filled to the brim and that much pressure is brought to bear on the Programming Committee. This makes for a good work ethic but – unfortunately – also for much re-shuffling and much frustration. So right now in this experience we – like our neighbours in the north – are in rather an unpredictable, changing environment in which the only certainty is change.
As described in the report the Special Programmes Unit is a subunit of the OTP which aims to exercise oversight over the Special Programmes Coordinating Unit in the Office of the Premier and other Departments.
In the year under review, a Budget allocation of R10 401 million was made to the Special Programmes Unit and spent largely on staff salaries – R6,945 million – and on Goods and Services at R3,409million – with a total actual expenditure of 10,354 million.
This Sub Programme also ran three offices: one on the rights of older persons which concentrated on the assault and murder of the elderly, tragically caused by allegations of witchcraft against them, a second office that focussed on Children’s Status and donated sanitary towels to children’s homes in Buffalo City and to 24 schools in the Alfred Nzo District as well as to a third office on the status of children.
Special Programmes also organised a “Know your Rights” Campaign for older persons in the Alfred Nzo and OR Tambo Districts and launched a Young Woman’s Empowerment Programme for 60 women. The DA supports recommendations in the report that campaigns should be intergenerational and would like to see these campaigns expanded and made accessible to a broader group of recipients.
General findings are that there is unevenness in the distribution of resources to different communities because they have different population demographics and it is recommended that future training should be intergenerational.
While it was found that the SPU launched a Young Women’s Empowerment Programme in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro for 60 women the Special Programmes Unit would like to see a progress report of the benefits received by young women from its Empowerment programme and those created by Nqadu Gender-Based Violence Intervention Programme.
The DA supports the recommendation that the Premier should consider having a Special Programmes Unit as a stand-alone Programme in order for it to increase its budget.
The Office on the Status of Women also conducted a Gender-Based Violence Awareness and an Economic Empowerment Programme for women in collaboration with the Commission on Gender Equality and the Idutywa Women’s Support Group.
It is recommended that the gender-based violence campaigns should be extended to other areas of the province.
The DA supports the report