THE Eastern Cape department social development is in a state collapse and paralysis.
That is if the debate by the portfolio committee on social development in Bhisho yesterday is anything to go by.
The report, which was adopted yesterday, paints a picture of a department in need of ICU and with inexplicable budget allocations for the 2018-19 financial year.
According to the scathing report, among other failures:
● The social development budget for the provincial office has increased by R225.6-million despite ongoing implementation of a district development model that promotes decentralisation as a means of fast-tracking service delivery;
● Social development in the province continues to apply double standards in payments to NPOs, rendering frail care services with centres in Port Elizabeth’s Algoa Park and Lorraine paid R18 000 per person while all other NPOs in the sector are given a paltry R2 000 per person for the same service;
● The department utilises a service provider based in East London to distribute food to all community nutrition development centres in the province, leading to food becoming spoilt and wasted. In addition, this, the committee found, does not promote use of local suppliers as the policy pronouncement of the provincial government sets out;
● The department increased the stipend for national youth services (NYS) participants from R1 200 to R2 000, which resulted in a decreased intake of NYS beneficiaries from 200 to 104;
● The plans of the department are of of not informed
● There is no evidence of a link between what is contained in the situational analysis on youth development, women development, older persons, substance abuse, disability, HIV/Aids and the plans and budget allocations of the department in these areas. This, the committee said, “brings into question the credibility of the allocations”; and
● Services to the vulnerable and the poor, as well as job opportunities, have decreased despite an increase in budget allocation.
During the debate yesterday, the DA blamed the “poor” leadership of recently fired social development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi and her head of department, Ntombi Baart.
DA MPL Kobus Botha said the report painted a picture of a thoroughly dysfunctional department.
“Holistically, the report is indicative of poor political and administrative leadership in the department at all levels.
“Ex-ANC MEC “Fancy” Nancy [Sihlwayi] has broken this department as she became involved in internal ANC factional battles.
“This fighting wasn’t about ideology, policy differences or better service delivery to the millions of people in desperate need of social services, but her factionalist interests,” Botha said.
The UDM’s Tamsanqa Tsengwa could only wish Sihlwayi’s successor, Phumza Dyantyi, good luck in bringing about change.
Dyantyi, in her immediate reply to the report, said she was aware of the challenges facing social development, and a “turnaround strategy” would be circulated internally and externally that would bring about stability. — ZINGISA MVUMVU Senior Political Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org