Speech notes by Kobus Botha MPL, Shadow MEC of Social Development: debate on the Budget for the Department of Social Development, Vote 4. 15 May 2018.

Honourable Speaker,

All protocol observed

Democracy has been hailed as a great system all over the world.

South Africa is a Constitutional Democracy, and in a Constitutional Democracy everyone has rights but they also have responsibilities.

These rights are contained in The Bill of Rights.

Our Constitution is a victory over South Africa’s unjust past and our current efforts to ensure redress.

It instructs the government of the day to stand ready, to help, and to serve those in need of support.

The primary function of the support is to empower the people to make use of their freedom, so that they may progress in their own lives.

It is in this context that social support service finds expression in Article 27 & 28 of the Constitution where it clearly spells out the people’s rights in regards to accessing social assistance from the State.

In order to realise these rights, the Department of Social Development (DSD) was created.

This department is responsible for providing social development, protection, and welfare services to the public.

The Department must endeavour to create a better life for the poor, the vulnerable and the excluded people of the Eastern Cape.

It is furthermore tasked to reduce poverty, promoting social integration, and creating conditions for sustainable livelihoods.

In order to realise the above, the department must request a budget from the People’s Legislature and that’s why we are here today.

We, the Honourable Members sitting here, have been elected, through an open, transparent electoral system and we have been deployed by our different political parties to various portfolio committees to be the people’s voice, eyes and ears.

Our job is to ensure that policies announced by the government of the day are authorised by this House and actually delivered.

To deliver much-needed services the department requires money.

Money that gets collected from taxpayers as the government doesn’t have the full ability to raise adequate capital by itself.

This requires the department to submit budget plans before we can allocate monies and that’s why we are here today!

We must debate, advise, monitor, evaluate, detect and prevent abuse of resources to ensure the achievement of goals set by legislation and governments own programmes.

We are the people’s leaders that must protect and defend the rights and liberties of the citizens of our province.

We must deliver a social system in the Eastern Cape that protects people from extreme poverty we must ensure accountability by officials and the executive arm of government in this regard.

In order to protect the rights of the most vulnerable, the poor and marginalised, my debate will centre around the Department of Social Development’s Budget Vote for 2018/19 and the committee report tabled.

The Department has five (5) programmes and 26 sub-programmes that require funds.

Honourable Speaker,

The report tabled today by the portfolio committee chairperson doesn’t portray a department that is fully functional as it contains 28 serious negative and many reoccurring findings.

Holistically, the report is indicative of poor political and administrative leadership in the department at all levels.

The DA has observed and exposed the department’s failures on numerous occasions, inside the portfolio committee, and outside the committee, and the report today lends impetus to that fact.

Ex-ANC MEC Fancy Nancy has broken this department as she became involved in a myriad of 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.

The fighting was fuelled by personal and factionalist interest before and during the provincial and national ANC congresses.

She failed to unite her top management team.

Fancy Nancy also failed to be an excellent example of building race relations as she struggled to reconcile and socially integrate all race groups.

She openly fuelled racial tension by excluding white youth to be part of our provincial youth camps.

The committee report exposes ex-MEC, Fancy Nancy Sihlwayi, and the HOD, Ntombi Baart, as poor leaders.

To the new Band-Aid plaster, MEC Phumza Dyantyi, I pledge a constructive working relationship as long as she respects the rights of people and improves service delivery.

The new MEC must implement consequence management as a matter of urgency and fire lazy and corrupt officials that don’t do their job.

The new MEC must realise that leadership is not just about the next ANC congress, the next election, or self-interest, it’s about leaving a legacy of a functional institution behind for the next generation.

In order to fix the broken department, the DA has identified the top six (6) priority items, she must focus on:

  1. She must determine how many of the House Resolutions has been implemented by officials and implement all outstanding resolutions with immediate effect.
  2. She must finalise the completion of all corruption investigations and fast-track criminal action and consequence management against all guilty parties.
  3. She must, as a matter of urgency, finalise the chaos surrounding the questionable 16 500 posts created by the recently approved non-aligned organisation structure.
  4. The new MEC must fast-track decentralisation in accordance with the new district development model.
  5. She must also prioritise the employment of people with disabilities as social workers and ensure that all social development offices are well maintained, accessible and disability friendly.
  6. The new MEC must ensure that NPO funding letters, service level agreements and transfer payments are done on time every time without delays as Fancy Nancy could never get this right!

Honourable Speaker,

I am now zooming in on Programme 3 of the budget vote.

This programme deals with Children and Families and the main objective is to provide comprehensive child and family care and support services to communities in partnership with stakeholders and various civil society organisations.

The DA believes that this programme requires much more funding, for families and children are our future.

There are many ways to define a family, but they all have one common idea: caring.

Regardless of type, all families also need to be nurtured and strengthened from time to time, especially the vulnerable and poor.

Families must involve themselves in their neighbourhood, school, government, church, and business in ways that support their family values.

I want to urge parents to find out more about how they can help their children to prepare for school, and to make as much time as possible to read to and play educational games with their children.

A DA-led provincial government will do everything possible to increase the quality and reach of Early Childhood Development Centres (ECD’s), and in this regard we need parents to help us to turn this province into a success story for generations to come.

Through this partnership, we can make our children’s lives better together.

It is shocking that the ANC-government has excluded more than 800 000 kids between the ages 3 years to 5 years from accessing ECD opportunities due to poor planning.

It is my belief that our ECD policy must look at innovative ways of reaching children even when they are at home with their mothers.

A DA government will prioritise ECD centres as they are often the only time some children are able to get access to the right kind of educative stimulation from trained professionals, a decent meal and a safe, healthy environment.

We will also have a 6-month Amnesty Period to give unregistered Partial Care facilities the opportunity to come forward and register to ensure legislative compliance.

The people of the Eastern Cape deserve a new beginning, a total change from the broken ANC to a functional, corruption-busting DA government where the people matter most.

Our forward-looking government will serve the people with respect and dignity, we will also ensure that quality social services are not based on patronage that enriches only a few connected but reaches all the citizens of our province.

In closing, our DA provincial government understands that the goodwill of the governed will be starved, if not fed by the good deeds of the governors.

Our provincial government will ensure that all officials in the delivery of services will have a strong sense of “how can we help you”, instead of “come back tomorrow, we’re offline”!

We will work in a transparent, corruption-free, time-bound and accountable manner.

Honourable Speaker,

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the budget allocation for 2018/19 financial year of R2.8- billion, as it indicates an increase of R193-million or 7.3% on the previous year budget.

We also support the Portfolio Committees report as tabled to the House as a true reflection of excellent oversight work conducted.

I thank you.