Speech Notes: Social Development Annual Report for 2017/18

Kobus Botha

All protocol observed.

Honourable Speaker, I am very sad, disappointed, frustrated, concerned and very cross with the ANC.

I am sad because the relative successes of the post-apartheid ANC Government has not successfully redressed the wrongs of the previous regime.

In fact, service delivery has slowed down, and the country still faces serious economic and social challenges such as negative economic growth, high unemployment, rising poverty and increasing inequality.

I am concerned because According to the Poverty Trends Report for 2006 to 2015, more than half of SA’s population, 30 million people are living in poverty, or nearly 55% of the population.

This is up from the 53% or 27 million people reported in 2011.

The ANC governed province of the Eastern Cape has the second highest poverty levels in the country and interestingly, the lowest poverty levels is found in the DA governed Western Cape Province.

The Eastern Cape has been identified as having three of the most deprived district municipalities being, Alfred Nzo, OR Tambo and Chris Hani, with the severest poverty found amongst female Africans living in rural areas of our province.

The committee report on Social Development tabled today is indeed an attempt by the ANC to execute its social responsibilities as detailed in sections 27 (1) (c) and 28 (1) of the Constitution of SA.

In terms of ensuring that the constructional provision of social development is met the committee report highlights a department that is not fully functional, and unable to deliver good quality social services to the people of the Eastern Cape, and I am sure that most of Members here today, are not happy with the findings contained in the report.

The report is an indictment on the vision of this August House which reads “a people’s assembly for good governance to realize service excellence”.

The vision is indeed very noble but the department’s failure to improve undermines this House’s efforts to realize a better life for all in our province.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is not happy that good governance and service excellence are compromised by the MEC and certain officials.

Our party is of the view, that the findings contained in the report, is a true reflection of the multi-party committee’s oversight work.

Its furthermore clear, and a shocking indication of a broken department sliding deeper into performance regression, which could lead to a general collapse of social service delivery.

Honourable Speaker, we expected to see under MEC Dr.Pumza Dyantyi, a department that’s caring, friendly, professional, trust worthy and that listens to the community’s needs, that are responsive to their needs, that embrace and welcome diversity.

We expected to see a MEC and her department officials taking deliberate steps to foster social cohesion, to bring people from different walks of life together, given the fact that the racial narratives are dividing the people and political intolerance is becoming the order of the day.

A case in point is the recent Stutterheim and BCM illegal protests. These protests are a clear indication of how the ANC’s factional battles, fighting for money and privilege, is tearing communities apart.

We expected to hear a report that reflects a well-run department where the public knows what their money is being spent on. We expected to hear of a department that fast tracks job opportunities for people with disabilities, and not jobs for pals and sex for jobs.

We expected to hear of a department that proudly reports on clean audits, fully staffed with passionate professional people-centered public servants.

We expected a good story of service delivery to be told, but instead, we had to listen to a report that delivered the following:

  • A qualified audit opinion for the financial year 2017/18.
  • An underspend of R 125 million rand on the final appropriation.
  • An underspend that exceeded the permitted norm of 2% or R 100 million rand.
  • A regression in financial performance since 2015/16 from R 7.8 million rand, up to, R 125 million rand for the last 3 years.
  • A general underspend in All 5 of the department’s programmes.
  • A massive combined R 87-million-rand underspend in its core constitutional mandates located in Programme 2, 3, and 4, which deals with social welfare, children and families well being, substance abuse, victim empowerment and support to women.
  • A report that indicates that only 50% of planned targets was reached for programmes 2, 3 and 4 as mentioned before.
  • There is non-alignment between financial performance and achievement of planned targets due to a lack of evidenced based planning when setting targets.
  • A lack of IGR cooperation dating back as from 2013 in regard to 20 DSD offices having no lease agreements, resulting in R 3.7 million rand in irregular expenditure incurred.
  • 26 dilapidated local services offices that requires urgent maintenance and renovations to make them safe for public use and accessible to people with disabilities.
  • They failed to reach the 2% disability employment target, meaning that there is less than 70 (1.5%) people employed in DSD with disabilities across the province.
  • There are shortages of over 250 subsidized vehicles for use by social workers to visit various communities.
  • The department failed to transfer R 7.6 million rand to 123 non-profit organizations, leaving them to struggle to pay bills and to deliver much needed social services to the poor and vulnerable people of our province.

The report tabled in this House today, paints a picture of a department that is on the brink of collapse.

Honourable Speaker, through you, to MEC Dr. Pumza Dyantyi, your department is in a state of maladministration, financial mismanagement, lack effective internal controls and failure in risk management to say the least.

The question that begs to be answered now, does the MEC have a plan? A turnaround plan, or a rescue plan? If not, why not, if so, please tells us specifically what you are going to do to fix this broken department in order to stop it from collapse.

Honourable Speaker, the MECs department is so broken that in a written reply to me she admitted that 34 officials have been put on full paid leave, costing the taxpayers R 5 million rand to sit at home, while slow disciplinary processes stall much need social service delivery for months on end.

This five million rand could have bought food parcels that would have sustained 800 hungry families over a period of 12 months.

The rot has reached such proportions in the Department that the MEC, yet again refused, in writing, to disclose any information on forensic investigations being conducted into corruption, criminal and internal labour matters, fingering Umnotho, BOSASA and many others.

Honourable Speaker, this bad state of affairs would not happen under a DA led provincial government.

We will ensure that the payment of all public monies is transparent, investigations are dealt with swiftly, and that money meant for social welfare services to the most vulnerable and poor are spent on those services, uplifting the poor, instead of rewarding corrupt politicians and officials with extended paid leave holidays and cover-ups.

We will also establish an independent unit dedicated to identifying and prosecuting politicians and officials that break the law and we will protect and encourage ‘whistle blowers’ who identify and report these thieves.

The DA is the only party that is capable of fixing this department.

We have a plan, and our plan includes, implementing regular lifestyle audits on our MECs, MPLs and all government employed officials and if anyone is found guilty of eating or stealing the people’s money we will sentence them to 15 years jail sentence.

We are against corruption, Are you?

I call upon the people of the Eastern Cape to say no to corruption by joining hands with the DA in its fight against corruption. We must stand together in our fight for better social services.

It is our responsibility to stop corruption as it is spreading like pollution and causing destruction. Corruption has become so endemic, that it is corrupting municipalities from within. One after another, they are collapsing.

Corruption is destroying us, it needs to be destroyed.

Honourable Speaker, if the MEC is serious about improving the department’s performance, fighting corruption and improving social services delivery she must implement effective consequence management in order to stop unethical behaviour.

Misconduct is all about behaviour or conduct of the employee on the job in relation to the departments rules, policies, procedures and compliance with legislative prescripts.

Performance is all about how the employee does the job – i.e. quality of work, and sadly, the quality of the work output by some of the top officials sitting her today lacks quality.

The committee report tabled today bears testimony of poor performance and unethical behaviour.

The mission of this August House of the People’s Assembly and its Portfolio Committees is to ensure oversight and accountability of the MEC and senior officials for their performance.

The committee members covered a wide range of oversight activities to ensure that they do their job, but the accountability dilemma comes when this House doesn’t affect consequence management on its MECs.

This is due to the failure of the ANC as a political party to take real action and follow through on consequence management as comrades and cadres bend and break the law with impunity.

As individuals, it is our capacity for self-accountability that keeps us functioning ethically and responsibly. While people may be accountable to others, they may not be as accountable to themselves when there is no one else to observe, monitor or hold them responsible.

Self-accountability is the cornerstone of ethics: It is who you are and what you do when no one is watching. When you have a well-developed sense of self-accountability, you are honest with yourself, and are answerable and responsible for what you say and do.

Being ethical is not limited simply to knowing and following ethical codes.

Ethical behaviour also involves striving to bring our highest values into our work and aspiring to do our best in all interactions. It is doing the right thing, in the right manner, for the right reasons and with the right attitude.

In closing, Honourable Speaker, the ANC of today is not the same as the ANC of former Statesmen and President of SA, Nelson Mandela. It took years for the ANC to build trust and a credible reputation, but it only took a few years to ruin it.

The ANC of today words ring hollow as good words alone does not make you a good political party, but only good deeds will make you a great party again. So, stop stealing the people’s money! and demonstrate ethical behaviour.

We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings. Moral courage is the highest expression of humanity.

Does the ANC have the right political appetite to implement real effective consequence management that will deter there cadres from unethical behaviour?

In the DA, we sleep peacefully because the best sleeping pill is a clear conscience.

The DA agrees with the content of the report and supports the findings and recommendations in the report.

I thank you.