Honourable Speaker, Honorable Premier, protocol observed. Good day.
Honourable Speaker, I stand here a solemn, wretched, and disconsolate public representative.
It is unconscionable, Madam Speaker, that the Department of Social Development could not distribute Social Relief of Distress to all targeted beneficiaries, due to systemic incompetence that is prevalent in this Department.
The Department of Social Development has up to date only spent R22,754 million out of an allocated budget of R164,758 million for Social Relief of Distress, namely food parcels for the vulnerable and needy.
It still needs to spend R142,004 million in the next two months or run the risk of being the worst uncaring underperforming Government Department in history.
It is inexplicable that Covid-19 is blamed for not rendering these lifesaving services to the needy and vulnerable. We are all waiting with bated breath to see whether this R142,004 million will be spent in the next two months, if they could not even do it in the previous ten months. God forbid.
The Democratic Alliance condemns the non-procurement of food parcels with the contempt it deserves, and we consider this act, an abomination.
Hon Speaker, the Department of Social Development should be denunciated for its dependability score rate. Only a few officials struggle to keep the boat afloat, and I commend them.
Hon Speaker, herewith a list of underperformances, which are also part of the repetitive findings and house resolutions taken:
The Department of Social Development has:
(a) Underspent on infrastructure to the tune of R7,865 million, resulting in only two out of the five planned projects being implemented – shame on you!
(b) Failed to assess proof of 9 construction projects that are deemed to be completed – They have no clue what is going on with their infrastructure projects.
(c) Not rectified the 26 offices that were identified as being uninhabitable
(d) Only achieved 62.5% of its planned performance targets for Social Welfare Services, a regression as compared with 92.9% achieved in 2018/19 – The wheels of this Department are tumbling off.
(e) Not provided 627 beneficiaries with Social Relief of Distress (food parcels) for 2019/2020, as they could not timeously assess prospective SRD beneficiaries – what an indictment.
(f) Only achieved 26.1% of its planned targets for children and families for the year under review, regressing from 73,1% in 2018/19 to a mere 26,1% in 2019/20.
(g) Upgraded only 19 ECD centres in the vast informal settlements in our province, yet it has underspent its projected expenditure on ECD conditional grant by a whopping 92, 2%. It has only spent R1,558 million (1,2%) of the R132,584 million allocated – scandalous, beyond comprehension.
(h) Conducted integrated prevention programs on gender-based violence and overachieved by 219,3%, but notwithstanding the over achievement, there seems to be an increase in gender-based violence cases – what a contradiction. Newspapers have recently reported an increase in Gender-based violence cases
(i) No policy framework to guide the provision of services to people accommodated in shelters.
(j) Not paid a substantial number of NPO’s on time, and there are still NPO’s not been paid yet as a result of functionaries not performing their constitutional and institutional responsibilities.
The efficacy displayed by this Department goes beyond comprehension; their ineffectuality is obtrusive and often painfully obvious. They are an uncaring Department.
The Democratic Alliance condemns this calamitous act of a precipitous decline in the transfer of subsidies due to officials’ ineptness within the Department – Once again, shame on you, shame on you!
Honourable Speaker, recently, two NPOs have contacted me. They have last been paid their subsidies in July and August 2020. I am of the opinion there are more NPOs in this untenable situation.
In a capable state and under a DA run Government, our vulnerable will be treated with dignity and care.
It is evident that the current Provincial Government is incapable and uncaring, considering the multitude of NPOs not having received their subsidies and the R142, 004 million not yet spent on Social Relief of Distress (Food parcels).
The two NPOs that have contacted me and have not been paid since July/August 2020 are:
1. ACCV EcD Centre in Middelburg
2. Mary Coetzee Foster Home in Somerset East.
No subsidies have been received by the two NPOs for the third and fourth terms – What an indictment.
The acting HOD of the Department was duly informed of the hardship been endured by these NPOs, and hopefully, corrective steps will be taken.
Honourable Speaker, the compensation of employees is exploding. In 2018/19 the cost to employees stood at R1, 686, 151, 000 and it grew to R1, 794, 385, 000 in 2019/20, an increase of R108, 234, 000 which is equivalent to a 6,4% rise in the payment of employees. The outlay of compensation to employees is much higher than the previous financial year, but the services to our people have regressed exponentially. CUT THE FAT AND CUT OUT CADRE DEPLOYMENT.
Hon Speaker, there has been continuous underspending on the ECD grant and on building fixed structures – The repurposing of 60% of the total ECD grant to procure PPE’s for ECD centres must be closely monitored for the misuse of public funds.
Hon Speaker, I am once more appealing to this house and to the MEC for Social Development, Ms Lusithi, to consider reviewing the policies for norms and standards for infrastructure, specifically ECD infrastructure in informal settlements, as they miss out on stipulated criteria for funding as spelt out in an outdated departmental funding policy. The majority of our children reside in the myriad of informal settlements. Let us not consciously deprive and marginalized the dispossessed.
Hon Speaker, it is only a DA government that can and will create a life of value if performances and prudence are to be the yardsticks.
The Eastern Cape Department of Social Development has spent R6, 052 000 on catering, whilst its counterpart in the Western Cape has only spent R1, 463 000. The Eastern Cape Department of Social Development has spent a whopping R24, 107 000 on telephone and cellphones while in the Western Cape a mere R3, 731 000 were spent.
IT IS CLEAR WHERE THE FAT IS. Cut the fat and use the resources to the benefit of our deprived.
Hon Speaker, the actions of the Department of Social Development is smothering the very lives of the poorest, it is almost genocidal, and by consistently making these egregious errors, they expect us as members to believe the twaddle that they serve us with arrogance and smugness.
I rest my case.
The DA supports the report.