Delivery of social services to poor and vulnerable drastically hampered by lack of funds and resources

Issued by Kobus Botha, MPL
Shadow MEC for Social Development

Residents of the Eastern Cape will be hard-pressed to find support from the Department of Social Services in their time of need. Overworked officials, runaway vacancies and a general lack of resources are bringing the delivery of critical services to a grinding halt.

Residents are forced to stand in queues for hours, and if they are lucky enough to find an official, the chances are they will not be helped because there are no working laptops available.

New Social Development MEC, Bukiwe Fanta, revealed that in the Department there are currently 263 vacancies across all districts and services, with some vacancies dating as far back as 2017.

These vacancies have resulted in overloaded and demoralised officials, abuse of sick leave and absenteeism and significant backlogs in service delivery. Notably, by not filling posts, the additional workload and negative impact on morale have resulted in even more staff resigning.

MEC Fanta also revealed that there are currently at least 65 staff in acting positions, with some having held those positions since the 2018/19 financial year. Many of these officials have not been receiving acting allowances.

Download IQP here

MEC Fanta also revealed that the Department needs more than R42 million to buy laptops and computers for their staff and a further R35.4 million for vehicles on top of the R60 million already allocated.

MEC Fanta said the Department had made R5.2 million available for these tools of trade this financial year, which had been used to purchase 271 laptops.

This is a drop in the ocean, as there are 975 staff who need laptops, and a further 904 staff need their existing laptops replaced. An additional 657 PCs need to be replaced, and 177 new PCs are needed.

The MEC said that due to the economic situation, no time frame could be given for when the budget would be available to clear the backlogs.

Download written response from MEC here

Our people are left helpless at the hands of a crumbling department.

The Western Cape government has increased the number of social workers employed by the Department over the years, increased support services to the homeless, increased funding of substance abuse services, and run a successful One Home One Garden programme that has benefited 6 629 households, helping to ensure food security.

The DA will continue to pursue every avenue available and apply pressure on the Department to prioritise services meant for the poor and vulnerable.