The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes with great concern that the Gauteng Department of Social Development has reprioritised funds for the compensation of employees, yet the department has a high vacancy rate for critical skills.
This information was revealed by the Gauteng Department of Social Development in a presentation to the Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s (GPL) Social Development Portfolio Committee during a virtual meeting.
According to the department’s fund reprioritizations in the special adjustment budget for the 2020/21 financial year, R74 963 000,00 has been reprioritized from the compensation of employees to food parcels; R14 649 000, 00 has been reprioritized from the compensation of employees to food banks and R1 388 000,00 has been reprioritized from the compensation of employees to substance abuse. In total R91 million has been reprioritized from compensation of employees by the department.
While we understand that there is a need for food security in this province there should however be a balance in ensuring that other services within the welfare sector are not compromised.
According to the department’s first quarter report for the 2020/21 financial year, the department has a vacancy rate of 44 percent for occupational therapists and a 36 percent vacancy rate for psychologists.
The department’s vacancy rate remains high at 15 percent, yet the money intended for filling these vacancies has been reprioritised.
Gauteng is still facing a severe shortage of social workers as the department has for several years failed to meet its target of employing sufficient social workers in the province.
It is high time that the department considers filling all critical vacant posts to ensure that our people receive critical welfare services.
The DA calls on the Gauteng Social Development MEC, Nomathemba Mokgethi to reconsider the department’s fund reprioritisation in the special adjustment budget for the 2020/21 financial year to ensure that the critical skills vacancies are filled as a matter of urgency.