The poor and vulnerable people of this province who are solely dependent on NGOs and NPOs for survival are now suffering and are at risk of starvation as the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) fails to spend R438.1 million of its annual budget.
The constant failure by the department to spend on its allocated budget will see many of our vulnerable people with nowhere to go to find food and shelter.
This information was revealed in the department’s annual report for the 2020/21 financial year.
According to the department’s annual report, most of the department’s programmes were severely affected by under expenditure; The Social Welfare Services Programme underspent by R17.9 million which is mainly attributed to unspent funds on Antiretroviral (ART) food parcels, and the allocated budget for HIV social behaviour change not fully spent at the end of the financial year.
The department also underspent by R305 million on the Children and Families Programme, this was due to the Presidential ECD Employment Stimulus Relief Fund not spent as a result of the verification process for qualifying NPOs only being finalised late in the financial year.
The department also underspent by R13.2 million on Restorative Services Programme due to delays in the implementation of substance abuse-related mobile services as the department only contracted NPOs from the third quarter onwards.
There was also R63.8 million under expenditure on the Development and Research Programme. The expenditure for the programme was also affected by underspending of the allocated budget for NPOs.
In the past four years, the Gauteng Department of Social Development has underspent over R1 billion rand. The R438.1 million is a new under-expenditure.
It is concerning that all the continuing under expenditure by this department severely affects the rendering of services to the poor and vulnerable residents of this province. It is high time that this department prioritises spending its entire budget for the benefit of our people.
The DA has initiated a petition on behalf of NGOs to petition the Gauteng Provincial Legislature Social Development Oversight Committee, demanding the establishment of the dispute resolution committee: its objectives is to address disputes from the welfare sector and to investigate them with the Department of Social Development, ranging from late payments, cancellations of subsidies due to non-compliance and other matters with the NGO sector, while also developing a recommendation on the disputes.
We will continue to put pressure on the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Morakane Mosupyoe to ensure that her department spends on its allocated budget as many lives are dependent on that money for their day-to-day survival.