Gauteng Department of Social Development must assist NPOs in becoming compliant

The Gauteng Department of Social Development has not allocated R258 million to NPOs because they are non-compliant; however, the department is not doing enough to ensure that NPOs comply so they can continue rendering critical services to their beneficiaries.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is demanding that the Department of Social Development explain what will happen to the beneficiaries of the NPOs that will not receive funding because of non-compliance. Furthermore, the department must explain which sectors are affected and the number of beneficiaries in each sector.

Some NPOs who provide critical services to communities often discover that they are non-compliant, leading to them losing out on funding from the Gauteng Department of Social Development. This means that the vulnerable in our communities will not be able to access the services they need.

This information was revealed during a recent Portfolio Committee meeting held last week at which the department and NPOs were present.

In addition, the DA demands that the MEC for Social Development, Mbali Hlophe, explain exactly what the department means when they say that NPOs are non-compliant. The NPOs who attended this meeting indicated that they are worried about the term non-compliant as they are threatened with this term. In addition, it is also used as a weapon by the department to terminate funding.

According to the department, non-compliance means not complying with the following legislations:

  • NPO Act
  • Municipal By-Laws
  • Public Finance Management Act (PFMA)

There are also additional Acts depending on the sector the NPO operates in Acts depending on the sector the NPO operates in:

  • Children Act
  • Older Person’s Act

Disability policy noting that there is no act in this sector

Whilst this makes sense and is a legal requirement for the department, the department is also supposed to assist NPOs by capacitating them to ensure that they are compliant.

The department states that they have negotiated with municipalities to assist with conditional registration for some NPOs. This was always one area that contributed to NPOs being non-compliant.

For years, the department failed to capacitate all NPOs that they were funding to become compliant and failed to reach a consensus with municipalities around the impact of by-laws.

The DA will continue to fight for the NPOs to be assisted to be compliant as it is risky to have beneficiaries in non-compliant NPOs. The department needs to improve its capacitation of NPOs through their monitoring and evaluation unit.

Gauteng Department of Social Development abandons NPOs

Despite the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) best efforts to coordinate a roundtable discussion on NPOs funding with the Gauteng Department of Social Development through the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, the department failed to attend the meeting.

The roundtable discussion was held in Rosebank last Thursday to discuss the service delivery implications of the termination of the NPOs funding.

At least 20 NPOs and the Gauteng Welfare Forum representing all NPOs in the province were present. Despite the seriousness of this meeting which was requested six months ago, the department did not bother to attend.

This shows their disregard for the services offered by NPOs and disrespect for the legislative arm that has the mandate to conduct oversight of the department’s work.

Since September last year, the DA has been asking the department to meet with the NPO sector. This came after it announced that R83 million will be reprioritised away from NPOs. According to the department’s third quarter report, NPOs in the Older Persons and Child and Welfare sector have had their funding taken away from them.

R42,2 million was moved from NPOs that provide services to older persons while R40,8 million was shifted from NPOs that provide services to Child Care and Youth Centres.

The moving around of funds by the department means that many NPOs did not receive funds from October 2022.

This is the reason why many NPOs are struggling to offer welfare services to the needy and vulnerable people of this province, pay employees’ salaries and sustain their services.

Hundreds of needy children will now suffer with no proper care and shelter because many NPOs will be forced to shut down.

The DA will continue to use all the mechanisms at our disposal to ensure that we force the department to reconsider its strategy of shifting funds away from NPOs. This has a detrimental effect on the lives of innocent people who are solely dependent on NPOs for survival.

We are calling all Gauteng residents to sign the DA’s petition to force the Gauteng Department of Social Development to scrap the new NPO funding model. To sign the petition please click here.

DSD’s failure to follow proper procurement processes deprives thousands of poor learners of school uniforms

Thousands of underprivileged Gauteng learners will yet again be deprived of access to much-needed school uniforms due to the Gauteng Department of Social Development’s (DSD) failure to follow proper procurement processes.

The department was not honest when it claimed in a recent briefing that the Supply Chain Management tender was suspended due to the Constitutional Court Judgement on Preferential Procurement Processes Regulations, 2017.

However, the judgment was suspended for a period of 12 months, valid till 26 January 2023, allowing departments to continue with the procurement of contracts.

For this reason, the National Department of Social Development successfully secured 12 cooperatives to supply 6151 school uniforms in Gauteng through proper tender processes.

Five years in a row, Gauteng DSD has constantly failed to spend the budget for school uniforms and dignity packs because they cannot resolve the specifications and tenders to cooperatives.

In the previous financial year, 636,119 or 30.2% of dignity packs were distributed compared to the target of 2.1 million dignity packs. 1,463,881 learners did not access dignity packs.

151,797 or 65.4% of school uniform packs were distributed compared to a target of 232,098. This means that 80,301 learners were denied access to school uniforms.

Gauteng DSD must stop shifting the blame for its incompetence and do better to spend the department’s budget to serve our poor and struggling communities.

Learners across the province continue to suffer because this department lacks the political will to ensure learners have access to school uniforms and dignity packs.

The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC of Social Development, Mbali Hlophe, must put urgent processes in place to ensure that contracts are awarded to cooperatives for Gauteng learners to be supplied with uniforms come January 2023.

The DA will continue to fight and expose this department’s incompetency to ensure our children’s dignity is restored through the provision of dignity packs and school uniforms.

An alarming increase in child murders is a grave concern as a woman allegedly burns her new-born baby

The alarming increase in child murder cases across the country is a clear indication that the lives of children are in danger, yet the South African Police Service (SAPS) is ill-equipped, untrained, under-resourced and failing to ensure the safety of the children.

In a recent incident that was reported to the Democratic Alliance (DA) Councillor, Mariana Kruger, a woman in Vaal was allegedly caught red-handed, burning her newborn baby girl.

The local leader was allegedly caught by a recycler at the Tshepiso Smartising Dumping site and has since been arrested and charged with murder.

South Africa has a scourge of gender-based violence, and in most cases, the victims are innocent children.

The DA proposes that the Gauteng Department of Social Development prioritises reviving awareness campaigns on gender-based violence and child abuse to save our children.

In addition, rising unemployment and increase in food prices and cost of living are concerns as families can no longer afford to put food on the table, and children are now suffering due to starvation. Many families are relying more on the government for support.

Therefore, it is unacceptable that the Gauteng Department of Social Development constantly fails to spend its budget on poverty alleviation programmes. In the 2021/22 financial year, the department failed to spend R122 million, which could have been used to provide support to struggling families.

The safety and future of children are of utmost importance to the DA, and we will continue to fight to ensure that they are protected. The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Mbali Hlophe, must speed up the process of placing children into foster care and adoption to ensure their safety.

A capable DA-led Gauteng government will ensure that this department spends its entire allocated budget to benefit the province’s most vulnerable people. This will ensure that all our children are protected as residents will have access to social welfare services that will assist them in raising their children. We will also ensure that children are not denied their right to a caring home, as we will also reduce the backlog in foster care placement and adoption.

DA petitions DSD against the new NPO funding model

The Gauteng Department of Social Development’s (DSD) new Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) funding model will result in more suffering for thousands of needy people in the province, hence the DA is petitioning the department against the new funding model.

This new NPO funding model will also result in job losses, with many NPOs being forced to shut down because they are solely dependent on the department for funding.

Furthermore, this is an incompetent department that has constantly failed to spend its entire budget and achieve all its targets and will not be able to execute the mandate of the NPOs.

The department has indicated that it is reducing the NPOs funding and initiating an institutional realignment strategy with a focus on “building state capacity”.

This is unacceptable as it is designed to take over the function and roles of the NPOs sector in what can only be described as a socialist attempt to control social development and take control of the funding that comes from the National Treasury.

Furthermore, the department clearly stated that funding will not be historical and general, but rather be informed by the current priorities of the department.

This means that the funding of NPOs for the 2023/24 financial year will only be considered because their programmes are aligned with the department’s identified needs and according to the Institutional Review Project. However, the department is not providing clarity about the Institutional Review Project and what it means for the NPO sector.

There will be no adoption and no new foster care services that will be funded for the NPOs in the 2023/24 financial year. In addition, the indicators that were allocated only to NPOs will now be shared between the government and NPOs and in some instances will only be allocated to the government.

The DA will not allow this current government to destroy the lives of the needy by shutting down the NPOs. We will continue to fight to ensure that the new Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Mbali Hlophe, reconsider the effects of the decision made by the previous MEC Morokane Mosupyoe as it will have a huge negative impact on the needy people of this province who are dependent on NPOs for survival.

We call all the Gauteng residents to sign our petition to force the department to scrap the new NPO funding model.

We call all the Gauteng residents to sign our petition to force the department to scrap the new NPO funding model. To sign the petition please click here.

Needy people will suffer with no access to adequate social services as DSD dumps NPOs

Thousands of needy people who are dependent on Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) for shelter, food and social services will now be left in the cold as the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) wants to reduce the reliance on NPOs.

This will also have a huge negative impact on the NPOs as they will be out of work, and many will be forced to shut down because the department is intending to end its relationship with the NPO sector.

According to a document circulated by DSD, they will be initiating an institutional realignment strategy with a focus on “building state capacity” and reducing the reliance on NPOs.

The department claims that the NPOs have been misusing the funds given to them by the department. The DA believes that this is a smokescreen to hide the department’s incompetence as they are responsible to monitor and evaluate each funded NPO with the help of the monitoring officials appointed to each NPO.

Creating state capacity is another term for a socialist state where the government controls everything. Looking at the current state of our state-owned enterprise, the government cannot manage any organisation.

The loss of financial support to the social environment and the hundreds of needy people that NPOs serve will be so immense. The principles that the department intends to apply do not make sense and are an example of a socialistic system of governance where the government controls everything.

This shows how this ANC government wants to control everything especially when there is money involved.

Failure by our government to run other state institutions, like Eskom, South African Airways and DENEL is proof that the ANC government cannot manage any state-owned enterprise. The only workable solution for all these state-owned enterprises is to privatise them.

The DA does not believe that the department has the expertise to handle these specialised social services offered by NPOs. Currently, the department’s social workers are overworked and struggling to meet deadlines.

The DA will work with the NPO sector in Gauteng to find a way to force the department not to go ahead with its plan to reduce NPOs in the province. We will be submitting proposals to the department on how to stop the misuse of funding by the NPOs. We stand with the NPOs against the department’s autocratic decision and, we will be petitioning the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Morokane Mosupyoe, to reconsider the impact of her decision as it will affect thousands of needy people in this province.

Tembisa residents are exposed to terrible conditions while accessing SASSA services

The residents of Tembisa continue to be exposed to appalling conditions when accessing social services at the Rabasotho SASSA office which is in dire need of refurbishment.

The residents are forced to queue outside because there is no waiting area or adequate space to accommodate them. During the rainy season, pensioners and mothers carrying babies have to be cramped in a small room that is used by SASSA officials as an office. The ablution facilities are not adequate as males and females are sharing.

The environment is not conducive to rendering social services to our people.

In 2015, the DA tabled questions in the National Assembly about the upgrades of this SASSA office. The former Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, stated that the Rabasotho SASSA office will not be upgraded by SASSA as the Ekurhuleni Municipality has confirmed that the building is earmarked for upgrade within their Urban Renewal programme.

The DA councillors in Ekurhuleni also tabled a motion in Council proposing that the City of Ekurhuleni must speed up the construction of the proposed precinct starting with the office space for SASSA. They also demanded the progress report and timelines from the SASSA management about the relocation of the SASSA office.

Six years later, no such upgrading has happened our people continue to endure terrible conditions at this office.

The DA has submitted a petition with over 2000 signatures to the National Assembly demanding the upgrades of the Rabasotho SASSA office.

Furthermore, today, the DA’s activist Nombulelo Dubula, a resident from Ward 7 Tembisa made a presentation to the Social Development Portfolio Committee in the National Assembly about the terrible state of the Rabasotho SASSA office and demanded urgent intervention.

The SASSA CEO was also in attendance when the presentation was made.

The DA through its members in the National Assembly will continue to ensure that there is budget set aside for the upgrading of this much needed facility.

We will continue to fight for a dignified SASSA office for Tembisa residents.

Gauteng Department of Social Development budget for the 2020/21 financial year excludes homeless people

Last year, I raised the issues of homelessness and the lack of resources allocated to this sector and that this is not being prioritized. I was shot down and told that homelessness is not the responsibility of the Gauteng Provincial Government and that local municipalities should take responsibility for this. 

However, little did we know during last year’s budget debate that we would be confronted with a worldwide pandemic such as the COVID-19. Had we prepared for homelessness back then, we would not have had the challenges we have had over the past few months when we were hit by this terrible pandemic and our country was placed under lockdown. 

Why are we yet again falling into this trap, that we have not yet learnt from these mistakes? Why have we still not ensured that homelessness is addressed in this budget and programmes.

Are we assuming that once lockdown is lifted, we will remove all homeless people from the shelters, and turn another blind eye towards them assuming that it won’t be our problem? We have still not worked on increasing our capacity for social workers within the province who can assist with counselling during this current state of depression. These social workers could have used this opportunity and the data collected to work on reintegration programmes for the most vulnerable and forgotten societies within Gauteng to ensure that we address homelessness in a pro-active manner. 

I further raised questions about what the department is doing for the LGBTI community and targets were set for a 1000 LGBTI beneficiaries to be assisted with psycho-social services. Yet only 79 have been assisted – 7.9% is a disgrace!

This proves once again that our most vulnerable communities such as the homeless and the LGBTI community, who still experience daily discrimination will remain the forgotten people within the Gauteng Province. We cannot only add these programmes to a list and hope that it will make us feel better as if we are working pro-actively to address concerns of the thousands within our province. We need to consciously work towards addressing these issues. If a target is set, we need to ensure proper accountability and monitoring throughout the year to ensure that these targets are indeed being met. 

I am disappointed that once again, 12 months later, we have not made any progress. We as the Democratic Alliance can no longer turn a blind eye to the performance of this department and the lack of commitment to actively address the concerns of the LGBTI and Homeless communities, hence we don’t support this budget tabled today.

DSD prohibits NGOs from distributing cooked meals while our people are starving

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has been reliably informed by NGOs from all regions in the province that the permits that were issued by the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) regional directors are only for the distribution of non-perishable foods.

They are therefore prohibited to prepare and distribute any cooked food with their DSD permits.

It is worrying that many shelters, drop-in centres and soup kitchens, where NGO’s cater for the most vulnerable and destitute are now forced to stop these feeding schemes funded by the private sector in fear of being arrested.

NGOs are further forced by the DSD to obtain a permit on a daily basis for that specific day and in some instances where home-cooked meals are delivered to various places by one specific NGO, they will require a permit per address that they wish to serve food at.

It is appalling, how the DSD has brought in yet more red tape to cripple the operations of the NGOs and their assistance to the most vulnerable.

The only beneficiaries of the constant moving of the goal posts is the DSD itself. It cannot continue to monopolise all distribution pertaining to food or assistance to the vulnerable, while our people in Gauteng die of starvation.

It also appears that our calls for more support for NGOs from the DSD are falling on deaf ears during this critical period of suffering.

The DSD needs to realise that it cannot fight poverty alone. It requires the experience, knowledge and support of the NGOs, but cannot expect it either if it alienates NGOs through red tape and the constant moving of goal posts.

The DA calls for these stringent measures for NGOs to be scrapped once and for all, and for the DSD to allow NGOs to assist the most vulnerable where the department has failed to do so.

Gauteng DSD fails to meet 48 hour turnaround time to distribute food parcels

The Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) has been failing to meet its 48 hour turnaround time to deliver food parcels to residents in need during the national lockdown period.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has received numerous complaints from residents who are desperately in need of food and who claim that they have put in requests for food parcels and the department has yet to respond within the allocated time of 48 hours.

DA Councillor, Lesego Lekoto from Mogale City Local Municipality applied for food parcels for six families on 8 April and to date those families have not yet received food parcels from the department. This despite the fact that the Councillor received an acknowledgement receipt of his request via email with a reference number indicating that the turnaround time for food deliveries is seven working days.

This is one of many requests where the Gauteng ANC-led administration is failing to fulfill its promise to poor families who are hungry for food. For these applicants, food parcels are the only way to provide for their families during this difficult time.

This clearly indicates that the department does not have a proper plan in place to distribute food parcels on time as per their pronouncement.

The DA calls on the Acting MEC for Social Development, Panyaza Lesufi to provide clarity on the turnaround time with regards to the distribution of food parcels as well as to fast-track the process of food parcel distribution to ensure that no family goes to bed with empty stomachs.