The high vacancy rate at Gauteng Social Development affects quality of services to vulnerable residents

Vulnerable residents dependent on assistance from the Gauteng Department of Social Development (GDSD) are being subjected to long waiting times due to the high vacancy rate in the department. There is a high number of unemployed social workers in the province who can fill the critical vacancies in the department.

Currently, there are 149 social work and related professional positions that have not been filled, two occupational therapists, seven professional nurses, one psychologist, and six social science and related positions that have not been filled.

Furthermore, there are 77 administration, 32 families and children, 270 research and development, 37 restorative services, and 77 social welfare service positions that are still vacant.

This is worrying, as Gauteng has over 2.5 million unemployed residents and over 600,000 discouraged job seekers in the province.

In addition, GDSD is failing the most vulnerable in society, who are solely dependent on the services offered by them for survival, by not filling these vacant posts.

The social workers employed by the department have a high caseload, yet there are funded vacancies that are yet still to be filled. The National Department of Social Development claims to have a database of unemployed social workers which could be used to fill the vacancies. The Gauteng Department of Social Development should be utilising this database to reduce its high vacancy rate and improve its capacity to fulfil its mandate.

The department must do more to attract these much-needed staff members, as this will help reduce the caseload per employee. The quality of care given to the beneficiaries will also improve and reduce the unemployment rate.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) proposes that the department should have an efficient succession plan to ensure that as soon as a person retires, the vacancy is filled. This will ensure minimal interruption of services for our residents who need them the most.

Gauteng Social Development must reinstate NPO funding to save lives

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng supports the calls made by NPOs during a picket this week demanding the reinstatement of funding. They demand payment for all complaint NPOs, and the department must outline how they plan to take over beneficiaries of non-compliant NPOs.

Earlier this year, many NPOs had funds taken away from them and diverted to the substance abuse and poverty alleviation programmes in the Department of Social Development.

This has had dire consequences for many NPOs that provide critical services to the vulnerable in the community. Many had to close their doors because they did not have sufficient funding to continue paying their staff and rendering services to their beneficiaries.

During the picket, the NPOs demanded that their funding be backdated to April 2023. This is vital if the operations of the NPOs are to continue without interruptions. Premier Lesufi promised to pay NPOs, and staff resumed their work hoping to receive funding.

Earlier this year, the DA demanded that the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Mbali Hlophe, and her department assist NPOs in becoming compliant.

According to the department, non-compliance meant not complying with the following acts, depending on the sector the NPO operates in:
1. NPO Act;
2. Children Act;
3. Older Person’s Act, depending on the sector involvement of each NPO;
4. Municipal By-Laws;
5. Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

The DA will continue to engage with the Department of Social Development and the MEC on issues of NPO compliance. We will not allow the vulnerable residents of Gauteng to suffer because the government has cut NPO funding without a proper explanation and failed to assist NPOs in becoming compliant.

GP Social Development fails to meet first quarter targets

The Gauteng Department of Social Development has yet again failed to meet its own service delivery and poverty alleviation targets for the first quarter of the 2017/18 financial year.

Failure to meet these targets has a severe impact on service delivery, as programmes meant to uplift Gauteng’s most vulnerable residents are weakened due to the department’s incompetence.

According to the Gauteng Department of Social Development first quarter performance report for 2017/2018 financial year, the department has failed to reach their set target of recruiting professional social workers.

The department has recruited 2056 social workers against its target of 2172, there is a shortfall of 114 social workers.

Despite the fact that our province is facing a crisis with regards to a shortage of social workers, the ANC-led Gauteng administration cares little about the welfare of our people.

In terms of Social Welfare Services – HIV and AIDS, the department has failed to recruit 8393 people for EWPWP opportunities, only 6927 people were recruited while 1466 were denied access to opportunities.

This EWPWP programme is used as a tool to alleviate poverty yet this department that has a responsibility of taking care of the welfare of our people is failing its mandate of caring and uplifting our people.

Furthermore, the department had planned to reach 26 newly funded partial care sites (ECDs) managed by funded NPOs but only reached 14.

This performance is very concerning because of the mushrooming of unregistered facilities in the province; and our people who are desperate to access these services will turn to these unregistered facilities if the government is unable to meet their needs.

We can no longer tolerate the suffering of our people due to the incompetency of the department.

A new beginning for Gauteng under a DA-led government is needed, in order to ensure that our people are cared for. The ANC cannot be depended upon or trusted to care for the people of Gauteng.

We will hold Gauteng Department of Social Development MEC, Nandi Manyathula-Khoza accountable to ensure that the department urgently improves its performance as lives depend on it.

Gauteng Social Development: underspends, underperforms and understaffed

The Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) has failed to meet some of its targets for the first quarter of the 2017/18 financial, leaving the province’s most vulnerable citizens exposed.

In terms of its mandate, the DSD is tasked, inter alia, “to plan, implement, co-ordinate, and monitor the delivery of developmental social welfare services; to implement and monitor programmes in accordance with national norms and standards; and to develop and render specific services”.

If the Department is not meeting critical targets then it is failing in its mandate to serve the most vulnerable people of Gauteng.

For example, the DSD received a quarterly budget allocation of R1.1 billion and spent only R911.9 million. Thus, the Department underspent its budget by R180.2 million.

The budget underspending affected programmes such as Child Care and Protection Services, where only 55% (or 731) of the targeted 1 311 children were placed in foster care. It is worth noting that all four targets under Child Care and Protection Services were not achieved in the quarter under review.

Many of the missed targets are symptoms of understaffing in the Department, which sits with a vacancy rate of 20%.

These vacancies are also in critical positions: For social workers and related professionals, there is a vacancy rate of 96.4%; of the 14 occupational therapist posts, only 1 was filled resulting in a vacancy rate of 92.8%; and there was a 100% vacancy rate for a psychologist, as the Department could not fill the 1 post needed for the quarter.

It is clear that Gauteng’s DSD does not care about the people of Gauteng.

Several of the Department’s targets were not achieved as a result of beneficiaries not being aware of services being offered and were therefore not accessing them. Some of these were around older persons, persons with disabilities, family reunification programmes and other social work services, such as households in need not receiving psychosocial services.

I will be submitting a series of questions to the Department in order to ascertain what is being done to ensure that programme targets are met so that the vulnerable people of Gauteng receive much needed services from the Department.

Under a Democratic Alliance government, Gauteng’s most vulnerable will be a priority and the DSD will fulfill its mandate.