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.

Abandoned Kempton Park Hospital used for alleged criminal activities

The abandoned Kempton Park Hospital is now allegedly being used for criminal activities instead of being refurbished and re-opened to help to ease pressure at Tembisa and Edenvale Hospital, which are currently overcrowded and unable to render adequate healthcare services.


Residents of Kempton Park cannot continue to travel long distances to Tembisa and Edenvale Hospital to receive healthcare services, while their nearest hospital has been abandoned.


The DA conducted an oversight inspection at the abandoned Kempton Park Hospital following numerous complaints from the residents about the alleged criminal activities happening in the building. We were disappointed to discover that there were learners in school uniforms from the neighbouring schools inside the abandoned hospital during school hours. These learners have found a new ‘chilling’ spot where they are prone to indulging in alleged criminal activities.


The DA will continue to put pressure on both the Gauteng Department of Health and the Department of Infrastructure Development to ensure that this hospital is revamped and re-opened as people in this area are in dire need of this facility. We will be tabling follow-up questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to ascertain when the renovations of this hospital will begin and when the hospital will be re-opened.

Children’s rights to essential services continue to be undermined

Children’s rights to access essential learning equipment and shelter continue to be undermined by the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD).

In the face of Child Protection Week, children continue to suffer due to the DSD’s constant underspending on its allocated budget for the programmes meant to deliver welfare services to children.

South Africa may be celebrating this week, yet there is nothing to celebrate, while children who are solely dependent on the government for survival are failed by the very same government on which they rely.

Year after year DSD celebrates children, while it has failed to meet its target of placing children in foster care.

According to the department’s fourth-quarter report for the 2020/21 financial year, only 16 811 children were placed in foster care compared to the targeted 17 654. The department also failed to meet its target of providing psychosocial support services as only 48 122 children accessed the service compared to the target of 71 092. 1342 children were provided with non-centre-based services compared to the target of 1902.

In addition, while 172 717 children were targeted to be registered for Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes only 156 940 were registered, 201 of 281 children with disabilities were registered in ECD programmes and only 105 919 children accessed registered partial care facilities compared to the target of 157 150.

This department is failing our children and one week of Child Protection Awareness is not enough. All children deserve to benefit from government programmes and not a selected few individuals.

Therefore, the DA demands that this department must ensure that the most vulnerable in our society, particularly the children, do not suffer by ensuring that targets are met for children’s programmes.

We also urge all stakeholders to work together to stop the cycle of neglect, abuse, violence, and exploitation of children. However, to protect our children this department must ensure that it meets its target for foster care placement and other psychosocial support services that our children need.

Our children are the future of this country hence they must be protected, and the DA will do everything to ensure this happens.

Department of Social Development misses dignity packs target yet again, Gauteng learners left to suffer

Girls still miss days of schooling or use unhealthy materials during their menstruation because of the Gauteng Department of Social Development’s failure to meet its target to distribute dignity packs to learners across the province. 


This department’s incompetency can no longer be tolerated as female learners’ dignity continue to be trampled on when it should be protected.


According to the department’s fourth quarterly report for the 2021/2022 financial year, only 636 119 dignity packs were distributed to learners compared to the target of 2.1 million which is equivalent to 30, 2 percent.


This is unacceptable and indicates that most learners that are in dire need of dignity packs did not access them due to the department’s failure to meet its target in this regard.


Furthermore, only 151 797 (65.4%) of school uniform packs were distributed compared to the targeted 232 098.


This is an unfortunate failure by the department as Covid-19 should have spurred it on to exceed its targets considering that its mandate is to alleviate poverty and provide essential support to the vulnerable members of this province. 


Considering that many people have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many parents are unable to afford to buy sanitary pads and school uniforms for their children and they are solely dependent on this department to assist. 


This is a crucial time when the department needs to prioritise providing dignity packs and school uniforms to Gauteng learners.


Therefore, it is not acceptable that the department blames its underperformance on Covid-19 and the lockdown regulations. Covid-19’s arrival caught this department with their pants down.


For far too long, the DA has been demanding the establishment of a database with the addresses and contact details of the beneficiaries of the dignity packs and school uniforms. This will ensure that all learners registered on the database have access to this critical service.


The DA will continue to exert pressure on the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Morokane Mosupyoe, to establish a database for all the learners benefiting from the dignity packs and the school uniform programme.


Education is a basic right, and no child deserves to miss a day of schooling because of menstruation or not having a proper school uniform. It is high time that this department delivers on its core mandate of assisting the vulnerable people of Gauteng.


Gauteng ECDs continue to suffer as DSD fails to disburse the Covid-19 stimulus package

Maphindis Day Care Centre in Mpilisweni section, Thokoza, Ekurhuleni is struggling to provide children with balanced meals and to sustain its operations due to the Gauteng Department of Social Development’s (DSD) failure to pay out the Covid-19 Early Childhood Development (ECD) Stimulus Package.

ECDs continue to suffer while children starve, yet the department has received R77 million from the ECD Employment Stimulus Relief Fund which is supported by the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme.

This centre is one of many ECDs across the province that are struggling to sustain their operations due to financial constraints.

Maphindis Day Care Centre has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as most of its funders have pulled out. Parents cannot afford to pay the ECD fees for their children as many have lost employment during this period. The centre is now dependent on food donations and a little money received from a few parents that can still afford to pay for the ECD fees. This centre is also struggling to pay for its operational costs and to ensure that children have access to all ECD basic educational needs.

The department received the money in October 2020, and to date, it has only paid out R37 million to the ECDs across the province which is equivalent to 48 percent of the total money.

This was revealed by the Gauteng Department of Social Development MEC, Morakane Mosupyoe while responding to my oral questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

This money is meant to help the ECD services recover from the loss of income because of the pandemic and not for the department to keep in its coffers.

Furthermore, ECD facilities are mainly run by women and therefore the slow disbursement of this stimulus package perpetuates the suffering of women.

The DA will continue to engage with the affected ECDs and put pressure on the department to disburse the money. We will also be writing to the Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s Social Development Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Refilwe Kekana to call for an urgent meeting with MEC Mosupyoe and the HOD to explain to the committee the reasons behind the delays in disbursing the ECD stimulus package.

Failure to spend this money is a serious crime to those that need it the most as it will be returned to the treasury. The DA will fight for this not to happen.

Gauteng residents continue to suffer due to the Department of Social Development’s constant under spending

The Gauteng Department of Social Development has been constantly underspending on its allocated budget whilst the vulnerable residents of Gauteng continue to suffer. To be honest – this department has been caught with its pants down when Covid-19 arrived on our shores.  Underspending by R438 million for such a crucial department is a criminal offence. Social Development used to be a department that I thought many did not pay attention to but with the Covid-19 pandemic, I understood truly how crucial its role is. 

Premier, I listened with full concentration as you delivered the State of the Province Address on Monday. In the beginning, you said you would be honest and mention the successes but also acknowledge the shortcomings of your government and I listened attentively. None of the shortcomings were mentioned.

During the Covid-19 period, the department was forced to act on impulse and accommodate homeless people. Then they promised that they would develop a much-needed homelessness strategy and even allocate R84 million to this plan. 

A promise was made and presented to the portfolio committee, it is now February 2022 almost 2 years since Covid-19 came and there is no strategy presented to the committee. The Minister of Public Works donated six buildings to this province to be used as shelters – again nothing has come of these buildings. 

The young and vulnerable people of this province were denied much-needed dignity packs as well as school uniforms. On paper without thorough analysis, one would be made to believe that the department is meeting its targets but what is happening is that the department keeps on rolling over funds from the previous year. 

Let me remind this House that living with albinism or having a monthly period is not a choice. At this moment, I would like to pay respect to the late Kuli Roberts – a fighter for people with albinism.

When will cooperatives be transitioned into businesses that are incubated so that they can bid fairly for the work that they do? For almost four years, the department has told the committee that they are busy appointing a company that will sub-contract cooperatives. This is not happening because this is the area in which the department is failing dismally. 

In 2014, I found the same cooperatives on the database – no growth but solely dependent on government, now that government due to treasury regulations cannot finance cooperatives, they are struggling to stay afloat, and some are closing their doors. 

Whilst the department is getting clean audits, many NGOs that work for this government continue to get late payments. 

Yes, finally the monitoring and evaluation was started in the department, but they don’t seem to understand how to capacitate NGOs to ensure that they are compliant, or the department doesn’t know how to maintain compliance with regards to NGOs.

Either way, the beneficiaries and staff employed by these NGOs are the ones that suffer.

The ECD stimulus package would have gone a long way to cushioning the ECD sector, but the department was not ready to spend that money. 

Honourable premier, you made a promise on Monday to the people of Gauteng that you will release the SIU reports. From the Social Development perspective, I am waiting to see the outcome of the conduit payments investigations where to this day nothing has happened – a person went missing!

In conclusion, the Gauteng Department of Social Development needs a more effective and proactive monitoring and evaluation unit that develops compliant solutions to assist the welfare sector. This will ensure on-time payments for NGOs so that the vulnerable are protected and there is continuous empowerment of NGOs to ensure that treasury requirements are complied with. The department poverty alleviation programmes also need to contribute to job creation or entrepreneurship in this province. This is urgent and we demand an emergency response. 

I thank you!

Department of Social Development fails vulnerable people of Gauteng as it continues to underspend and underperforms

Thank you Speaker,

In five years, the vulnerable people of Gauteng have been increasingly let down by this department as more of our Gauteng people needed this department, the more the department failed them by increasing underspending from R19,7 million in 2016/17 financial year to R438 million in 2020/21. This five-year under expenditure is now at a staggering collective amount of R1.38 billion.

For the year under review:

Just programme 1: Administration, underspending by R38.3 million is more than the whole under-expenditure of the department in 2016/17. This year, the department still had a vacancy rate of 752 posts. Goods and services not procured are a great concern. It is a tragedy when vulnerable people are denied access to school uniforms, dignity packs, and food parcels especially when Covid-19 has taken away so many people’s livelihoods. Failure to spend the Presidential ECD Employment Stimulus Relief Fund and ECD budget are also serious concerns. Many building projects are going on for too long. 

Overall, the main challenge facing this department is the lack of passion and commitment to serve the most vulnerable people of Gauteng. The MEC seems to have the passion but some of her crucial senior staff don’t seem to.

Speaker, it feels like the department provides disjointed information almost like they do not believe that we will read the whole annual report. From Page 71 – 175 (Institutional Programme Performance Information)

  • Department gave half explanations on failures to achieve targets (e.g. Page 72: with regards to internships, the deviation is 82 but the explanation is only given for 8 interns, no explanation for the other 74)
  • In many areas the department states “it should be noted that the actual achievements for indicators/targets do not reflect performance for the entire financial year, yet this document is an annual report. (This is mischievous actually).
  • Covid-19 is used as an explanation for failing to meet targets in many areas, yet that should have been the reason to exceed the target for this department. 
  • The department provides the same descriptors with different targets and different actuals. Disjointed information in many areas that does not make sense e.g.: Families participating in reunification programmes by the government: 411 (page 111) vs 2124 (page 113). Many felt like duplications descriptors of APPs but with different targets and actuals. 
  • All the above pages were also found wanting by the Auditor-General.

Page 316: R138,000 staff debt is written off (no effort made to recover it)

Let me re-iterate some of the findings of the Auditor-General which concerned me too:

  • Lawsuits cost R79.5 million without an outcome being determined. 
  • Irregular expenditure has more than doubled from the previous year: R336 million to R682 million and no steps taken to curb it. Taking the AGs comments further one notices that no action has been taken on these matters – which shows a lack of accountability for public funds.
  • Previously the department was failing to comply with Circular 21, now the department is failing to comply with treasury regulation 16 A6.1 (goods and services over R500,000 were procured with inviting competitive bidding) 
  • Many transfers were not made for their intended purposes as required by treasury regulation 8.4.1
  • The information reported on children and families “did not find material findings on the usefulness and reliability of the reported performance information for this programme.”
  • There are significant internal control deficiencies that led to non-compliance
  • Senior management had poor controls with NPOs

Failure to pay NGOs on time remains a serious challenge for the department. After years of complaining, finally, there is a much-needed monitoring and evaluation team yet – there are NGOs that are said to be non-compliant leading to late payments or simplyworked out of the system. I shall continue to call for an independent arbitration committee for NGOs and the department because the appeals mechanism in the department is not working properly. 

I thank you!

Loss of income from Covid-19 lockdown main contributing factor to 90% increase in Gauteng suicide cases

While residents continue to suffer the consequences of the economically disastrous Covid-19 lockdown of 2020 and 2021, cases of suicide in the province have increased by 90%, from 695 cases reported during the 2019/20 financial year to 1325 deaths reported since April 2020 to date.

In a reply to my written question to the MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, it was revealed that the contributing factors to those choosing to end their life included depression, loss of income during the COVID-19 pandemic, financial difficulties, death of family members and domestic violence.

It is terribly sad to imagine what pain these vulnerable individuals had been going through to reach such a dark point in their life. Even survivors of suicide have disclosed that it is never an easy decision, and mostly one taken out of desperation to release themselves from the pain they have no way of eradicating.

What is even further disturbing is that the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) has no specific programmes that directly tackle the increase in suicide rates.

In a reply to my written question to the MEC for Social Development, Morakane Mosupyoe, the department only has social workers who provide a broad range of social, emotional, behavioural, school and family interventions using methods of practice in communities and schools.

These include prevention and awareness programmes that mostly focus on building resilience of communities, learners, and youth such as Social Behaviour Change programmes, Parenting Programmes and Ke Moja Drug Prevention programmes. Further to this, the department provides psychosocial support services, screening, referrals and management of cases of affected learners and their families, while the provision of therapeutic interventions includes individual therapy for those with emotional and behavioural problems, individual counselling bereavement/grief support, and referrals for specialised services and support, group therapy, trauma debriefing and family therapy.

The department lastly stated that they provide crises interventions and rapid responses to deal with incidents such as learner deaths, child protection, abuse and neglect, trauma debriefing, bereavement, violence, depression, and attempted suicide.

While these services are the bare minimum that any social development department should provide, there is still an urgent need for government to formulate more programmes that are far more focused on the issues of suicide and mental illnesses. The stigma of these still exist in society and far too many people are suffering in silence and isolation.

The Gauteng DSD must embark on a more aggressive awareness campaign of what counselling and support services are available to those who are suffering.  Many victims feel that there is no help within their reach, and therefore need to me made more aware of what services are available and where they can access them.

The Department can start off with making their website far more easily accessible through a simple Google search, as it is currently impossible to find any such website. Imagine how frustrating this must be for someone considering suicide, but still trying to seek help.

The Gauteng DSD website should have a dedicated page of all resources available to those suffering any form of mental illness, that includes the closest services available to them. When one is suffering through depression, it takes a profound amount of effort to try pull themselves out, and therefore it should not require so much effort to access the help they deserve.

Depression is the silent pandemic that has been ignored for far too long. If we are wanting to be a more caring and sympathetic society, we need to acknowledge and confront this pandemic head on.


Poor and vulnerable people left without much-needed resources due to the DSD’s failure to spend R438.1 million

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.

71% of government contracts in Ekurhuleni awarded to service providers outside the municipality

The ANC-PA-IRASA Coalition government in Ekurhuleni has exported 71.5% of its total tenders awarded in the first quarter of this financial year to businesses operating outside the municipality.

Total expenditure on procurement of goods and services for the first quarter amounted to R60.7 million, however only R17.3 million of this was spent on local service providers.

In a municipality with a 39% unemployment rate, it is concerning that opportunities for residents of Ekurhuleni are exported to other municipalities or provinces.

I have been to a light industrial business hive in Etwatwa which, at a price tag of R44million, is nothing more than a white elephant as the facility has sat vacant for two years since it opened.

If projects like this were fully operational, residents would be in a better position to upskill themselves, grow their businesses and contribute to the needs of Ekurhuleni while making a living for themselves – ultimately, feeding their families and creating jobs.

I have seen other such hives across the municipality that are in a similar state.

Public funds invested in projects such as these to assist people are nothing but monuments standing testament to the ineptitude of the ANC and its coalition partners in Ekurhuleni.

Ekurhuleni cannot continue its current trajectory.

Residents deserve a government that stimulates an environment conducive to economic growth and job creation, not a government that traps residents in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness.

Under a DA-led Ekurhuleni, centres such as these will be repurposed to ensure that they fulfil the functions they were intended to do. In the DA municipality of George, youth cafes such as these have been used to stimulate economic activity for the youth and upskilling programmes have gone a long way to reducing unemployment in economically depressed areas.

Functioning Hives will ensure that government spending is localised because the requisite skills and functions will be available at a local level – ultimately benefitting the people of Ekurhuleni.

A DA government in Ekurhuleni will get things done to ensure that Ekurhuleni works!