18 February 2011
Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini
Ladies and gentlemen of the media
Thank you and welcome to the Social Protection and Community Development Cluster media briefing session. The purpose of this media briefing is to provide more details relating to the commitments emanating from the State of the Nation Address.
In his State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma declared 2011 as the year of job creation. The work of this Cluster gives effect to the commitment to create jobs with the aim of putting our people first, to tackle poverty, invest in interventions that broaden opportunities, improve governance and institutional development and increase the assets of our people. All these are aimed at ensuring an inclusive economic growth.
This briefing will therefore elaborate on the cluster’s implementation of Rural Development Strategy, Job Creation, Social Security Reform, fighting Crime and corruption and Social Cohesion. The development of rural areas is one of this government’s priorities.
The Department of Rural Development is implementing the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP). This is a key strategic intervention linked to land and agrarian reform and food security. The aim is to combat rural poverty and underdevelopment in a comprehensive manner. The pilot phase of the programme has to date reached 39 rural wards countrywide and is being rolled out to all rural municipalities. The target is to reach 160 wards by 2012.
In addition, the department introduced the Recapitalisation and Development Programme to respond to the challenges of the collapsing land reform projects in the former homelands. We expect the programme to help struggling land reform projects and to ensure adequate support for productive utilisation and sustainability. Part of the programme is the revitalisation of the defunct irrigation and share equity schemes. The department has set aside 25 percent of the land acquisition budget for this purpose.
Government continues to collaborate with many formations such as corporate South Africa and FoodBank South Africa in delivering a food security programme targeted at vulnerable households. This programme will provide a wide range of material and infrastructural support to poor households to produce crops and livestock. With respect to rural infrastructure development, the Department of Public Works in collaboration with the Department of Defence and Military Veterans has completed community bridges in the Eastern Cape. An additional 30 community bridges will be built in rural areas, with particular focus on flood prone areas.
Ladies and gentlemen, the devastation, the loss of both life and assets caused by the ravages of the weather conditions experienced since December 2010 has been unprecedented. Government, with the support of our social partners, swung into action with the utmost alacrity to provide humanitarian assistance to affected individuals, families and communities.
Government’s latest assessment is that over 50 000 people have been adversely affected by the floods and we have provided humanitarian relief to over 20 000 people. Extraordinary generosity and solidarity are been shown by fellow South Africans in ongoing relief efforts undertaken by government and our social partners from business and civil society. The Social Protection Cluster will contribute in excess of R300 million to direct social relief. This is in addition to the R800 million that President Zuma alluded to in the State of the Nation Address.
These funds will emanate from contributions from the Departments of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Human Settlement and Social Development.
We all recognise the critical role of education in sustaining our development efforts. The Data shows that we have been successful in facilitating universal access to primary education and the Minister of Basic Education provided significant detail in respect of this priority. We wish to add that between 2009 and 2010 Grade R enrolment grew from 620 000 to 707 000. This clearly demonstrates that we may well exceed the Millennium Development Goal target on universal primary education.
To intensify our efforts to promote universal primary education, the Ministry of Women, Children and People with Disabilities will embark on “Access to Education for All Children” campaign. The campaign will focus on orphans and vulnerable children and promote integration of learners with special needs into the mainstream education system as part of Inclusive Education Policy. In addition, the Ministry will also conduct an audit of special schools with the view to address various challenges that have been reported.
The education process enhances our ability to ensure an increased supply of social workers. The Department of Social Development has awarded 5 574 social work scholarships to students to study social work at institutions of higher learning. This is part of our effort to create a skilled workforce and to address the critical shortage of social work professionals. The Social Development MINMEC has approved the rural allowance model for social workers working in remote rural areas as a complimentary effort in support of the recruitment and retention strategy for social workers.
Ladies and gentlemen, government will continue with our focus on ensuring that every child is given a good start early in life through the provision of quality Early Childhood Development. Currently, 432 727 children are subsidized at a cost of R12 to R15 per day in registered ECD facilities. In the next financial year, we will increase the number of subsidised ECD facilities from 16 250 to 17 000.
Alcohol and substance abuse is a major public health and social concern. President Zuma recently said that the time had come for us to work together against the scourge of alcohol and substance abuse. This scourge undermines our national effort to build a prosperous society and destroy lives, especially young lives. Our government recognises that the drug problem is a complex one, requiring decisive action in areas including education, health, law enforcement, social development and sport and recreation. To this end, we have launched the national anti-substance abuse campaign and to ensure that this matter receives the urgency which it deserves, Cabinet established an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to coordinate, support and strengthen existing measures to combat alcohol and substance abuse.
Supporting initiatives under the anti-substance abuse programme include the Phuza Wize and “Ke moja” – “I’m fine without drugs” campaigns. The Central Drug Authority will host the 2nd Biennial Substance Abuse Summit in March this year to provide us with a road map by which we will strengthen our national effort to combat alcohol and substance abuse.
Work has begun in earnest to promote school sport as a key component of our government’s endeavour to promote healthy lifestyle, particularly among young people. School sport is crucial in instilling important life lessons and qualities such as discipline, responsibility and self confidence in young children. It is in this context that the Ministers of Sport and Recreation and Basic Education have undertaken to develop a joint framework for school sport. The road map and roll out plan to bring back the culture of school sport will be marked by both training and campaigns aimed at generating and encouraging popular participation in sport.
However, it does not begin and end with school sport. Community sport is a vital part of engendering a culture of a healthy lifestyle and enhances sport development. Our practical steps to promote schools and community sport include training of teachers and administrators in the various sporting codes, making sport-and-recreation part of the school academic calendar through competitions at districts, provincial and national levels.
Social Security reform
Our country has made progress towards the establishment of a comprehensive system of social security. Government’s social assistance programme is extensive. Already Social Development has linked hundreds of social grants beneficiaries to sustainable community development projects.
The Department of Labour will enhance the capacity of its Employment Services Unit to link the unemployed to job opportunities. The South African Social Security Agency will set up capacity to link beneficiaries to employment opportunities created through the New Growth Path interventions and further education opportunities.
In the course of the next few months, South Africans will engage in a debate on further reforms of social security system, to be published in the Consolidated Government Discussion Paper and the nature of which will have quite significant implications. The thrust of these reforms will be aimed at addressing a glaring defect in the system, namely the creation of statutory social insurance arrangements aimed at ensuring that income security is available during any break in employment, enhancing income smoothing; reducing poverty in old age, in the events of disability or the death of a breadwinner, increasing income replacement in retirement and incentives to increase the national savings rate.
The thrust of the reforms will be:
- The consolidation of social security policy making and service delivery in a more efficient and effective manner which will enhance service delivery
- The introduction of a mandatory pension system that will encompass retirement savings, alignment of disability and survivor benefits
- Doing away with fragmentation and the consolidation of adjudication, disability assessment fraud detection, payment of benefits and significant improved regulations of social security.
The efforts made in respect of increasing support for social work studies, the Early Childhood Development and Home Community Based Care not only increases job creation. The cluster contribute to the creation of more than 750 000 jobs opportunities in the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) through Early Childhood Development, Community health services, the construction and maintenanceof social infrastructure and environmental protection projects. Other programmes which have been brought on board in the EPWP Phase 2 are:
- Kha Ri Gude mass literacy programme
- National School Nutrition Programme
- Waste Management
- Mass participation in sport and community safety programmes.
New initiatives include the youth corps and waste for food programmes which will create further job opportunities, entrepreneurship and skills development for young people. If we continue on this positive trajectory, there is no doubt that we are on course to achieve the set target of creating 5 million job opportunities by 2014.
Ladies and gentlemen, we remain committed to improving the quality of life and creating equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Initiatives in this regard include increasing job opportunities for people with disabilities in protective workshops, construction of social housing adapted to the needs of the persons with disabilities, vocational training and employment of people with disabilities in the public sector.
We will also implement the school revitalisation programme using labour intensive schemes to create local jobs and skills development, focusing specifically on women, people with disabilities and young people.
Through the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) we have recently recruited over 7 000 rural youth who will be trained in a variety of skills to boost employability and provide support to budding rural entrepreneurs. In addition, the Green Building project which focuses on the installation of energy saving lights has been successfully completed in the Pretoria. We will now focus on a national roll out of this programme to create even more job opportunities for young people. To meet the need for new schools and replace dilapidated or mud schools, 300 building projects will be undertaken through labour-intensive methods.
In addition, to ensure that existing schools are well maintained, an allocation of R615 million is provided. This allocation for maintenance cannot be used for any other purpose.
Skills development and other human capital initiatives
As at the beginning of the current financial year, more than 8 000 human settlements projects were underway across the country, with preliminary figures translating this into the construction of 219 000 housing units.
The target is to build 220 000 housing units per each financial year between now and 2014. The Housing Development Agency (HDA) is now fully operational with the sole mandate to acquire land on behalf of government for human settlement has set itself a target to acquire 6 025 hectares of land by 2014. This will provide for 500 000 housing units. In addition, the National Upgrading Support Programme has also been established and will in future provide support to municipalities with upgrading projects.
The Department of Human Settlements has successfully engaged the country’s major banks and agreement has been reached to form a joint working team to look into various aspects of housing finance.
Crime and corruption
In his State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma directed the whole of government to fight corruption and to take tough action to ensure that corruption does not take root in our administration, especially in procurement and services contracts as well as in the social security system.
To strengthen these efforts, we will continue to work with the Special Investigation Unit and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that those guilty of criminal offences are prosecuted and duly punished.
President Zuma also emphasized that crimes against women and children should receive priority. To build an effective multi-sectoral response, a high level Advisory Council comprising of key government departments, civil society organisations and other relevant partners is to be established to strengthen and drive the implementation of 365 Plan of Action of No Violence against women and children. The Advisory Council will enhance ongoing measures and national efforts of all sectors to address violence against women and children.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Social Protection and Community Development Cluster remain hopeful about our ability to make gains in ameliorating the impact of poverty on our people. But it is clear that our success will come only if it is a true team effort and partnership with our social partners. Though we have made progress, now is not the time to be complacent. We will ratchet up our efforts to ensure our nation’s success.
We thank you.
Issued by: Department of Social Development