Parliamentary Question: Additional social develpment services

1610

Mrs H Lamola (DA) to ask the Minister of Social Development:

Whether any measures are in place to ensure that parents receiving child grants benefit from any additional social development services to ensure that the cycle of poverty is broken; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NW1120E

REPLY:

Linking the poor, the vulnerable and marginalized to sustainable livelihoods and economic activities

The Department of Social Development has developed a programme to link the poor, the vulnerable and marginalized to sustainable livelihoods and economic activities such as jobs, further education and training (FET) and enterprising activities. Its objective is to ensure that participants are linked to opportunities that best match their interests, skills and needs within the context of opportunities available in the local area.

The project targets mainly the care givers/parents of CSG beneficiaries, most of whom are young, able-bodied and within the economically active age category. However, it will not exclude people with disabilities and those over 35yrs.

The specific objectives of the programme are to:
complement social grants and improve their impact on the quality of life of the poor
enhance the livelihood strategies of poor households and increase their capacity to provide for their basic needs
engage the poor in sustainable and viable enterprising
target opportunities for absorption and placement of qualifying individuals in the formal/business sector labour force
provide the skills required by the economy, and
build capacity and provide resources across society to encourage self-employment

The programme utilizes linkages drawn from national and international best practices (e.g. OECD countries). It explores the option of direct job creation schemes such as the Community Employment Programme (CEP). In this case, participants are offered temporary employment in their communities e.g. in social services; health care; environment; education etc. with the possibility to create regular employment.

Nationally, the programme partners with existing initiatives such as the EPWP where funds can be ring-fenced to provide long-term subsidized employment for individuals with reduced work or earning capacity.

The programme also applies activation strategies to help job seekers to have a better chance to find employment and to participate in entrepreneurial activities as well as cooperatives as part of the social and mainstream economy.

The National Integrated Social Information System (NISIS)

The Department of Social Development leads the Social Protection & Community Development Cluster in the implementation of the National Integrated Social Information System (NISIS). NISIS will establish at the heart of the cluster a common technology platform to support key social programmes. Specific objectives are to:

Provide a database of households living in poverty to enable the coordinated targeting of households and communities most in need;

Provide a service referral system to coordinate the delivery of social protection services across the tiers of government and its partners;

Provide visibility of individuals’ circumstances and participation across major social programmes for the purposes of targeting, tracking and fraud mitigation, and many other objectives.

NISIS has gone through a process of conceptualisation, feasibility study and proof-of-concept which was completed in 2008. NISIS is presently in its initial phases of implementation in collaboration with other key social programmes as follows:

The War on Poverty Campaign (WOPC) and Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) – The WOPC and CRDP rely on NISIS to operationalise and strengthen their implementation in the most deprived Wards in the country. NISIS assists in determination of household needs, and referral to the relevant line departments for action. The CSG and other complimentary anti-poverty services form part of the basket of services for which referrals are made. To date NISIS caters for
over 50,000 households with 180,000 referrals generated. These numbers are growing rapidly as the both WOPC and CRDP roll-out.

City of Johannesburg (CoJ) – The CoJ and DSD are collaborating to deliver CoJ’s Expanded Social Package whose first phase has already been implemented. The current phase is now focused on enabling the pre-registration of social grant recipients for Free Basic Services and providing access to a broader range of social protection services from CoJ service points.

Department of Basic Education – The department collaborates with the Department of Basic Education through the cross-referencing of CSG and learner information. This allows children in receipt of CSG but not registered for school to be supported through our social work and thereby increase school attendance. Similar approaches to cross-referencing administrative data sources for the purposes of targeting interventions will be applied to other anti-poverty services in future phases.

Through NISIS and in collaboration with its partners, the Department of Social Development is taking important steps towards developing a more integrated approach to delivering services to the poor in order to break the cycle of poverty. Nevertheless, due to the complexity of integrating government, these represent only the start of what will need to be a multi-year journey.

SASSA (SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIAL SECURITY AGENCY)

SASSA’s mandate is to administer and pay social assistance grants. However, the SASSA strategic plan for 2010/11 has identified integrated developmental services for the vulnerable as a key output, in support of the required outcomes identified by Government.



In order to link grant beneficiaries to sustainable development opportunities, SASSA works closely with other stakeholders, including the Department of Social Development. Our pilot of linking women in receipt of child support grants to development opportunities is being implemented in KwaZulu-Natal. This pilot will inform the development of a more comprehensive strategy to support the achievement of the output identified. The comprehensive strategy will be progressively implemented throughout all SASSA regions.