Media and stakeholder statement by Eastern Cape MEC for Social Development, honourable Ms Nonkosi Mvana, on Social Development Month and progress made during financial year, King David Hotel, East London
29 Sep 2009
Member of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development
The executive mayor
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
Ladies and gentlemen
I greet you all
As we kick–start the month of October on Thursday this week known as the Social Development Month, for us as social development, this month represents yet another important milestone in providing a cushion of social protection to the poor and the vulnerable in achieving social justice and equality.
As we take centre stage to highlight progress and challenges with regard to the implementation of our programmes since the beginning of this financial year, we bask with pride, humility and a great sense of gratitude with the recent unqualified audit opinion that we have received from the Auditor-General South Africa.
The attainment of this was made possible through the implementation of our audit turnaround strategy. Of course there will always be room for improvement and we need to ensure that we do not regress. Programme director, we are happy to announce that we are still within our target in terms of spending since the beginning of this financial year and we hope we will do our utmost best to spend wisely where there is a great need of our services.
Ladies and gentlemen, we took a conscious decision at the beginning of this financial year to spread our services where they are needed the most, especially in the eastern side of the province, however, we are faced with a sad reality that these are not the best economic times where we are able to see the maximum impact of our programmes and interventions.
The global economic recession which has resulted in more than 300 000 people losing their jobs has indirectly placed a heavy burden on us as a department. These unfortunate circumstances pose serious social implications which we are expected to provide a cushion of support.
Programme director, these are indeed challenging times. For us as a department, we see the elderly being the ones to bear the brunt of these socio-economic ills. With a number of young people having been forced out of employment, this places an over dependency on the old age social grant as older persons are the key pillars of the family unit. It is a reality older persons have to be the ones to provide a cushion of support to their children and grandchildren.
Ladies and gentlemen, the responsibility to ensure maximum social protection cannot be the governments issue alone, hence the need for better working relations with the Non-Governmental Organisation’s (NGO) sector. We cannot deny the challenges facing you as a sector with regard to the availability of adequate funding, but this is the right time where we need to work even closer in bettering the lives of our communities.
Your responsibility to contribute towards building a sustainable change cannot be questioned. Our partnership therefore should be based on acknowledging and cementing the distinct but complimentary and supplementary roles into a synergistic strategy to achieve a shared vision and common goal. Tomorrow, we are hosting the provincial Older Persons Golden Games here in East London under the theme titled, ‘Active Aging’.
One of the main objectives to have these games is to encourage older persons to lead a healthy lifestyle. As government, we realised that, participation by older persons in the socio-economic development of this country is of fundamental importance. This has led our National Assembly to pass an act in 2006 which seeks to protect the rights of older persons. The Older Persons Act focuses on active participation by older persons with regard to social transformation:
* It shifts the emphasis from institutional care to community based care in order to ensure that an older person remains in his or her home within the community for as long as possible
* It advocates for active participation in intergenerational programmes
* It promotes participation in activities that enhance their income generating capacity
* It also advocates for access to opportunities that promote their optimal level of social, physical, mental and emotional well being.
On 27 to 29 October we will also be hosting the National Older Persons Games where all provinces will converge in Port Elizabeth. We hope these activities will inspire a lot of us including our young people.
Programme director, in our quest to provide quality social welfare services, we hosted the Social Work Awards last year with the following objectives:
*to recognise contributions made by social work veterans and those who have passed on
* to recognise high performance in order to maintain such efforts
* to encourage the maintenance of ethical and professional standards.
This year, we have also hosted the Social Work Ethics conference for 800 social work professionals which focused on the code of conduct and ethical guidelines for social work professionals. On 30 October we will be hosting our second Social Work Awards. All of these interventions are focusing mainly on improving the quality of the kind of service that is expected by our communities.
Ladies and gentlemen, during the presentation of our budget policy speech we made some commitments that we promised to deliver on. One of these was to support 50 women’s cooperatives especially in rural areas which focus on food security through financial assistance of R29 million this year. Currently, we have already disbursed more than R17 million to these projects.
In order to encourage maximum participation by women in these income generating initiatives, we are hosting the provincial Women’s Cooperative Awards on 15 October. One of the main objectives is to share information on the best practices and to recognise commitment of performing project members. We also highlighted in our budget policy speech to assist financially 49 youth development projects which focus on brick making, crop production, poultry, fishing, essential oils, juice production, etc.
We have managed to disburse more than R10 million to the projects out of R18 million. Our main objective is to intervene in the situation of young people, especially unemployed rural youth through skills development and linking them to sustainable opportunities in the fight against poverty and unemployment. Our goal is to see these cooperatives and youth development projects graduating into Small, Medium and Micro-Enterprises (SMME’s). This then requires us to work closely with the local municipalities and the Departments of Economic Affairs and Agriculture who will enhance these initiatives to become economically viable.
Programme director, I am proud to announce that we have successfully trained 420 unemployed rural youth through the Masupa-Tsela Youth Programme this year as we promised in our budget policy speech. The main objective behind this initiative is the promotion of entrepreneurial skills in these young people. Some of them are already part of the second phase of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) in a drive to halve unemployment as per the government’s programme of action.
Also, the Department of Sport and Recreation together with the South African Police Service (SAPS) have committed to take some of these young people to participate during the 2010 World Cup next year. The department is also assisting those ones who would want to pursue with their studies. Currently, we are embarking on an exit strategy so that these young people can be linked to sustainable opportunities.
Ladies and gentlemen, this financial year has not been an easy road and there has not been an easy resolution to social and economic challenges. As government these challenges call for us to spend wisely. To the NGO sector, this picture presents a scramble for limited resources. We are compelled therefore to separate in our programmes those things that need urgent intervention from those that will have to await a more favourable economic outlook. We must also ensure that every rand that the government spends achieves the set goals and has the desired impact.
I thank you
Issued by: Department of Social Development, Eastern Cape Provincial Government
29 September 2009
Source: Department of Social Development, Eastern Cape Provincial Government
Issued by: Eastern Cape Provincial Government
29 Sep 2009
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