Social Development MINMEC adopts programme of action
28 February 2008
The Minister of Social Development, Dr Zola Skweyiya has appealed to 63 and 64 year old men who are due to apply for an old age grant this year to be patient as the Social Assistance Act must be amended before they access the grant. The Minister has submitted to cabinet the draft Social Assistance Amendment Bill. Once cabinet has approved this Bill, it will be introduced into parliament.
"We have asked parliament to expedite the passing of the bill so that eligible men of 63 and 64 can obtain the old age grant as soon as possible. In the mean time the Social Security Agency has been directed to ensure that all systems are put in place to register older people once the law is passed," said Minister Skweyiya.
The matter was discussed at the meeting of the Minister's Council for Social Development, known as the Social Development MINMEC, 28 February 2008, in Hazyview, Mpumalanga province.
The extension will be implemented as follows:
* 63 and 64 year old men in 2008 once the law is amended
* 61 and 62 years in 2009
* 60 year olds in 2010.
The total of 63 and 64 year old men who are affected by the extension this year is 233,161.
The provincial breakdown is as follows:
Eastern Cape: 33,344
Free State: 15,926
Northern Cape: 5,951
North West: 21,425
Western Cape: 29,161.
The MINMEC also adopted common priorities to be tackled by the Social Development sector this year to tackle poverty, in line with the directive by President Mbeki in the state of the nation address. The services discussed include the following:
* Expansion of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme, through increasing the numbers of ECD sites registered, equalisation of the subsidy at R9 per child, per day in each province, and increasing the numbers of trained personnel. The intention is to subsidise 600 000 children in the current financial year.
* Ensure the linking of the Child Support Grant to the provision of efficient welfare and social services to children. "We want to ensure that we do not just give children grants only. We have to ensure that they receive all other services such as education, health services , foster care services where needed, that they are placed in alternative care or orphanages where needed and generally to ensure the wholesome development of the child," said Minister Skweyiya.
* To promote the Older Persons Act and services to older persons in general, and in particular to address the dire circumstances of poor older persons in various communities who do not have access to adequate care in old age homes. "We must ensure that all older persons have access to the option of going to a decent old age home if they choose to, regardless of where they live, even in remote rural areas," said Dr Skweyiya.
The MINMEC raised concerns that the fragmentation of services to people with disabilities was hindering service delivery. Services are spread out in various government departments.
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Issued by: Department of Social Development
28 February 2008