Statement by the Minister of Social Development, the Honorable Minister Lindiwe Zulu, MP on the launch of Social Development Month
Honorable Members of the Executive Councils for Social Development in the nine provinces;
the CEOs of SASSA and NDA, Ms. Totsie Memela-Khambula and Ms. Thamo Mzobe respectively;
heads of social development departments in the nine provinces;
Senior at national and provincial levels participating in this sector planning session;
Members of the media; and
South African friends.
Good morning! Dumelang! Sanibonani!
Today marks the start of the most important period in the ministry calendar. October is Social Development Month as it is Mental Health Month in South Africa. Particularly in the midst of CoVID-19, when combined, these distinct areas of interest bring our collective attention to the well-being of every South African.
Today’s launch coincides with the Vooma campaign where President Ramaphosa ordered the whole government to be on the ground to encourage as many South Africa as possible to get vaccinated so that we can reach 70% of the adult population vaccinated by the end of the year.
Additionally, today’s launch takes place on the International Day of Older Persons, when the United Nations commemorates the day with the theme “Digital Equity for All Ages”. Indeed, the significant accessibility of today’s digital and virtual infrastructures by the elderly is the priority of our government because our broadcasting platforms are well on the way to migrating from analog to digital.
Earlier this week I visited and celebrated the birthday of South Africa’s oldest person at 115 in the Grand Karoo Ms., Margerate Marits – this is part of our elder awareness programs.
For these reasons, as we launch Social Development Month, we do so by calling for the full realization of the capacities and perspectives of every South African, as well as the destruction of the violent legacy of colonial apartheid. that continues to unfold in our lives today. .
By launching this month-long campaign under the theme ‘Delivering DSD Services During COVID-19 During Charlotte Maxeke’s Year’, we do so by deepening active citizenship, supporting community initiatives and co-creating solutions with the people where they live.
Working under the District Development Model approach adopted by the government, this month the Social Development Sector will show how our services have been responsive, relevant, innovative and holistic in this sense. that they were implemented by targeted people – public-private-civic-academic-multilateral partnerships.
Likewise, the Social Development Sector will describe its practical implementation and reinforcements of a variety of our interventions where CoVID-19 has had a material impact on the lives of ordinary South Africans as well as where it has sparked crisis. anxiety, fear, panic, depression, discomfort, confidence. deficit and a series of insecurities among some of us.
These practical interventions range from psychosocial support and family support programs to strengthening civil society and nonprofit organizations addressing the pandemic of violence – particularly gender-based violence and trauma and targeting children. – in our lives, to the innovative implementation of our income support programs, to the intensification of food aid and food security efforts through solid partnerships.
There is perhaps no better way for the social development sector to honor uMam ‘uCharlotte Maxeke’s enduring legacy than by:
invest significantly in the fight against the economic exclusion of young people, women and people with disabilities in South Africa;
design policy and programmatic solutions designed to increase the accessibility of social development services in communities; and
bridging the gap between – on the one hand – hunger, depravity, alienation and impoverishment and – on the other hand – effectively directing our programs to people to ensure a life of decency and dignity.
In doing so, we will institutionalize results at the human level and achieve impact at the community level.
Progress on Social Development Month 2020: Last year, the social development sector observed Social Development Month during a difficult period of containment and it became difficult for us to reach rural communities and shelters where the vulnerable and the elderly reside. By observing travel and assembly restrictions, we have focused on caring for the elderly living in and outside residential facilities. In the process, a number of partnerships were established to improve the efficiency and safety of our residential facilities. The most recent of these is, among others, the vaccination of the elderly at our facilities – including the deployment of our vaccinations at high volume Grant Access Points across the country.
During Social Development Month 2021, we will continue to provide services with our social partners. Our aim is to find ways to ensure that older people receive the necessary and dignified services at all times.
CoVID-19 SRD Special Grant: While we implemented the CoVID-19 Social Distress Relief (SRD) Special Grant between May 2020 and April 2021, this benefited over 6 million new beneficiaries on a monthly basis , and we paid almost R20 billion for this grant and almost R30 billion for additional top-ups to existing grants during this period.
Recall that on July 25, President Cyril Ramaphosa extended the payment of the CoVID-19 SRD grant until March 2022. As we speak, SASSA and the ministry are working hard to provide income support to eligible unemployed South Africans. As of August, more than 13 million applications had been received for this grant. It should be noted that 44% of them are new applicants with a total of around 4,570,357 caregiver applicants.
The inclusion of caregivers in this grant was intentionally designed to ensure gender equity in grant eligibility and benefits. Therefore, we are determined to face the measures taken for granted, the net effect of which is the exclusion of women and vulnerable populations. To date, with this second iteration, just over 5.5 million eligible applicants have already been paid.
In collaboration with relevant government institutions (including Special Investigation Unit, Hawks, Asset Forfeiture Unit, Auditor General of South Africa, National Prosecuting Authority, etc.), SASSA and the Department have mechanisms in place to deal with people who illegally benefit from this grant. Ill-gotten public funds will be recovered from the authors. We urge those applying for this grant to ensure they qualify – if you have income, please do not apply for the grant.
To that end, we are encouraged by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent weekly letter to the nation in which he declares [and I quote] This month, the government launched a new technical assistance unit on ethics, integrity and discipline in public administration. The unit will build the capacity of government agencies to initiate disciplinary proceedings in cases of misconduct and will cooperate with other state bodies to hold those responsible to account. [Unquote]. Therefore, we commit ourselves once again to working with this Unit.
Regarding child and adolescent pregnancy: We are as appalled as many South Africans are at the increasing prevalence of child and adolescent pregnancy in different parts of the country. We believe that beyond strengthening families to protect the children and youth of South Africa, we should bring rape prosecutions against those who impregnated these young girls. Likewise, active measures should be taken to successfully reintegrate these young girls into school. Childhood and adolescent pregnancy is a problem that affects all of society.
Social Development Month Program: In accordance with the human level outcomes and societal impact that I have described above, I will momentarily give the Department as well as the CEOs of SASSA and NDA the opportunity to describe in detail how they are – together with the various provincial MECs and district / metropolitan municipalities – will implement Social Development Month 2021 for the benefit of South Africans. As a result, the month’s program will be carried out within the limits of the adjusted alert level 1.
In conclusion, I call on all sectors of society to spread the message of hope to desperate and vulnerable South Africans. Your support remains important as we elevate our work beyond mere activities and move towards human-level results and societal impact.
Accessibility of all social development services to individuals, families and communities is not negotiable for every South African. Now make it happen.
I thank you.