Anroux Marais MPP
DA Western Cape spokesperson for Social Development
As spokesperson for the DA on Social Development, I congratulate the Western Cape Department of Social Development on their innovative initiative to use Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping as a method of integrated planning.
In a Standing Committee meeting on Social Development on 9 May 2012, the Department of Social Development presented to the committee how the department intends to use GIS to improve social service delivery to the Province.
The DA supports this initiative as it positively impacts the research and population knowledge required for effective as well as efficient service delivery in the Western Cape. It is also based on the notion that we are “Better Together” as the department’s presentation illustrated exactly how GIS can be used effectively for integrated planning.
The department explained that, in order for them and other local authorities to be aware of the number and type of service providers they have in specific areas, a planning tool is required. The use of GIS mapping fulfils this requirement as different service providers as well as different social phenomena, whether positive or negative will be recorded on the system. For example, there will be different symbols for Services for families, Health facilities and Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDs), which are plotted on a map of a specific area, much like Google Earth.
The difference between Google Earth and the GIS used by the Department of Social Development is that departmental service providers, the Western Cape Governmental facilities and social phenomena such as HIV positive rates and substance abuse prevalence can be located on this system. Currently, in the Social Development database are the different services available as well as the number thereof. There are 3812 ECDS, 82 services for families, 30 victim empowerment units, 41 HIV/AIDS programmes, 109 Sustainable livelihood projects, 62 Services for persons with disabilities, 41 Substance abuse programmes and 364 Services for Older Persons. This data will be used for planning and analysis purposes and also for integration with other departments. The department will be able to measure whether or not they are targeting an area which requires more attention than others as the GIS will ensure that departments plan in relation to need.
I am enthusiastic about this initiative as it simplifies the task of population analysis and prioritising service delivery in relation to the need of the community in which it is to be situated. Soon the Western Cape Department of Health will be able to check the GIS map for the health facilities proximity to ECDs while planning our immunisation drives and prioritise which areas require the Department of Health to visit the ECDs as their proximity is not as close as others in the area. The Department of Social Development will also be able to effectively establish Substance Abuse Programmes in relation to the need in a particular community as the number of substance abuse incidents will also be recorded on the system.
The DA is especially excited about the initiative as the information captured on this system will be easily accessed by the public and it fulfils a transversal purpose across all Provincial Governments Departments, again reiterating that we are “Better Together”.