Strong Leadership Required to Put People First

Gerda Moolman MPL

Democratic Alliance Northern Cape Spokesperson for Social Development

Agbare speaker, agbare premier, agbare kollegas van die huis, dames en here.

In die komitteevergadering aangaande die departement se begroting het die agbare Beukes die vergadering geopen met baie waar woorde: “dit is ‘n klein departement maar sekerlik een van die belangrikste”. Die DA stem volkome hiermee saam. Hierdie departement het ‘n groter begroting nodig.

Ons kan goeie infrastruktuur, opleiding, mediese sorg en werksgeleenthede in plek hê, maar as mense nie vertroue, vrymoedigheid en die wil het om daarvan gebruik te maak nie as gevolg van bepaalde sosiale euwels, dan beteken dit nie veel nie. Hierdie departement is daar om ons mense by te staan, op te bou en die omgewing te skep waar mense gebruik kan maak van beskikbare geleenthede en ‘n lewe kan lei wat volgens hulle betekenisvol is. Die departement is kern tot al die werksaamhede van al die ander departemente en die DA voel dit is tyd dat hulle hulle sokkies optrek.

Die DA sê so omdat ons voel dit is hoogtyd dat ons die realiteit in die oë moet staar wanneer dit kom by die werk wat die department moet doen. Ons lewe in ‘n siek samelewing hier in die Noord-Kaap. Dit is nie normaal om te lees van babas wat verkrag word nie. Dit is nie normaal om te lees van kinders wat ander kinders verkrag nie. Dit is nie normaal om by die polisie in Roodepan te hoor dat kleinkinders hulle oumas verkrag nie. Hierdie sake word hoegenaamd nie genoegsaam getakel nie. Ongelukkig speel drank en dwelms ook hier ‘n deurslaggewende rol. This speaks of a society with a crisis at hand….not a challenge only!

Ek wil ook net graag ‘n regstelling maak. In die kommiteevergadering het die LUR gespog met die uitvoering van die ANC se mandaat binne hierdie departement en dat dit reg is, omdat die meeste mense in hierdie provinsie gestem het ten gunste van die ideologie van die ANC. Maar wat is die ideologie van die ANC? Afhanklikheid! Die mense het gestem vir die ANC omdat hulle glo hulle is afhanklik van die ANC om te oorleef, maar dit is ook besig om te verander. The people of Strydenburg demonstrated that they want real opportunities not handouts. Handouts relegate citizens to subjects. And my fear is that this is done on purpose to stay in power.

I want to put it on record that the DA believes in a safety-net but at the same time we have to create an environment in which those people that can work, can easily enter the market and grow the private economy. The Hon. Galela said it himself: “we need to grow the cake”. This cannot be done by grants alone and creating job opportunities only within the state sector.

Yes, the Hon. MEC might be right that we might be winning the war on poverty in this province but primarily by means of grants. However, the impact of this surge in beneficiaries has been profound, with some economists claiming that South Africa has in fact become the biggest welfare state in the world, with a taxpayer to grant beneficiary ratio of 3 to 1. That means that for every person paying income tax, there are three people receiving grants. It is highly doubtful whether this is sustainable and something else clearly needs to be done to move people out of poverty and alleviate the social ills that keep them there.

Die DA aanvaar nie die begroting van die departement nie vir dieselfde redes as wat ons verlede jaar gesê het. Ons glo nie in die afhanklikheids ideologie wat deur die departement geïmplementeer word nie. As a consequence, in its current form, this department is still relieving and not releasing people from poverty.

The allocations made to the prevention and rehabilitation of people with substance abuse is not enough. This is also true about disability and victim empowerment. This could have been overcome had the department changed its funding model, as we suggested. In turn it could also address the concerns the DA raised with regards to the type and quality of projects being implemented as well as the monitoring, evaluation and assessment of the impact of these projects.

Die befondsingstrategie in hierdie departement is fundamenteel verkeerd. Die hoeveelheid geld wat na formele nie-regerings organisasies wat ‘n professionele diens lewer en die statutêre werk van die staat moet doen, is totaal en al te min. Subsidies word per pos en nie per program gegee nie. Hierdie subsidie moet dan betaal vir die seketaresses, die gebou, die telefoon, brandstof, skoonmakers ens. Dit maak dit onmoontlik om ‘n professionele diens te lewer veral in die platteland waar fondsinsameling onmoontlik is. Om sake te vererger gee hierdie departement der duisende rande aan klein informele gemeenskapsorganisasies waar daar nie professionele mense is nie, nie supervisie en beheer is nie, finansiële state nie geouditeer word nie en geen monitering en evaluering plaasvind nie.

Laastens kan maatskaplikewerkers ook nie deur hierdie klein organisasies aangestel word nie omdat die salarisse nie kompeterend is nie.

How are we going to address the issues such as baby rape, family violence, child neglect, drug and alcohol abuse, which renders people unproductive, without the help of professional people? Or do you MEC Botes honestly believe that these critical social ills can be resolved only by awareness campaigns and a few counselling sessions by persons not specialised in this field?

We furthermore continue to see within this department an overemphasis on soup kitchens, food gardens, food parcels, grants, awareness campaigns, events and “job opportunities” and almost the nonexistent emphasis on socio-economic development. There is absolutely no clear link between the handful economic projects in this department and that of the department of economic development. In this regard I do not even want to mention the economic summit that was held three years ago. Waar is die entrepeneurskap en finsiële bestuursopleiding? Waar is die hulp met klein besighede, waar is die mentors, waar is die skakel met die privaat sektor? Gaan die Balelapa projek dit als vir ons doen?

This department can account for the finances but this should be a given. It should not be about that, it should be about whether you are making a change. The DA believes that this department can play a massive role in improving in the long term the lives of the people of the province. We need to start progressive development not just sustainability. We need to stop speaking about job opportunities but rather about careers. We need to tackle rape, domestic violence and drug abuse head on. However it is going to take strong leadership and some unpopular decisions. It is going to take a leader whose commitment is first and foremost to all the people of the Northern Cape – not to his party’s ideology.

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