Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL
Shadow MEC of Agriculture, Environment, Rural and Social Development
The first quarterly report of Gauteng’s Social Development Department highlights severe gaps in proper delivery to the province’s most vulnerable citizens.
According to the report, many critical posts remain vacant: Social Welfare Services has 320 posts with only 181 filled (43% vacancy rate), Occupational therapy – 6 posts, only 1 filled (83% vacancy rate), professional nurses – 41 posts, only 15 filled (63% vacancy rate), psychologists and vocational councillors – 6 posts, 1 filled (83% vacancy rate).
These critical services are essential to basic delivery and the mandate of the department cannot be fulfilled with such gaps.
The report also indicates serious construction delays with social development projects around the province:
i. The Sharpeville ECD and Aged Day Care Centre were both due for completion in February 2014. However, the project is still not complete due to the Emfuleni municipality’s continued delay to appoint a contractor for completion and remedial work.
ii. The Mohlakeng Old Age Home in Randfontein was also meant to be completed in February 2014 but continues to face delays in completing the finishes.
All these are hampering the delivery of basic and essential services to the people of Gauteng.
In addition, according to written questions submitted to the MEC, there are about 1451 Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres that are not compliant with basic practices.
Most of the ECD centres do not even have a curriculum for teaching the children and according to the department, only 100 of these centres were assisted to become compliant.
There appears to be no real political will to address these challenges or ensure that the essential mandate of the department is fulfilled.
The DA will be submitting further question to the MEC to establish what is being done to fill critical posts and to complete construction delays. Further, we will be working within the portfolio committee to ensure that the department does not continue on this trajectory for the remainder of the financial year.