By Katlego Suzan Phala (MPL), DA Spokesperson on Public Participation and Petitions committee:
The DA is deeply disappointed that the Department of Social Development has failed to adjudicate four petitions, due to the clueless officials being send to represent the department after being summoned by the Public Participation and Petitions Committee as respondents.
One of the petitioners was requesting funding for their crèche, the Puputli Creche, which was established in 1986 and registered as a Non Profit Organization (NPO) in March 2009. The crèche caters for more than 120 children, who might be out of the centre if funding is not secured on time. The very same crèche was also selected as the best centre in Capricorn by the department but still fails to fund them.
The HOD for the department was absent as she was on leave and the acting HOD was attending another meeting. The department sent four officials, who were clueless when engagements started and admitted to the portfolio committee members that they were just told to attend the meeting.
Apparently the officials were not briefed and given no mandate to make obligatory decisions for the department during the petition adjudication process.
The committee decided to release the officials as its decisions were not going to bind the department to commit to them. The committee could also not engage with officials.
As a results, three petitioners had to go home with their matter not being heard, hoping that next time officials will come prepared to listen and help them.
This is totally unacceptable for the department to turn a blind eye on this issue and is a clear violation of the Constitution.
The DA calls on MEC Joyce Mashamba to crack the whip and ensure that her officials take summons seriously by ensuring that funding is given to the needy crèches as urgently as possible.