By Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Social Development:
DURING a Scopa hearing last week into KZN’s Department of Social Development (DSD) it emerged that the department does not have a proper asset management system in place, with senior officials unable to properly account for assets including vehicles, desks and laptops.
The DA is extremely concerned by the effect that this will have on service delivery.
These items form a vital part of any social worker’s arsenal in fighting the social deprivation issues which plague our vulnerable communities. The finding also raises serious questions around whether the social workers and other officials on the ground have the proper equipment allocated to them.
The asset predicament is the latest in a series of crises to hit KZN’s Social Development department. These include;
– The Auditor-General’s recent decision to downgrade the department to a qualified audit outcome
– The closure of four KZN DSD offices earlier this year after they were condemned by the Department of Labour due to their appalling state
– The ongoing matter of 1 700 Social Worker graduate bursary holders who remain unemployed despite the sector facing a desperate shortage.
Yet another embarrassment for the department was the withdrawal of a 6% NGO tariff increase allegedly due to financial constraints. As a result, the department announced that it would institute a NGO rationalisation plan – a move that is set to see a number of NGOs close.
KZN’s Social Development department is stumbling from one crisis to another with the lack of leadership and accountability by MEC Weziwe Thusi and senior officials increasingly apparent.
The DA will hold MEC Thusi and senior officials to account on the regression of the audit outcome at the next portfolio committee.
We will also write to the Chairperson of the DSD portfolio committee requesting that the department provide a detailed report of its asset management system, the impact on service delivery and the consequences for those responsible for this regression.
During this time of increased social deprivation and poverty levels, KZN needs a government which cares properly for its most vulnerable citizens by providing a social development programme that uplifts our communities.
Only a social development system built on Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity can do this.