Job Creation Initiatives in Social Development Sector: briefing by Department of Social Development
2011/12 was declared the Year of Job Creation in the State of the Nation Address. Twelve outcomes were given within the ANC election manifesto and Medium Term Strategic Framework. Of the twelve, four were directly enjoined by the Minister for Social Development. These were: improved quality of basic education, a long and healthy life, decent work through inclusive economic growth, and vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities with food security for all.
The Department of Social Development would expand its job creation effort from the current programmes of Home Community Based Care and Early Childhood Development which had been successful in creating work opportunities and increasing employment chances of practitioners both in government and in non profit organisations (NPOs). In the coming months, the Department would be considering a number of job creation options through a reprioritisation of resources, policy and programme reorientation.
In order to implement these goals the New Growth Path was developed to drive the government’s job creation initiatives. The New Growth Path identified five job drivers and the Public Service was noted as key to achieving the set targets of the program. The Public Service was reported as being responsible for 20% of jobs created, however the private sector was expected to be the main source of job creation. Within the 20%, the Departments of Health, Education, South African Police Service, and Defence were the major contributors to Public Service job creation.
The Department would be contributing to education, social crime prevention and human settlement outcomes. Whilst this is the case, the emphasis does not take away the need to consolidate the past work previously. The Department would continue to focus on its mandate and priorities as set out in the various legislations.
Jobs Creation Initiative: briefing by Department of Social Development (DSD)
Mr Deven Chinappan, DSD Acting Director of Human Capital Management, began by stating that poverty, unemployment and inequality continued to be major challenges in South Africa. As a result, 2011/12 had been declared the Year of Job Creation in the State of the Nation Address. Twelve outcomes were given within the ANC election manifesto and Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTEF). Of the twelve, four were directly enjoined by the Minister for Social Development. These were: improved quality of basic education, a long and healthy life, decent work through inclusive economic growth, and vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities with food security for all.
In order to implement the job creation goal, the New Growth Path (NGP) was developed to drive the government’s job creation initiatives. The NGP identified five job drivers and the Public Service was noted as key to achieving the set targets of the program. The Public Service was reported as being responsible for 20% of jobs created, however the private sector was expected to be the main source of job creation. Within the 20%, the Departments of Health, Education, SAPS, and Defence were the major contributors to Public Service job creation.
Social development programs were listed but not limited to: substance abuse prevention and rehabilitation, care services for older persons, persons with disabilities, victim empowerment, HIV/AIDS, and youth development (see document).
The Job Creation Initiatives were broken down into Core Programmes (Child and Youth Care Workers, Care Workers, MasupaTsela Youth Pioneer Programme, and Social Assistance Programme), Co-ordinated Efforts (Expanded Public Works Programme, Community Work Programme, Support Programmes within the Social Sector (Bursaries and Internship Programmes) and lastly Procurement Initiatives.
DSD aimed to expand its Child and Youth Care Services (CYCS) using a model known as ‘Isibindi’ (circle of courage) to create safe and caring communities in the context of infectious diseases. CYCS would be rolled out by appointing trained and qualified staff who would provide direct support to orphans and other vulnerable children caused by HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Up to 1.3 million children would benefit from direct supervision with an intention to train 10 000 new CYCS workers over the MTEF.
The aim of the Community Care Givers programme was to provide comprehensive and quality social services in the home to ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS were met. 14,590 care givers were currently rendering service with a stated intention to increase this number by a further 15,319 over the MTEF.
The MasupaTsela programme was described as value based and targeting youth with the aim to engage them to become pioneers and social activists within their own communities. It contributed to skills development and improved the situation of youth by linking them to employment and sustainable programming. It intended to train a further 9 975 youth pioneers.
Comprehensive Social Security provided income support for more than 15.2 million South Africans. 70% of the budget was dispersed through payment contractors which facilitated job creation and contributed to an environment conducive to childhood development.
The Department was also responsible for leading and coordinating the EPWP which was first launched in 2003/2004 and was now in its second phase. As of the end of 2011/12 the EPWP had provided a total of 152 109 job opportunities against a target of 132 000 (see document for further statistics).
Current skills shortages were said to exist in almost all staff categories. The Department planned to expand social development services to cater to demands by a range of occupational groups to implement developmental social welfare programmes.
In terms of job creation via procurement, where goods were imported, employment creation took place outside of the country. In contrast, local procurement stimulated South African job growth. Recent Treasury regulations had made local procurement a requirement in designated sectors of the economy. In order to improve local procurement, DSD said it was necessary to develop a strategy where local procurement could be measured and to more easily understand which goods were imported versus the use of local goods.
Challenges were listed as “enablers” - where the appointment of data capturers was required, stipends - in terms of the uniformity of amounts paid and the availability. Lastly the inability to absorb beneficiaries of scholarships was also raised.
The way forward on these strategies:
▪ the finalisation of the consolidated HR plan for the social sector as well as the development of the Integrated Sector Service Delivery Model.
▪ for procurement, identify commodities that would be required per province and conducting joint workshops with potential suppliers, agencies, and provincial departments covering opportunities and compliance issues.
Ms P Tshwete (ANC) said her interest was on page 9 on Community Care Givers. There was no uniformity across the provinces in terms of training or the issuance of stipends and she wondered how it was possible to cope from a budget standpoint when there was a desire to hire so many new workers. She asked about the linkages between DSD and Health and overlaps in hiring within local communities. She wondered how overlaps could be avoided.
Ms P Xaba (ANC) wanted clarity on scholarship assistance and what work was being done to make scholarships/bursaries more accessible.
Mr M Waters (DA) asked what the reference to ‘decent’ work on page 4 really meant. He asked for the distinction between part time and full time work opportunities. On page 24 he noted that there seemed to be a lack of an HR plan and asked how hiring numbers were accounted for nationally. He found it strange that there seemed to be a lack of internships for the Western Cape when nearly every other province had them.
Ms M Mafolo (ANC) noted that on page 8 it seemed to indicate there would be an expansion of hiring but she asked for more concrete dates as the MTEF lasted for a period of three years. She asked that the DSD share their research on hiring. From her personal experience, social workers could be retained and trained further rather than starting from nothing and training a totally new person. On slide 23 she asked for clarification of ‘service provision’. She found it interesting that there were many statistics in the presentation but without a finalised HR plan and was concerned about how these figures were reached.
Chairwoman Botha (ANC) looked at page 7, saying that the Isbindi model was very good but asked for more clarity on specific job creation numbers. Eastern and Western Cape did not have internship numbers.
Mr Vusi Madonsela, DSD Director General, stated that during the Budget Debate the Minister spoke about internships. This programme was meant for people entering university to give them job experience. They were allotted small salaries to encourage participation and provide for their day-to-day costs.
He said that social workers were directly absorbed into full time jobs. Western Cape had problems absorbing social workers as they had taken on new workers as interns not as new staff members thus remuneration was at issue. The Minister was not opposed to internships but had strong reservations about the adoption of new workers as interns not as full time, fully remunerated staff upon graduation from university.
Mr Chinappan said that the information in the presentation covered the Social Sector which included provincial departments, National Development Agency and the South African Social Security Agency. On internships, the DSD could not get the information in time for the presentation but it was not that Eastern and Western Cape did not have internships. On the issue of an HR plan, each department had their own HR plan and what was being proposed was a consolidation into one single HR plan.
On procurement challenges, what was happening was that effective procurement was ongoing in rural areas. A strategy was needed to ensure compliance by suppliers on matters such as Black Economic Empowerment with a focus on rural procurement.
Ms Sadi Luka, Chief Director of Community Development, DSD, responded to the question on linkages between DSD and Health. She said that within the current context, both departments were working very closely with each other on community based care. Distinctions could be found in the focus of the two departments. DSD focused on community driven development in order to support active citizenry to be able to drive their own development through conducting dialogues. Health had a much more specific area of focus while DSD was broad based across all community issues. As well, there existed community development workers who worked under local municipal government who acted as information officers.
Ms Maria Mabetoa, Deputy Director General of Welfare Services, DSD said that when it came to the Expanded Public Works Programme, not all work would be ‘decent’ but it was a long term project, a continuum with minimum standards and over time – this situation would improve gradually. She said 230 days per annum could be converted into full time equivalency to ensure that people were given proper work benefits.
Mr Oupa Ramachela, Chief Director: Special Projects, DSD responded to the question on stipends and uniformity of hiring across the provinces. Budgets were not adequate in this area. The framework that guided this process provides a stipend of R65 per day as regulated in the budget. EPWP intervention services were largely driven and delivered by community based organisations. It was extremely difficult to spread around insufficient resources. He made reference to the incentive grant, saying that it had been tested in the social sector but that it was currently under review.
Mr Madonsela emphasised DSD was operating under conditions of austerity noting that what might be considered ideal was not possible under the current economic circumstances. He accounted for budget constraints by saying that R1.4 billion had been allocated for hiring programmes but the money would only be available in the 2013 financial year.
On the challenge of absorbing social workers into the work force, he said students had been on the scholarship programme and graduated from university but provinces had not been able to absorb them. This was largely due to budget cuts and the severity of financial constraints, specifically referencing Limpopo.
Ms Alice Odhiambo, Senior Manager, SASSA said that evidence from the child grant study from 2012 made it clear that beneficiaries were encouraged by funding to go to school and seek out new job opportunities. The study reported that students accessing the social assistance grants had far better outcomes and created a ripple effect of positive growth.
Ms P Tshwete (ANC) noted that on page 7 of the presentation, the intention was to train 10 000 new workers within the CYCS programme. She wondered if this was across all provinces. She asked about the age limit imposed on the MasupaTsela programme.
Ms M Mofolo (ANC) referred to page 5 about the private sector having to provide 80% of the new jobs. She asked DSD’s views on this assertion. In terms of auxiliary social workers, there were criteria for qualifications and hiring. She asked about opportunities for increased training for those workers who had not attended university.
Mr Waters said that grants from SASSA were useful but in general there was a meltdown in education and while keeping kids in school was positive there was a dire need to look at the quality of education. He noted that there were 8 million unemployed persons in the country and focus needed to be placed on what kind of job opportunities were available. In terms of employment, he asked if the private sector could hire new workers without having to pay a minimum wage to encourage greater levels of employment. There was a need to ensure equality between the standards of hiring between the Public Service and the private sector.
Ms T Kenye (ANC) raised the issue of Comprehensive Social Security and asked if there were any other initiatives to contribute to child development and ensuring attendance at school and employability. She asked if there was a target in terms of skills shortages at a provincial level.
Ms P Tshwete (ANC) said that there were areas where local workers could be absorbed. Noting page 9 on caregivers appointed by NPOs, she asked what the names of these NPOs were and how much money had been given to them for oversight purposes.
Mr Madonsela stated that, yes, 10 000 new child care workers would come from all provinces. They provided basic services in the home from bathing children, to feeding, to taking them to parks and basically providing all the services a parent would give if they were present in the home.
He noted that there was a big need for the private sector to contribute jobs in South Africa. He would not be drawn into ideological debates on capitalism but companies were being deliberately enabled by government to operate in exchange for job creation.
Ms Luka said there was a focus in the MasupaTsela programme on out of school youth from age 18-35. However as it was a value based programme, the original idea was to reach children when they were younger.
Ms Mabetoa answered that training would take place over a period of three years for social workers, with 80% on site training and the remainder in classrooms. She noted that although many auxiliary social workers had a desire to become full time workers, they still needed proper qualifications. There were people who were able to qualify based on life experience and not only education.
Mr Ramachela said that the ministerial determination permitted public employment to maintain certain levels of payment, emphasising the role of Nedlink. In light of the challenges with poverty and unemployment in South Africa, there needed to be a dispensation to mitigate this problem. The challenges faced were massive and more importantly public employment was not meant to substitute or displace those persons in the labour market. Public employment was a last resort. He recognized that the public sector had a role to contribute to job creation in the country but the nature of unemployment was structural. The public sector did not distribute profits or returns like the private sector and this difference needed to be understood.
The Director General said that he would come back to the Members and make more information available to them to aid in their oversight visits – to ensure standardisation. DSD did not always have the capacity to go in on the ground and relied on reports from the provinces on grant schemes. DSD encouraged the establishment of NPOs in areas where no NPOs currently existed.
Chairwoman Botha (ANC) thanked DSD and the meeting was adjourned.