Social Development to intensify fight on hunger

Gauteng MEC for Social Development Thuliswa Nkabinde-Khawe announced yesterday that the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) will step up its fight against poverty.

The MEC declared during her tabling of the department’s Budget Vote at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature in Johannesburg.

She said the challenge that is confronting human development in the province is that 20% of the households are poor and many of them go to bed hungry.

The department will therefore refocus its resources and plans, to stage a winnable fight on the rising levels of poverty and improve the lives of those impoverished.

It will also strengthen its interventions across all programmes including those that deal with children, senior citizens, people with disabilities, women and youth, victims of gender based violence, and those affected an infected by HIV & AIDS.

Nkabinde-Khawe said the department will fix what needs to be fixed, and seek to urgently resolve all the challenges the department has endured in the last two years, which led to the disruption of critical programmes and services to the people.

Such programmes include food security and nutrition (which included the closing of Food Banks), Bana Pele Programme particularly the suspension of the School Uniform and Dignity Packs Programme, support to cooperatives, and provision of broad support to the vulnerable sectors of the society.

“To our people who were severely and negatively affected by these challenges and therefore did not receive the services they so wished for, we wish to tender our apology to you, and commit that what happened shall not repeat itself. We seek to rebuild our social compact with you to grow Gauteng Together,” said the MEC.

Beyond the struggle for political, economic emancipation and freedom, poverty remains the most difficult daily struggle of the poor across the Province. This is a struggle that the department, together with civil society, private sector and NPO’s must win.

The department has tabled a budget of R5.5 billion for the current financial year, which is an increase of almost a billion rand from the last budget year. An additional budget has been received for absorption of Social Work graduates and filling of critical posts.

Programme 1: Administration is allocated R773, 484, 000.00, which represents an increase of 19%

Programme 2: Social Welfare Services has received an allocation of R915, 374, 000.00 which represents an increase of 13%

Programme 3: Children and Families is allocated R2, 345, 936.000.00 which represents an increase of 13%

Programme 4: Restorative Services is allocated R734, 239,000.00 which represents an increase of 30%

Programme 5: Development and Research is allocated R747, 819, 000.00 which represents an increase of 36%

“We have made progress in the drafting of the Gauteng City Region’s (GCR) Poverty and Urban Hunger Eradication Strategy. This is a major cross-departmental and multi-stakeholder policy initiative that the Provincial Government is designing to place the needs of the poor and the socially excluded among the issues at the top of the provincial agenda.”

“The department will work hard to rebuild the brand, the structure and its programmes to ensure that it fully attains its objectives in concrete terms, leading to improvements in human well-being, social relations and social institutions that are equitable, sustainable and compatible with principles of democratic governance and social justice, while we comply in all areas of ethical and good governance,” said Nkabinde-Khawe.

The MEC has called upon society and civil society organisations to work together to ensure that no child, no person goes to bed without food.

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