Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, Members of Parliament, ladies and gentlemen, regarding certain issues that were brought up by the opposition in this august House, I need to educate members about the fact that our committee is an extension of Parliament.
Many of the questions that are brought up were discussed in our committee meetings and members were just taking out what the department gave us. I even have departmental documentary proof about the tender on which the department was taken to court. They explained those things to us.
Even when it comes to foster grants, the department explained this to us and spoke to the policies that they have in place. So I feel that they should use that platform because the chairperson is very open and she allows everyone to speak. When it comes to the EFF: Win the elections, then you will be able to implement your manifesto. [Interjections.] When it comes to food parcels and blankets, that is an old story that is always being brought up. You know, in our communities people say, in Afrikaans: "Kospakette en die kombersies is nou geregtig om te stem. Maar die storie is so oud." [Food parcels and blankets are now eligible to vote. But the story is so old.]
The story is so old, they can vote already. So, don't worry about these things, Minister, because there are criteria in place.
It gives me great pleasure, and I am also humbled at the same time, to participate in this debate in which all the members of the ANC have attested to the good story the ANC can tell. And we spoke about our own challenges as we were telling our good story. The ANC members who spoke before me have already spoken on the core mandate of the department because they spoke to each programme - on how the chairperson, the study group and I worked.
We know that when it comes to the core function of the department, this is a constitutional imperative. There are quite a lot of added pieces of legislation which tell the department to provide access to appropriate and comprehensive social assistance.
Now we have our opposition parties which single out only the issue of grants. They do not speak about the comprehensive service that this department offers to our people. And when it comes to that, we say that the services offered to our people are for the most vulnerable within our society.
The department itself gives the appropriate care, which includes basic nutrition, shelter and health care - because it uses an integrated approach. The social services - which I normally refer to as a basket of services - are given to children, including the youth and people with disabilities. So, let us not just speak to grants. This is a basket of services.
According to the Freedom Charter of the Congress - and I am speaking about the true congress of 1955 - South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white. When it comes to South Africa, which also includes the Western Cape, it is governed by the ANC. [Applause.] South Africa, including the Western Cape, belongs to the ANC. [Applause.] The Minister sitting there, who is our Minister, is an ANC member. She is in charge of the whole of South Africa and not only of eight provinces, but of all nine provinces.
Regarding the introduction of the Mangaung resolutions - in order to enhance that statement - South Africa belongs to all who live in it. The goal of the ANC, as outlined in the Strategy and Tactics document of 2007, states:
Our strategy for social transformation must seek to empower people to lift themselves out of poverty while creating adequate social nets to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
Therefore, in concluding the above point, our goal as ANC members to realise our objectives within the Strategy and Tactics document is our oversight function to ensure that the ANC-led government of South Africa - not leaving out any provinces, hence I say the government of South Africa - implements a comprehensive programme, not only of grants, but a programme that focuses on the triple challenge faced by the most vulnerable persons in our society, a comprehensive programme that also addresses the challenges of poverty, inequality and underdevelopment.
I am speaking again on the triple challenge - which are advancing and defending the human rights embraced in the Bill of Rights in our Constitution. The hon Mama Xaba spoke so ably about it when she gave that political background. She put everything - when it comes to social development - into context.
But I wouldn't like to be a prophet of gloom and doom, because significant strides have been made in fighting poverty. An impact study was done and when it came to our past recessions - because we had to do this impact study as Social Development - there was proof that our most vulnerable people during that period were protected by the social net in the form of grants and other social services rendered by this department. And I must applaud the Minister and her department for doing such wonderful work.
I am not going to speak further now to the opposition, but look at my speech itself. [Interjections.] Don't worry, don't worry. Minister, when it came to our oversight function, there were a few observations which we put into our recommendations to you and there is only one resolution. This is because my speech covers oversight. There were challenges that we were worried about and these include a movement that resulted in your getting a new department.
This is because even if funds follow functions, it is going to impact on your budget. We will have to look at your budget when it comes to the annual report in September so that we could see how to work on it. In terms of the loose arrangements, when it comes to sister departments, tie them up because they are helping this department with the work. We in the committee and the ANC support this budget. [Time expired.] [Applause.]