Hon Chairperson, I stand here in front of you all members of this House and proudly say to you, I did not come here to do any politicking. I came here to speak about the budget. I came here to express what I experienced in the portfolio committee the first time, all of us we met, as members of the portfolio committee irrespective of which political party we came from. What motivated me to be here today, hon Chairperson, is the community that I went to visit also this afternoon. Those are the people who I believe as government we have to partner with.
Hon Chair, I also was motivated and the reason why I am saying I did not come here to politic because politicking belongs somewhere else. When the time comes for us to do that we will do it and we will do it very well. My being here, I am motivated by a quotation which I came across along the way which has an unknown author and it says:
A person's most useful asset is not a head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, an ear ready to listen and a hand willing to help others. [Applause.]
So, the communities that I visited today, clearly said to me, we must have the heart, we must have the ears to listen, we must also be able to reach out to them and support them.
V. also wish to thank all the hon members who have supported this budget, both from the ANC - first and foremost, but also from the opposition benches and say to you, I might not necessarily be able to answer all the questions that were posed here today because we have five years, God willing, to work towards changing the lives of our people. I am sure we will be able to do that.
I have no intentions of abdicating responsibility nor put blame on any one when it comes to what we are supposed to do as government, as we clearly indicated here what our programmes are and what our budget is.
I also need to answer just a few of those questions basing myself obviously on the fact that many of those questions repeated themselves across the different party political lines. I know that some of the hon members here did support this budget, but some of the of course time went too fast for them. I do wish Chairperson to request that whenever we are here people must be able to say whether
they are supporting the budget or not, so that I can be able to clearly know who I must respond to.
The first one that I really need to deal with is with regard to gender- based violence. You are obviously aware of the Presidential Summit on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide that also recently we had a report by the commission on gender equality the report titled, "State of Shelters in South Africa". It highlights the inadequate funding, poor infrastructure and support.
We are determined as the government, generally, but also as a department in particular not only to read the reports, but also to take those issues that they want us to take forward to make sure that we stabilise the situation.
We will be tabling the Victim Support Services Bill as a key policy response to address some of the challenges. Also one of the questions that really came across through out everybody related to the Nonprofit Organisations, NPOs. The department has developed a partnership model to strengthen the relationship between NPOs and the department. In addition we are going to table the Nonprofit Organisations Bill to Cabinet to reform the registration process of
NPOs. However, I do want to call on our NPOs themselves, to continue engaging with us so that we can be able to deal with this.
Another issue that was raised was related to backlogs of appeals. Obviously these appeals must be dealt with very quickly, because if appeals are delayed it means the services that need to be given to our people are delayed. The Ministry has appointed a team of professionals to assist reduce the backlog. Actually, I think that part of what we need to do we must look at the people out there who have either came out of university, who have the capacity, who we can train to assist us in this.
There was another issue that was raised by many of the members here that relates to vacancies of regional managers. Those posts will be filled before the end of the financial year in line with SA Social Security Agency, Sassa, reviewed business processes.
Also, important was the issue of social workers, as I was concluding earlier on I did indicate that one of the things that the hon Mbalula said to me was that it would be so good to have more social workers than you would have police men and women because they are able to deal with the issues right away. Whereas both men and women police come at a time when something has already happened and
something drastic has happened particularly against women. I do want to say that I will work very closely with other departments in particular the Department of Police, because this weekend for instance relating to some of the challenges that we have seen here in the Western Cape, body bags being carried away from our communities.
This weekend we are in a meeting, me and other relevant Ministers to see what is it we can do because we believe that the hand of the state in terms of law-enforcement must also happen, because it is our responsibility to protect our communities. However having said that I also would like to call on our communities to really try and work as close as possible with us because for me, the first protection has to be the people around you, it has to be your neighbours and it has to be your street. Hence our talking about social workers we want to make sure that those social workers, particularly the ones who have been trained by the department are flooded into our communities. It also pains me that to think that in a school there is only one social worker. Especially in the schools where there is violence against teachers and against the pupils themselves.
Something is not happening right in our communities where a child wakes up in the morning in the bag of that child he or she does not mind having a knife or something in the bag that is going to hurt somebody else. It means we must take a step back and say what are the things that we need to do to make sure that we improve the conditions of our pupils.
One of the things that I think we need to do strongly is to have a co- ordinated approach because the Department of Social Development can have the National Development Agency, NDA, Sassa and can have the different programmes that we have, but if we want to build a better South Africa it means each an every department must appreciate and understand what they need to d in order for them to assist us in creating a conducive environment for our people.
I do want to thank the department. I think I must say that I arrived to very enthusiastic group of people who are prepared to work. I have already had a meeting with the entire staff of my department, I have already been to be to Sassa, I have already been to NDA, I have already had the meetings and I do not believe in just meetings, I believe in people in people being out there in the streets. The first person to show the importance of being out there, so that we
can get the felt needs of our people, it has to start with me. [Applause.]
If I do not get out there and hear what the people are crying out for, but I am also sure that the people I work with have to appreciate and understand that I cannot run faster than them, they have to run faster than me. Running I do. Running I know I can get to each and every community.
I also would like to say that what social development is about is very important to me. It is said social development is about improving the wellbeing of every individual in society so they can reach their full potential. The success of society is linked to the wellbeing of each and every citizen.
So, even ourselves here as we sit we must not consider ourselves as people who are outside of social development. We must look at ourselves and say to ourselves: What are the needs that we need from social development? The difference with us is that we are privileged and we are better than others so we put ourselves in that category of people who are privileged, but the ones that we need to focus on most are the most vulnerable who do not have the capacity, the luxury of waking up in the morning in a comfortable house, from a
comfortable bed and when I say this, I am not just talking about black people, I am talking about poverty alleviation and poverty reduction and killing poverty and killing it across all racial lines. [Applause.]
We have seen for ourselves that you find people are out on the streets. It is no longer the colour of those people it is about the fact that many of our people are finding themselves in very difficult situations. It is for that reason; Chairperson that I stand here and I am saying the politics that we play let us find the right place for it. [Applause.]
When it comes to social development there is no time for that politicking because that politicking is what will not enable us to deliver for our people. In the portfolio committee I can guarantee you, I thank the hon Masango and I thank all the members of the portfolio committee who have been very positive. From the EFF to ACDP, to everybody who have been very positive today. [Applause.]
This is what I want to leave with you. The past years of apartheid are past years of apartheid and we did everything we could to make sure that we kill it. The past 25 years of democracy have been years of trying to build a base from where we all have to move. The next
25 years, when my grant son who is nine-months-old now, whether I will be still alive or not the people who will be seeing him and the generation that will become up with him, they will be saying during that time there was something that was called apartheid. Our people killed it and created the conducive environment for us. I do not want to see any of the children who are in school today, who 25 years down the line can be still living in the same environment.
It is for this reason that then I call upon my own government, my own ANC members, to say we can make the change. It is possible for us to make the change. To the members of the portfolio committee, Chairperson, you say you are going to have a robust engagement with us. I stand here and I can tell you, I am not afraid of that robust engagement because that robust engagement is what will help me, that will help my department that will help everyone including the agencies to try their best to do the best that they can.
So, I will not remove that oversight role that the portfolio committee has to play across political lines, because when all is said and done we will not be asked about which political party we belonged to. We will be asked about what we did, for our people. [Applause.]
We will be asked by the electorate who gave us a mandate. The electorate gave all of us the mandate. They gave the ANC the mandate to govern because it gave them more, but it also gave the opposition parties a mandate to be part and parcel of the equation. They will also ask the opposition what you did as we sent you to Parliament. So, I look forward to working very closely with you and I really request you, when we are not doing right, stand up and say it. Tell us we are not doing right. Let us not wait to come here and make the noises. The noises belong somewhere else.
In conclusion, hon Chairperson and hon members in particular and those that are in the gallery, my family who are also here today with us, I want to thank you all. Particularly thank my family because some people do not understand and do not appreciate what it is those who are not here, all the members who are here I know they appreciate and understand what it is to leave your children, be in Cape Town, be somewhere else and they all have to take care of themselves. I wish to thank them for their support. I also want to thank all others, friends, acquaintances and everyone that makes it possible for me to wake in the morning and deliver on what is expected of me.
Lastly, to me both in the department with the two agencies, we are in this together. We are going to show South Africa that when we work together especially also with the MECs who we have already met, the people of South Africa, we have heard your cry and that is what motivates us. Keep on pushing us so that ultimately your lives are changed. I thank you. [Applause.]
The ACTING CHAIRPERSON (Ms L S Makhubele-Mashele): Hon members are reminded that the combined debates on trade and industry and economic development Budget Vote will take place at 18:30 in the National Assembly Chamber. The debate on environmental affairs Budget Vote will take place in the Old Assembly Chamber and the debate on National Treasury in Committee Room E249. That concludes the debate and the business of the mini-plenary. The mini-plenary will rise.
The mini-plenary session rose at 18:45. -----------------------