Chairperson of the NCOP, hon Minister of Social Development, hon Deputy Minister of Social Development, hon Members of Parliament, special delegates from provinces, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, last year the whole world experienced the effects of the global financial crisis and its dire socioeconomic consequences, especially for the developing countries. Despite the economic and social effects of the crisis, coupled with the legacy of apartheid - deprivation for the majority of the South African people - the Department of Social Development continued to prevail. Through its programmes grounded in social security, welfare services, and integrated developmental services, the department continued to provide hope and brought stability to many families and communities.
We agree with the Minister that the ruling party and government believe in the social transformation of our society. Central to this task is confronting the challenges of poverty and underdevelopment. Confronting poverty means that our efforts should seek to empower people to enable them to improve themselves. The department has been allocated a budget of R95,9 billion for the current fiscal year. Of this total budget, 93% goes towards social assistance, which is the payment of social grants. This allocation will assist the most vulnerable in line with issues raised by the President in the state of the nation address this year. It shows the government's commitment to helping the poor people.
Empowering communities to get out of poverty is one of the major pillars of the social transformation agenda. The department demonstrated this understanding by allocating R83,5 billion to the National Development Agency, which has a primary mandate of eradicating poverty and its causes by granting funds to civil society organisations for the purpose of implementing development projects for poor communities and strengthening the capacity of civil society organisations that provide services to the poor.
All the developmental and antipoverty initiatives depend on an adequate number of social auxiliary workers as well as development for practitioners both in government and nongovernmental organisations which fall under the NGO sector. This reminds me of people who gave of themselves to be volunteers, like Charlotte Maxeke, who was one of the first black social workers. Hon Faber, coming from the rural areas myself, and doing constituency work, we have noted that this sector is understaffed. Our programme of Taking Parliament to the People has echoed the same sentiments.
What makes us happy is that there is an acknowledgement by the Department of Social Development to address that challenge. That has been shown by the way the department has responded to the challenge, by allocating R2,26 million in bursaries for the training of more social workers. With more social workers, the department will be able to maximise its effectiveness in contributing towards poverty alleviation. However, the challenges facing auxiliary social workers need to be addressed comprehensively. There must be upward mobility and a career path. We also have to recognise their prior learning. Whilst I am speaking about the social workers, I must also say that we applaud the Department of Social Development for giving stipends to our caregivers who started as volunteers.
Begodu, mhlambe ngingaba nesibawo, Sihlalo, ukuthi kulabo abanikela ngesizo, ama-caregivers, asazi bona singeza nawaphi amaqhinga ukuze sisize ukuthola abobaba ngombana lapha ngihlala khona kunomraro wokuthi abobaba abafuni ukuzinikela ekusizeni, babebanikeli ngesizo, ama-caregivers. Begodu ngesikhethu, baba, akukghonakali bonyana umma asize ubaba ngokumhlambisa. Asisizaneni nanyana singazi bona bunjani. [Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiNdebele paragraph follows.)
[And maybe I can make a request, Chairperson, especially to those who provide assistance, the caregivers. We don't know what kind of strategies we can come up with to help them in bringing men into the fold, because there is a challenge where I come from in that men do not want to make themselves available to provide assistance, and helping caregivers. And according to my culture, it is not acceptable for a woman to help bathe a man. Let's help each other although we don't know how. [Applause.]]
The ANC is committed to fighting against all forms of human trafficking. Most of the victims of human trafficking are women and children. We need to create comprehensive national and provincial antitrafficking strategies and also ensure that these strategies are well resourced. We must intensify our partnerships with other role-players and fellow departments. I know that we have been championing these strategic tasks. Indeed, the task to combat human trafficking requires significant resources. Our partnership momentum is relevant more than ever before in the light of the Fifa Soccer World Cup and the dangers that this can bring as well, in complicating human trafficking.
The President has declared 2010 a year of action. This is a clarion call to the ANC-led government to do things differently and with a new sense of urgency and compassion for the poor. This call for action should characterise the approach to social services, the speed at which we do our work and demonstrate its quality, especially that of the department. In building a caring society together, let us improve the quality of life of the people of South Africa by working together with the department and other important stakeholders. Working together, we can do more. The Select Committee on Social Services fully supports this Budget Vote. I thank you. [Applause.]