Gauteng DSD fails poor communities by not delivering dignity packs

Issued by Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Social Development
17 Oct 2023 in Press Statements

For the past seven years, the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) has failed vulnerable communities across Gauteng by not meeting its targets on the delivery of dignity packs and school uniforms.

According to the Annual Report for the 2022/23 financial year, only 29.5% of people were assisted in the poverty reduction programme against a target of 591 121, and only 4.9% of learners received uniform packs against a target of 444 000. This means that 416 448 people and 421 946 children did not receive dignity packs and uniforms, respectively.

The leaders of the Department of Social Development should be hanging their heads in shame for their seven years of failure to service Gauteng communities.

The DA has raised these challenges with the department year after year, and all we have received are excuses instead of action.

While poor communities have been denied the services they are mandated to receive from Social Development, the Department has returned unspent funds to the Treasury yearly. It appears that even this year, the Department will not meet its obligation.

The DA believes that the department is incapable of performing its mandate to deliver dignity packs and school uniforms. The DA therefore reiterates its call for Premier Panyaza Lesufi to make reports pertaining to these programmes public to ensure transparency and accountability.

Additionally, the DA proposes that MEC Mbali Hlophe consider the conversion of small cooperatives working with the department into small-scale businesses and incubate them to tender and provide uniforms and dignity packs to poor communities.

When the DA governs in 2024, alternative poverty alleviation programmes to support the vulnerable will be driven with the urgency it requires.