In terms of the Department’s 2010-2015 strategic plans, the campaign had found that two out of six priorities were relevant to sexual violence. And the 2012-2015 strategic plans saw priorities reduced from six to four areas. Approximately 0.4% of the national department’s budget was allocated towards welfare services which were distributed amongst 11 sub-programmes which included the social crime prevention and victim empowerment programme (VEP). Social crime prevention and victim empowerment grew from 3.9% to 9.2% of welfare services’ budget from the 2009/10 to 2014/15 periods. Between the 2013/14 and 2014/15 financial years, the Department’s expenditure on social crime prevention and victim empowerment increased by 86%. The significant increase in funds was directed at giving effect to the responsibilities borne by the department by virtue of the Child Justice Act of 2008. On 30 August 2011 the Department stated that government was not providing adequate financial support to the VEP. The European Union issued a grant for 18 million Euros for VEP which was relied on with an application was made to treasury for additional funding which resulted in an additional R8.4 million allocated to the programme in 2012/13. These funds went to a National Gender Based Violence command centre introduced in 2013/14 which was managed by Advance Call. There was a substantial increase in the use of consultants with expenditure multiplied from R1.1 million to R13.9 million between 2013/2014. Funds allocated to consultants were 5% greater than VEP staff costs (22%).
Ms Vetten told the Committee that it was a concern that there may be a duplication of existing services. The National ‘Stop Gender Violence Helpline’ managed by Lifeline was such an example. It was also funded by the national and Gauteng departments of social development costing R 1.2 million per year. It was run by a staff of 23 where the command centre’s staff compliment was 75. There was some discrepancy regarding the composition of the staff as the Minister had announced the 65 of the 75 would be retired social workers whereas the Annual Report 2013/14 details 60 social work graduates. The Helpline services about 13 000 callers annually whereas the Command centre anticipates 2400 callers annually. The command centre was only available in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal, areas which were already serviced by women’s organisations. Other potential duplication was in the form of the Inter Ministerial Committee on Gender based Violence coexisting with the Nation Council on Gender based Violence under the Ministry of Women but was on hold. Further, the 2013 Department of Women Children and Persons with Disabilities gender based violence campaigns as well as the development and implementation of its five year national strategic plan.
Other observations, according to the 1997 White Paper for Social Welfare, were that social welfare programmes were not considered to be critical social investment priorities and were under resourced. Thus, salaries were low and working and service conditions were poor for welfare personnel. In 2014 the DSD subsidised only 75% of NPO salaries while paying private sector service providers in full. Other concerns included inconsistencies across provinces such as the quantum paid, the calculation of payments and what was funded. It was also posited that the EPWP was not an appropriate programme to support rape services as was the experience in Mpumalanga.
Shukumisa thus recommended that the Department of Social Development (DSD) should not duplicate existing NPO programmes and services. Ms Vetten submitted that the funding policy to NPOs be reconsidered and that funding should reflect value of work as well as being better standardised. The relationship between services and funding should be such that services determined the funding, where the measure of a good service was its preventative nature. Greater emphasis was needed on women’s care work and women and children’s trauma as these were lowly valued. Finally, public hearings should be held around an appropriate approach to funding services including rape services.
The full summary of the meeting and discussion can be found here on the PMG website