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Date: 03 May 2012
Title: Social grants to get new biometric system - Dlamini
Cape Town - The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) will begin re-registering all social grant beneficiaries on a new biometric system between June 1 and December 31, the Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini said on Wednesday.
This is one of several initiatives the department will undertake to improve the social grants system.
Delivering her Budget Vote speech in Parliament, Dlamini outlined several measures her department would undertake to improve the delivery of social grants and cut costs and the risk of fraud in the social grants system.
Sassa has also introduced a new payment system for social grants which Dlamini said would help the government save R800 million a year.
Added to this, the department would revamp 400 pay points and 300 social grant offices over the next three years.
A total of R30 million has been allocated to set up an inspectorate to help the department weed out fraud. The inspectorate is expected to be up and running by 2015.
While strengthening the social grants system, the department will also look at ensuring that
conditions around the receipt of child support grants were met by grant recipients.
Mothers that receive the grant already have to ensure that their children attend school, and
clinics regularly, but Dlamini said mothers did not always comply with these provisions.
"We will look at more forcefully applying the conditions, starting with an extensive communication campaign to create awareness about these conditionalities and compliance with them," she said, adding that currently 10.6 million children receive child support grants.
A protocol had also been signed with the Department of Basic Education to ensure that the children of those mothers that received either the child support grants or foster care grants, attended school regularly.
Dlamini said the department's Food for All Campaign would be rolled out this year. The programme is based on Brazil's Zero Hunger (Zero Fome) programme.
The department would launch the programme in the area in Umkhanyakude in KwaZulu-Natal, she said.
Of the department's budget, R70 million would go towards the victim empowerment programme and Dlamini said the department would place more emphasis on preventative measures - by interacting more with families.
She thanked the Japanese International Co-operation Agency for donating 10 specially modified cars to help the department in assisting people with disabilities.
Dlamini said a policy guideline had been developed for early childhood development services and a programme in this regard would be put together by June.
The department would spend R40 million to conduct an audit over the next two years of its early childhood development service providers.
Services would also be consolidated for orphans and vulnerable childhood - with the first of 10 000 youth and childcare workers being recruited this financial year.
The department has allocated R256 million to its bursary scheme to train social workers. More than 5 000 social workers have been trained through the department's bursary scheme, Dlamini said.
She said she was aware that many of these social workers were now for the first time battling to get placed and added that her department was working with provincial departments to get social workers placed.
The department had also begun engaging resident social workers to mentor new social workers, adding that the department would soon be launching the Forum of Veteran Social Workers which would advice the department in ways the country can improve social-work services. - BuaNews