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Social Services: Improved Social Services for De Doorns in Western Cape
Source: www.SAnews.gov.za
Source Date: Thursday, November 14, 2013
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: South Africa
Created: Nov 14, 2013

“We need to ensure that all children who need ECD services, especially in the 0 – 4 age group, are given access to it. The NDA will further ensure that every ECD centre that operates in this area is properly registered and can provide services in terms of the norms and standards stipulated in the Children’s Act,” said Dlamini.

The mainstay of De Doorns is farming. It was the epicentre of the recent farm strikes. Employment in the sector is seasonal. Only about 30 000 people in the area are employed on a permanent basis. Employment increases to about 70 000 during the farming high season (September - April).

The department’s Project Mikondzo, a service delivery improvement initiative targeted at the poorest wards in the country, has uncovered a number of service delivery shortcomings and social challenges in De Doorns.

A lack of ECD services, limited social security services, alcohol and substance abuse, including a prevalence of foetal alcohol syndrome, unemployment, teenage pregnancy and malnutrition were some of the problems identified.

In her interaction with the community, Dlamini was told that some children in De Doorns attend ECD centres when their parents are employed, and are pulled out when their parents have no jobs and cannot afford to pay.

Dlamini said her department would conduct a survey in the area to determine the number of children requiring ECD services, so that plans can be immediately put in place to meet their needs.

Government funds ECD centres at a rate of R15 per child per day. Fifty percent of the amount is used for the nutritional needs of the child, while 30% contributes to the salaries of the ECD practitioners and support staff, and 20% goes to stimulation material and administrative costs.

Dlamini also announced that all children in De Doorns attending the nine schools in the area will be given school uniform starting in 2014. Few families in De Doorns can afford school uniform because of the poverty that prevails in the community.

“The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) will increase the frequency of its services in the area from once a week to twice a week, and upscale the provision of social relief in order to meet the need for social security interventions, especially food security. De Doorns has one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the country.

“Among other interventions to help deal with the social challenges faced by the community of De Doorns is the introduction of more social workers in the area. Currently, there are only six social workers servicing the area, all of them based in clinics,” Dlamini said.

The department will send six more social workers from the national office to the area on a temporary basis until a longer-term solution is found. The extra social workers will be based in SASSA offices.

The imbizo in De Doorns was held as part of Social Development Month, which takes place every year in October. It aims to engage communities to identify their challenges and put together action plans to deal with these challenges.

The campaign, held in conjunction with the NDA and SASSA, also aims to inform communities of the various social security programmes available to them and how these can be accessed.
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