Dept of Social Development must monitor Covid-19 interventions to avoid graft: Parly

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Cape Town –  Parliament wants the Department of Social Development to effectively monitor the implementation of its Covid-19 interventions and not allow any corruption to flourish, according to  social development portfolio committee chairperson Mondli Gungubele.
He made the comments when Minister Lindiwe Zulu and her delegation of officials appeared before a virtual sitting of parliamentary committees yesterday.
 
Gungubele told the department that monitoring was not an option.
“We must suffocate all conditions that are conducive to corruption and fraud,” he said. 
Gungubele also urged fellow MPs not to leave any stone unturned in ensuring that  there was no space for corruption to breathe.
 
“It is going to be important for members (MPs) in their areas to be able to pick up any smell of intention to defraud,” he said, adding that there should be a high level of supervision and monitoring.
 
A report by department officials showed that the department has provided psycho-social support services to 9 828 people during the lockdown and 15 000 homeless people were placed at shelters.
 
There was a distribution of 3 842 personal protection equipment to officials nationwide.
 
The community nutrition and development centres distributed food parcels to 90 163 households while entities distributed to 7 981 households. 
 
The provinces distributed 106 910 food parcels.
 
However, the traditional methods of distributing food parcels was being reconsidered as it was proving to be ineffective and several risks have emerged such as trucks delivering food.
 
The MPs heard that gender-based violence (GBV) command centre has received 442 calls, 1 162 non- GBV calls.
 
The MPs noted with concern that the food parcels were highly politicised and that the public was charged varying amounts by councillors to fill their forms when applying for social relief of distress grants.
 
Some called for the opening of Sassa offices and asked about future plans for the shelter.
 
Briefing the committee, Sassa CEO Busisiwe Memela-Khambula said they were considering payment money by using e-wallet and cash to replace the distribution of food parcels. 
 
She said people could apply on their own for social relief of distress without going via councilors. 
 
Memela-Khambula also said they could not open offices as the lockdown  regulations were still in place.
 
Zulu said they were looking at a risk adjustment approach to Covid-19 lockdown.
 
“We are going to have a risk adjustment approach and we are looking at what must be eased or not,” she said, adding that both Sassa and the National Development Agency have been asked areas of their operations that could be eased.
 
Poltical Bureau

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL’s special #Coronavirus page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za

By Mayibongwe Maqhina

Credit: www.iol.co.za

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