Today, 13 September 2019, the Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez delivered a keynote address on the scope of services that the Department of Social Development (DSD) has dedicated to the Overberg Region.
For the 2019/20 financial year, DSD has allocated R59. 7 million for social services to be rendered to the Overberg Region. The service delivery areas in this region include, Theewaterskloof, Overstrand, Cape Agulhas and Swellendem.
Moreover, DSD render services across various programmes, namely:
- Childcare and Protection
- Care and Support to families
- Crime Prevention and Support
- Care and Service to Older persons
- Substance Abuse, Prevention and rehabilitation
- Youth Development
- Social Relief of Distress
- Institutional Capacity Building and Support
“To facilitate a nurturing, caring and safe environment for children to survive, be physically healthy, mentally alert, emotionally secure, socially competent and be able to learn, the Department has made provision for 34 ECD’s, to the value of R 7.9 million. We believe that this will go a long way to help children interact better with other children and adults, teaching vital skills needed for the school years ahead,” Minister Fernandez said.
Our government has continued to implement After School programs, not only to keep our children out of harm’s way but for numerous other reasons. Considerable evidence shows that regular, well-structured After-School programmes improve: educational outcomes, reduce drop-out rates, increase self-confidence and in turn improves learners’ potential to access tertiary education and work opportunities.
For the 2019/20 Financial year, the Department has allocated nearly R2 million for 7 after School Care Centres and R 455 000.000 for life skills programmes, mentoring family workshops and team building camps.
DSD is also responsible for providing victim support services that includes safe and secure accommodation, psycho-social support and empowerment of victims of crime and violence. Moreover, the programme focuses on victim-centered approach to crime and strives towards developing knowledge of victim issues, strengthening resources, addressing needs of the victims, and especially the prevention of secondary victimization. Our Department has dedicated over R1 million for the region in this regard.
Minister Fernandez said: “We are continuously working to expand the reach and quality of our substance abuse treatment and intervention services, although budget availability has become a barrier to coverage in all areas of need in the province.” In this regard, DSD has allocated just over R 1 million in terms of fighting the scourge of substance abuse in the area.
It should be emphasized that the Department needs significantly more funding to fully address the growing needs in the Overberg area for social welfare services such as substance abuse treatment, shelters for victims of domestic violence, and support for persons with disabilities. In the context of a shrinking tax base and reduced funding available from Treasury, this is going to remain a challenging area for us.
Under the leadership of Minister Fernandez, the Western Cape Department of Social Development remains dedicated to helping those in need of social services, in particularly, those who are poor and vulnerable people who have been affected by socio-economic and structural challenges.