The Department of Welfare and Population Development is striving for a better life for all people in KwaZulu-Natal. Eradicating poverty is the single biggest challenge in the Province. The estimates on the levels of poverty vary according to the criteria used, and with continuous research, it has been determined that more that 56% of the Province's population are determined as being poor. The challenge for the Department is to ensure that its short and medium term interventions contribute towards reaching the vision of the Province so that the majority of its citizens will live in a society that is poverty free. Because of its multi-dimensional nature, dealing with the complexities of poverty and inequality requires a multi-sectoral and integrated response.
The participation of communities and civil society in the identification of target areas and vulnerability is the premise for the functioning of development work. To facilitate the introduction of the much needed multi-sectoral approach to development, partners continue to play a major role in the fight against poverty. Consequently, partnerships with other stakeholders such as government departments, municipalities, business sector and non governmental organizations that are prepared to work with the poorest of the poor will be strengthened in the future.
One Stop Centres
The Department of Social Welfare is in the process of intensifying its efforts to bring government services closer to the people, especially those people living in rural areas. To facilitate access to services, the Department has built six Development Centres at a total cost of R62,6 million. These are:
Tulwane One Stop Development Centre (R14,2 million in InkandlaMunicipality);
Mamba One Stop Development Centre (R12,8 million in UmlalaziMunicipality);
Mbonomuhle One Stop Development Centre (R6,2 million in NongomaMunicipality);
Prophet Isaiah Shembe One Stop Development Centre (R14 million in eThekwini Municipality);
Mboza One Stop Development Centre (R7,5 million in MhlabuyalinganaMunicipality); and
Inkosi Mbongeleni Zondi One Stop Development Centre (R7,5 million in MsingaMunicipality).
These centres are a major step forward in addressing the issue of lack of infrastructure, especially in under- resourced areas, which for a long time has hampered access to the available social services by the most needy. At one stop centres the community will be afforded an opportunity to obtain government services without having to travel to another area to get another service. Rural transport is often difficult and inadequate with many children, elderly and infirm having to walk vast distances. An example of the service provided would be the availability of a mobile clinic to provide a service to children and elderly within the same premises, and to have the registration of births as well as the application for grants within the same premises.
Services offered include:
Clinics, Home Affair Offices, Labour Offices, Legal services and SASSA Offices.
Early Childhood Development facilities, which will provide stimulation and physical care and support to pre-school children between 0-6 years.
persons and those needing nutrition, physical and psycho social care.
Service to people with disabilities, including protective workshops through which income can be earned under conditions favourably to their physical and mental state.
Youth services that will include exposure to information, skills development, life orientation and employment opportunities in accordance with the National Youth Service Framework.
Drop in services will be available to give care to those families, children and youth that are affected with HIV and AIDS.
Women empowerment will be offered in the form of exposure to income generating projects to accord them some independence as well as receive information on human rights.
One of the Department’s main focuses is on empowering women. Women are in the majority of the section of the population who live below the poverty line in rural areas with increasing number of households headed by women likely to be poorer than those households that are headed by men. Consequently, the Department has put in place empowerment programmes that target women and address their needs, concerns and challenges.
The establishment of development projects by the Department around KwaZulu-Natal bears testimony to the great success of the drive to mobilize women. These projects target women living in the poorest communities and who have children below the age of 15. Flagship projects among other things create opportunities for women to participate in food gardens, poultry farming, sewing, bakery and Early Childhood Development Centres. The provision of support services like Early Childhood Development Centres within these programmes create an enabling environment for women to participate actively in the socio-economic transformation of the Province and the country as a whole. In addition, these centres provide urgently required facilities and resources for preschool children’s development. Skills training offered through these projects are not only limited to practical projects but include bookkeeping and financial management. As a result of these interventions women have become more economically empowered and have become key role players in building the economy of the Province.
Non Profit Organisations
The Department subsidizes and registers Non-Profit Organisations which are managed and owned by women and helps them find markets for their products. Community Development Practitioners employed by the Department offer support in the form of life, financial management and parenting skills as well as capacity building to the members of the NPOs. In cases where the NPOs are able to generate a fair amount of income, they are assisted to register as co-operatives.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development applauds the tremendous dedication and determination shown by women in all walks of life.
Social Development MEC Mrs Weziwe Thusi
Nature of Business: The Department's main functions are social welfare and research.
The Department of Social Welfare and Population Development is commited, through an empowered staff, to the provision, promotion and development of comprehensive, people-centered, social welfare services to the community, in order to maximise the inherent potential of every individual in KwaZulu-Natal.
"Promote self-reliance, sustainable development and beat poverty"