Build­ing a car­ing so­ci­ety

Public Sector Manager - - Message From The Acting Director-General -

As the coun­try marks So­cial Devel­op­ment Month in October, we can re­flect on the sig­nif­i­cant progress we have made in im­prov­ing the wel­fare of those fam­i­lies and chil­dren who are in need. Thanks to the so­cial pro­grammes put in place by our demo­cratic govern­ment, older South Africans and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties are also more se­cure.

Amer­i­can civil rights ac­tivist Pearl S Buck once wrote:“Our so­ci­ety must make it right and pos­si­ble for old peo­ple not to fear the young or be de­serted by them, for the test of a civ­i­liza­tion is the way that it cares for its help­less mem­bers”.At the birth of South Africa's demo­cratic dis­pen­sa­tion, govern­ment em­braced a de­vel­op­men­tal frame­work to ad­dress a his­tory of un­der­de­vel­op­ment.

South Africa is spend­ing more than R150 bil­lion on so­cial safety net grants. Of ev­ery R100 spent on so­cial pro­grammes, R42 goes to­wards fam­ily and child grants.The share for pen­sion­ers is R41, while R16 goes to the sick and dis­abled.The re­main­ing rand is held in re­serve to fund emer­gency relief in the event of a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter.

We have suc­ceeded in rais­ing fam­i­lies out of poverty, made ed­u­ca­tion ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery child, and im­proved uni­ver­sal ac­cess to health­care. In re­spond­ing to the HIV and AIDS epi­demic, we de­vel­oped and rolled out the largest an­tire­torivral pro­gramme in the world, in­clud­ing one of the largest and most suc­cess­ful cam­paigns to pre­vent moth­erto-child trans­mis­sion.

The aim of the coun­try's so­cial pro­grammes has al­ways been to en­sure that no South African is left be­hind, and to reaf­firm the be­lief ex­pressed in the Free­dom Char­ter – “The peo­ple shall share in the coun­try's wealth”.

We con­tinue to make sig­nif­i­cant progress in pro­mot­ing the wel­fare of our cit­i­zens, how­ever, many needs and chal­lenges re­main. Re­search by Statis­tics South Africa shows that the dis­com­forts of poverty are most heav­ily vis­ited on women. In fact, you are most likely to be poor if you are un­e­d­u­cated, young, Black and fe­male.

South Africa's so­cial safety net is ex­pan­sive, but there is still work to be done and peo­ple who need our help and sup­port.

Real com­mu­nity devel­op­ment is de­pen­dent on govern­ment reach­ing out and speak­ing to the com­mu­ni­ties we serve. We must work to cre­ate aware­ness of our pro­grammes that tackle chal­lenges such as poverty and ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion, among oth­ers. It is through lis­ten­ing to the con­cerns of com­mu­ni­ties that we will im­prove ser­vice de­liv­ery.

There is a month of ac­tiv­i­ties planned that will draw in the part­ners that we must work with to en­sure that we build on our suc­cess. We must, as pub­lic ser­vants, use this month to reach out to com­mu­ni­ties, busi­ness and civil so­ci­ety to en­sure that no part of our coun­try re­mains out of our reach.

Con­sider this the month when we be­gin to work smarter in rais­ing aware­ness about devel­op­ment pro­grammes and speed up the pace of build­ing car­ing and sus­tain­able com­mu­ni­ties.

Phumla Wil­liams, GCIS Act­ing Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral.

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