South Africa: Minister Bathabile Dlamini – Announcement of Social Grant Recipients and Isibindi Matric Results

Statement by the Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, during Announcement of Social Grant Recipients and Isibindi Matric Results at the GCIS in Pretoria - Gauteng Province

Programme Director; Ms Lumka Oliphant;

Director-General of Social Development, Mr Zane Dangor;

Special Advisor; Mr Sipho Shezi;

Senior Managers and government officials present;

Representatives from NACCW;

Grade Twelve Learners from Gauteng Province present here;

Members of the media;

Good Morning to all South Africans and Compliments of the new season.

We appear before you and South Africa this morning to report and account on the investment Government is making in looking after South Africa's children. Every month, more than 12 million children receive social grants. This is the investment that the taxpayer through South African government is making in the future of our children.

Every month, the Department of Social Development through its agency - the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) distribute over R11 billion worth of social grants to the most vulnerable and poor of our country. As the Department of Social Development, we have been consistent in letting South Africans know that social grants play a crucial role in keeping South African children in school. We are, therefore, here to let you know how our grant recipients who wrote matric in 2016 performed.

Last week, the Minister of Basic Education released the Class of 2016 Senior Certificate results and we are now taking forward the sterling work done by that Department by informing you how the Grade Twelve learners who receive social grants performed. These include children living in Child and Youth Headed families and those in foster care families.

The ANC led Government has prioritised education in line with the values of the Freedom Charter. We have committed and developed policies that are human rights based. Our policies are progressive and inclusive to ensure that every child receives basic education as well as other important social protection services. Social grants too; are a Constitutional right, particularly, for our children.

Ladies and Gentlemen

The Department of Social Development has put in place measures that look after our children in child and youth headed households. One of the most successful programmes of the Department is Isibindi - a programme which deploys child and youth care workers in communities to assist children in vulnerable homes. Isibindi has a special focus on Grade 12 learners and in 2016, three thousand four hundred (3 400) matriculants were part of this programme.

The assistance by Isibindi child and youth care workers ensures that our children remain in school and attend classes. The Child and Youth Care Workers support these children and make sure that they are relieved from household responsibilities, including being parents to their siblings while they are trying to pass Grade 12.

Currently, the Department of Social Development supports 300 Isibindi sites across the country; which are managed by community based organisations and supporting Two hundred thousand (200 000) children and youth.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In our endeavour to monitor and report on the provision of comprehensive and integrated social protection services; the Department of Social Development, DBE and SASSA signed a Protocol Agreement. The agreement is aimed at improving the well-being of the child by tracking the extent to which poor children access social protection services from Government.

At the heart of this initiative, is a tracking and reporting on the investment Government is making in order to improve the quality of lives of children - in particular poor children through linking of administrative data systems.

This is made possible by using the Identity Number as a unique number and/or variable to any administrative data and matching various data systems in order to determine the extent to which children access services and interventions that Government provides. These interventions vary from health care, education, social security, as well as other social protection services.

In addition to the social assistance interventions, it is important that poor children are assisted to complete their basic schooling and further their studies. Education is a major vehicle through which children can exit poverty.

The current Protocol Agreement was extended to include the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to ensure that poor children have access to financial assistance to either study at a Universities or Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.

This policy reforming initiative is at its infancy but it allows academically eligible social grant beneficiaries not to be double means tested for financial eligibility. A Special outreach project was initiated in October 2016, which was at aimed at reaching a large number of poor and vulnerable children in Grade 12 to apply for NSFAS funding for the 2017 academic year.

Special strategies were also employed to reach as many poor children especially in the Quintile 1, 2, 3 schools as well as children attending Quintile 4 and 5 schools.

Today, our report provides information on the analysis about children that were receiving social grants, attending Grade 12 in 2016 and their matric results.

Members of the Media,

According to Department of Basic Education, Six Hundred and Seventy Four Thousand Six Hundred and Twenty (674 620) full time learners registered to write for the National Senior Certificate. Out of this total; One Hundred and Eighty Eight Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty Eight (188 758) learners were social grant beneficiaries.

Out of this total, One Hundred and Seventy Eight Thousand Four Hundred and Eleven grant beneficiaries actually wrote their examinations (95 %).

This suggests that over Ten Thousand (10 000) grant recipients dropped out of school before sitting for their final examinations. We commit to investigating reasons for this dropout.

I am very pleased to announce that the girl child continues to take all the opportunities given to her by Government. We want to report that One Hundred and Twelve Thousand Four Hundred and Nine (112 409) of the total number of social grant learners who wrote matric were female and they live in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Of most concerning to us is that Only Sixty Six Thousand and two (66 002) were boys. We need to be concerned about the boy child and it is time that we pay attention to our boys.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The Department of Basic Education provides the descriptions for the types of pass for candidates with:

a. Minimum Pass - Achieved National Senior Certificate (NSC)

b. Higher Certificate (H) - Can gain entry into a college but not a university

c. Diploma (D) - Can gain entry into a college, technikon (university of technology) and university, but can only study a diploma course not a degree course

d. Bachelors (B) - Can gain entry to any tertiary institution

Despite the conditions of our vulnerable children; 41% managed to receive a Bachelor's pass, which gives them entry for any tertiary education. The majority of the learners who obtained a Bachelors Pass were from KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

These results are very important because they show that 83% of the grant recipients are eligible to further their studies for either a Diploma or a Degree.

This information is vital particularly for NSFAS as these students should automatically qualify for funding to further their studies at institutions of higher learning. With the removal of the means test for financial eligibility on social grant beneficiaries, there should be no hindrance in them pursuing their chosen careers.

Finally, working closer with NSFAS a large number of children were reached in order to assist them to apply for financial assistance. For example a lot of application forms were distributed to Isibindi sites and we were also able to target poor districts municipalities by distributing some application forms to DBE district offices. In addition, a number of learners were reached during the Department's public participation programme, Mikondzo.

We are grateful for the existing partnership between the Department and NSFAS as it will certainly advance the hopes and aspirations of poor, orphaned and vulnerable children in the country.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all our social grant beneficiaries who did well and to encourage those who did not make it. We want to say this is not the end of the journey and Government has made provision for all learners who did not pass to try again through the specially designed Second Chance Matric Support Programme.

The Department of Social Development through its Gender Based Violence Command Centre will continue to provide counselling and support for all learners and parents of children who did not make it.

The GBV Command Centre can be reached on 0800 428 428 or dial *120*7867# from a cell phone.

I thank you

Source: Department of Social Development