The Department of Social Development expresses deep concern over the recurring pattern exhibited by the City Press in its articles of desperately trying to put the reputation of the Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu in disrepute.
In its recent article on December 10, 2023, the publication yet again attempts to fabricate a misleading story, insinuating mismanagement of R100 million Cara Funds by the Minister of Social Development and the Acting Director-General. The department strongly denies these allegations with utmost disdain.
It is crucial to emphasize that the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development allocated funds from the CARA to the Department of Social Development in 2008, 2010, and 2017. This clear evidence showcases that CARA allocations to the Department existed way before 2018.
Following the Department of Social Development's internal evaluation of the CARA fund management during the mentioned years, the Social Crime and Substance Abuse Chief Directorate within the Department prepared a proposal in June 2019. This proposal directed to the then Acting Director General, Mr. Mzolisi Toni, sought approval for utilizing the National Development Agency (NDA) as an implementing agent to oversee the R100 million CARA funds. Importantly, this decision was strictly administrative. Thus, it is evident that the decision to use the NDA did not in any way involve Minister Lindiwe Zulu or the current Acting DG, Mr. Linton Mchunu, despite the misleading implications in the article.
The article further insinuates that the National Treasury and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development were not engaged in discussions nor approved this project. These claims are unfounded, as the funding would not have been allocated in the first place to the Department of Social Development if discussions and processes were not followed.
The decision to engage the National Development Agency (NDA) stemmed from its status as a departmental agency established by parliamentary legislation within the Department of Social Development. The NDA operates under an Act of Parliament and is entrusted with the responsibility to serve as a vital channel for funding from the Government of the Republic, foreign entities, and various national and international donors. Its primary role involves facilitating development endeavors conducted by civil society organizations (CSOs). Given its extensive nationwide presence, it was fitting for the Department of Social Development (DSD) to employ its own agency for this particular project.
The NDA applied its established grant funding methodologies and procedures to oversee this project notwithstanding some administrative challenges experienced that are continuously being addressed. This involved a comprehensive adherence to protocols, commencing with the issuance of a call for proposals. Subsequently, CSOs underwent a selection process where they were shortlisted and evaluated by a committee composed of NDA staff, Department of Social Development representatives, the Department of Women, Youth & Persons with Disabilities, and members of the Interim Steering Committee on GBV&F. This approach aimed to ensure transparency and impartiality throughout the assessment.
As part of the DSD’s oversight responsibility and as outlined in the DSD's internal audit coverage plan 2022/23, an internal audit was launched by the DSD to audit the management of CARA funds administered by the NDA. Identified deficiencies within the internal controls were communicated to the NDA for improvement. The department will continue to monitor the CARA project as executed by the NDA.
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT