Introduction of the newly appointed Head of Department - Kimberley - 10 March 2017

Programme Director

I am delighted that we meet today. It is almost midway through March and it is the first time this year that I get to engage with most of you. We do not meet as often as I would like to, but when an opportunity comes to engage with staff I seize it and I am truly grateful to be in the company of a public service department that consistently delivers.
I have the distinct honour this morning to introduce to you, the staff and lifeblood of Social Development, your new Head of Department. In the same vain we have gathered not to say goodbye to the former Acting Head of Department, Mr Ichabod Manyane, but to thank him for the sterling work that he has done steering this titanic through the rough seas into calmer waters.
We, and I am sure everyone here present and absent would agree that Mr Manyane has picked up where the previous HOD left off and ensured that the Department performs consistently well as it did before and as it will continue to do so. For your leadership, guidance and selfless service we thank you. We do not know where the road from here on forward will lead you, but we wish you all the best.
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace”.
Numbers 6:24-26

It is now my distinct honour to introduce to you Ms Hendriena Samson, affectionately known to all as Drinie. Ms Samson is no stranger to this Department and in the audience are colleagues who worked with her closely for many years.
Drinie was appointed as the Head of Department effective 1 March 2017 and she has since been very active in the programmes of the Department. She comes from the Department of Economic Development and Tourism where she served as Acting Head of Department.
Drinie was born and raised in Worcester and started her career as a social worker in 1980. The HOD has gained extensive experience and developed an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Social Development Sector field that spans over twenty six years. So it is evident that the HOD holds a wealth of experience and it confirms that her appointment was done on merit and what is in the best interest of the Department and those we serve.
During 1994, Drinie was assigned as one of four officials tasked with establishing the Department of Social Development and Welfare Services in the Northern Cape in the New Dispensation. Since then the HOD has held key strategic Management Positions and became an Activist for Youth and Children and served on National Inter Ministerial Structures to protect the Rights of Children. It is abundantly clear that the passion for the profession always burned bright and strong and I can say with conviction HOD that you are home. Right here where the heart is.
As you have now heart we are privileged to have in our midst a seasoned administrator with an illustrious career and who is well travelled. I am sure HOD will miss the globetrotting lifestyle. But I can assure you colleagues that it was hard work traversing the globe selling our Province as a destination of choice for both business and pleasure. The HOD has presented herself well and was awarded with two Gold Awards at the Premiers Service Excellence Awards in 2009 and 2012.
HOD, the Department of Social Development has been given the task of facilitating social protection imperatives outlined in the NDP by coordinating Outcome 14: an inclusive and responsive social protection system. This is a responsibility I trust you with the collective support will accord the seriousness it deserves. Processes are currently underway to establish relationships and mechanisms that will take this work forward.

We have agreed that the collaboration between us, SASSA and the NDA is non-negotiable and I am happy with the improvement that we have recorded in terms of improving communication amongst ourselves and improving our relationship. I can assure you that this collaboration is going to take us far when it comes to improving the lives of our people in the province.
We at times looked not to be clear on our plans regarding the support to women empowerment. I know that there are plans but perhaps we need to be clear at all times when asked about our roles and plans when it comes to the Youth, disabled and Women empowerment. I have made it clear to my office that since it is dominated by youth the issues of Youth Development must be prioritized and it should be an area where we put a mark on it. 

Violence against women and children continues unabated despite efforts by both government and civil society groups to curb this scourge. A young democracy such as ours is threatened by this violence aimed at women and children which in turn undermines their rights to dignity and contribution to sustainable development. We should place greater emphasis on re strengthening our Victim Empowerment Programme as well as prevention efforts.
On this note I want to convey my condolences to the families affected by the tragic shooting incident two days ago. Families have been torn apart and our community have been shaken by a domestic disagreement gone horribly wrong. Law enforcement Officers lost their lives protecting the rights and freedom of citizens and they are our heroes. Our prayers and well wishes goes out to the officer still recovering from the wounds sustained during this ordeal. May God shower his mercy and protection on us all.
HOD, substance abuse continues to plague our society and especially poor communities, further sinking them into deeper levels of poverty and violence. We must seriously intensify our prevention and treatment efforts and the implementation of our comprehensive National Anti-Substance Abuse Programme of Action. Importantly, we need to ensure that we stay on top of the progress at the new Treatment Centre so as to ensure that those in need of assistance do get it as soon as possible.

We have done very well in term of our Early Childhood Development initiatives and I am confident that you will continue on this trend and also pick up the pace to ensure that we reach more children with our limited resources. Here our collaboration with both SASSA and the NDA is of paramount importance.
The department is doing well in many aspects, it is a common knowledge that being associated with the department of Social Development in the province is a privilege because we have become known as trendsetters and performers. To all the officials I wish to express my profound gratitude and appreciation for a job well done.
With regard to our NGO’s and NPO’s I can state that I am fairly at ease with the management thereof. We need to impress on them the importance of compliance and to ensure that they operate within the prescripts of the Act. This will necessitate that we lend them greater support and also to ensure that all the checks and balances are in place. And to ensure that money allocated goes on to reach those we seek to serve and assist.
However, HOD, what we are not maximizing is communicating our achievements and programmes. This can be attributed to the limited resources that the department. We need to aggressively communicate our programmes and achievements.  I call on you to communicate with the people responsible for marketing and profiling our achievements. I am sure we have capable officials in the Department to do just that and they can only communicate that which is brought to their attention. I today implore you to give greater cooperation and allocate adequate resources to these officials.

Colleagues, the government is embracing the cost cutting measures. We have to ensure that we try at all cost to adhere to that but at the main we should be innovative. My position has always been that we cannot only be praised by achieving clean audits but that should be accompanied by service delivery. We are a very strategic department responsible for social being of our people. Our District War rooms should respond quickly to the queries. The local war rooms are very important and that is an area that we should give a specific attention.

We must promote effective financial management, transparent and accountable government and improve the capacity of the state.
We have to ponder to what extent are we responding to the needs of our people? Are we consistent with the manner in which we procure goods and services, are we making a noticeable contribution in the areas of job creation, economic development and improved quality of our people’s lives and provision of quality social infrastructures efficiently and cost effectively?

Are we truly people centered with all the principles of Batho-Pele. Are we paying our service providers on time? Are we also treating our colleagues and subordinates in a fair and respectable manner? Do we do justice with that which we have been entrusted to? We still battle with general responsiveness to the public. We battle with responding to legislature questions on time. On a number of issues we are caught wanting by civil society groups and individuals. We must be responsive to our people and we must respond on time.

I have no doubt in my mind that the HOD have mulled over these issues and is battle ready to take on this challenge with the zeal she has displayed throughout her illustrious career thus far. It might look a daunting task ahead but with the support and collective efforts we, being led by the HOD will overcome. And I am reminded by a quote from Charles Dickens, from his book The Old Curiosity Shop- HOD when things feel like it is bearing you down remember “-The sun himself is weak when he first rises, and gathers strength and courage as the day gets on”.
A word of advice before I conclude HOD- U will face criticism in the course of dispensing your duties. It comes with the territory. How you face and embrace the criticism will determine the outcome of your efforts. It was Aristotle who said that “there is only one way to avoid criticism. Do Nothing. Be Nothing. Say Nothing” So your experience, character and your positive attributes will be an appropriate answer to all your critics. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. —
On that note ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Head of Department for the Department of Social Development, Ms Drinie Samson. I wish you a a successful tenure at the Department and I can assure you that we will walk beside you on this journey of discovery and greatness.

Thank you




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