Purpose of the Programme
Poverty continues to define the lives of many of our people despite the many efforts to address it. The role of the Sustainable Livelihoods unit is to act as a safety net for the poor and vulnerable. This entails attending to two important aspects of social development namely social protection and social investment. The social protection aspect the Department focuses on deals with the many negative manifestations of poverty like food insecurity, material deprivation, etc. Social investment entails employing resources in the community, for instance skills development as well as funding to reach communal goals and aspirations. The following section will outline how the Department of Social Services and Population Development through the sub program Sustainable Livelihoods has strategized to fight poverty.

Poverty Alleviation Focus Areas
War Room on Poverty Campaign

The War on Poverty Campaign is a government response towards the eradication of poverty. The programme was endorsed by both National Cabinet and the Provincial Executive Council during June 2009. The programme will be implemented over the MTSF period. The War on Poverty Programme is aimed at strengthening the coordination and integration of poverty alleviation programmes across the different spheres of government and sectors of society (Office of the Premier, DSSPD, Masupatsela, municipalities, grounded in IDPs and their respective SDBIPS). It is envisaged that the different programmes and development agencies, like the departmental Community Development Practitioners, Community Development Workers deployed within municipalities, Masupatsela, and Social Workers will be coordinated to ensure an integrated approach to the War on Poverty. The strategic significance of this approach is to ensure effective and efficient service delivery that should lead to greater impact on the conditions of the targeted households and communities. The state of the Province Address highlights the need to “aggressively expand the war on poverty “to enable more households to benefit from government’s comprehensive poverty alleviation programmes.

Inter- sectoral Collaboration – Poverty eradication is the responsibility of all stakeholders therefore we all have a critical role to play therefore the Integrated Food Security and Nutrition Task Team (IFSNTT) has been formed to respond to the food crisis that vulnerable individuals and households are experiencing.


Food Security – Although the country has experienced unprecedented economic growth in the last decade and a half, benefits to the poor have been minimal. The gap between the rich and poor has widened and the most obvious manifestation of this has been household food insecurity. The provision of emergency aid is done through the funding of Community Soup kitchens to the poor and vulnerable. In collaboration with Departments in the Social Sector (Agriculture, Education, Health and Water and Affairs and Forestry) community food gardens are established to promote household food production as short to medium term measure.

Social Research
– community development to a large extent is dependent on accurate information. Hence, the compiling of community profiles to inform social development interventions. Livelihood analyses of communities are critical in understanding the vulnerability index of beneficiaries,the range of services and the spatial spread of interventions.

Material Assistance
– The provision of community development services is optimized through the establishment of community based service centres in structures like Drop in centres. A  Drop in centre is a physical structure where comprehensive (basket of) services are rendered to vulnerable groups. The services meet the rights and needs of beneficiaries for prevention, survival, protection and development. Food and Clothing banks are used as emergency resources that are responsive in times of need and are linked to drop in centres.

Socio Economic Initiatives - This focus area relates to the provision of seed funding to groups for income-generating purposes. The groups funded are those that would have not received funding through formal credit system. The groups are capacitated to utilize the funds provided through sound business principles with the assistance of SOE like Small Enterprise Development Agency, Industrial Development Corporation and Khula etc. The shift is towards assisting initiatives that are rooted in municipal LED strategies.

Policy Mandates

  • The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa
  • White Paper on Social Welfare 1997
  • Non Profit Organization Act no 71 of 1997
  • Public Finance Management Act 01 of 1999
  • Social Assistance Act no 59 of 1992 or Social Assistance Act of 2004 ( when it comes into effect)
  • APEX Priorities
  • Provincial Growth and Development Strategy. -Northern Cape

Situational Analysis

The Northern Cape is South Africa’s largest province, occupying one third of the land yet with only 2.2% of the total population.  These dynamics create a unique environment, with challenges relating to socio-economic aspects and health care provision in the Northern Cape.  The province encounters many of the challenges faced by other South African provinces, in particular unemployment , substance abuse, especially alcohol, is a source of many social problems for households and youth throughout the province.  Population density figures emphasize the rural nature of the province. The processes of democracy within South Africa have created developmental opportunities for young people. However, the Northern Cape youth today remain outside of the mainstream economy.
Statistics from 2007 Census indicate that the Northern Cape can be classified as a young population with 56.23% of the population being younger than 30 years of age.  A significant shift occurs with the age group 20-24 which can be attributed to people in this age group moving to other provinces in search of better career and job opportunities and tertiary education. Statistics further indicate that unemployment amongst youth from the age 16-35 is 23.99% (87 405) in the province. The Northern Cape is a vast province with scare resources, especially those aiming at capacitating the youth sector

Resource Consideration

  • National DSD in conjunction with relevant stakeholders are crafting a Community Development Policy Framework which will effectively define the role of all stakeholders in community development.
  • There’s a forward thrust to professionalizing Community Development practice with the inherent essentials (Norms and standards, Code of Ethics and a proposed professional board.)


  • The global financial meltdown has had a negative effect on many, more so, the poor who have had to bear the brunt of the energy, financial and food crisis. This has stretched the resources of the department tremendously.
  • The grant dependency of many in our province is a cause for concern and a dedicated program would need to design focusing on those who are able bodied.

Description of planned quality improvement measures

  • A dedicated program would need to be designed  focusing on those who are able bodied (grant recipients)
  • Community development is now emerging as a recognized profession and recruitment will need to be extended to those who want to practice it.

Risk Management

1. Under-funding of sustainable livelihoods program will have a negative effect on services rendered, especially, if the strategic intent remains to increase the reach and range of services to rural areas.

The review of funding criteria and resourcing of programs appropriately. This will entail resource mobilisation within government (treasury) and externally (tapping into private sector corporate social investment.

2. Poor Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) Systems – A balanced framework for M&E is crucial in order to be able to gauge program impact both for accountability and program improvement purposes.

3. Policy vacuum in community development – the lack of focused policies, mandates and legislations etc have had a negative impact on the legitimacy and operations of the programs.
The conclusion of numerous processes like Community Development policy framework, Professionalization of CDPs and the CDP toolkit will create an enabling environment for community development practice.


Strategic Goal

  • To improve income, asset and capability of families and communities to enhance their livelihoods


  • Vibrant, equitable, sustainable rural communities contributing towards food security for all

Strategic Objective

  • To improve food security and material assistance to communities

Objective Statement

  • Provision of comprehensive community-based services and support to poor and vulnerable individuals, groups and NPOs to mitigate the effects of poverty and  increase the access to services and information within the context of the sustainable livelihoods approach



  • Sustainable Livelihoods – 3 500 benefitting for 2008/09


  • The complexities of development, deepening inequality and the levels of underdevelopment call for an integrated, multi-stakeholder approach to combating the effects of poverty. Finding synergies amongst our different programmes and development partners is therefore of utmost importance.


  • The alignment of the different departmental programs and services will augment and facilitate the delivery of integrated services to poor and vulnerable individual and groups. In partnership with social sector departments and development agencies, our Department will developed appropriate programmes and projects to respond effectively to the contextual challenges of poverty and inequality.