An improvement from the first to the second cycle of CBM is that some CPs were able to establish better working relationships with the management and staff of the local facilities, particularly in the case of SASSA. Some CPs also reported changes in staff attitude, and recorded improvements at a local facility.
For example our partner, Qedusizi Advice Office monitoring the SASSA KwaMhlanga Local Office reports these improvements contributing to better service delivery: the visibility of SASSA officials through wearing name tags, staff adhering to the working hours, and additional staff appointed to ease the workload. While the public education for rural areas has not been achieved, the SASSA manager reports that establishment of satellite offices is contained in the office long term plan. Our Community Partner monitoring the Utrecht SASSA Office in KZN, reports that the waiting time has been reduced to 30 minutes.
The difficulties of rural beneficiaries accessing services has been addressed by the increase of satellite grant application sites, new born registrations at hospitals, and improved service delivery by ICROPS (rural outreach service). Dialogue as a methodology works well to surface and triangulate the service delivery issues generated during the survey and monitoring phase. It also establishes common ground and service delivery priorities between the local residents and government officials. An Improvement Committee is established to track progress and ensure delivery.
The challenge is often implementation. Service delivery challenges as a result of systemic, policy or legislative issues; budgets; and outsourced contracts that facilitate unlawful and immoral debit deductions, often reside with officials higher up in government bureaucracy at a national and/or a provincial level. Advocacy strategies and action then kicks in to assert pressure to ensure delivery,either led by the Black Sash in collaboration with the CPs and/or alliances of civil society organisations.
Examples include our Hands off Our Grants (HOOG) Campaign and the implementation of Regulation 11. The provision of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as well as staff shortages, drugs and equipment are examples of campaign issues at a higher level.