The KwaZulu-Natal department of social welfare and population development is no more.
From now, it will be known as the department of development because it has more than one mandate.
Announcing the name change, provincial MEC, Meshack Hadebe, said the government felt it was no longer relevant to have a department that was only responsible for the social welfare of people. There had to be a department responsible for all their needs.
"It is the task of the department to develop and monitor the implementation of social policies that create an enabling environment for the reduction of poverty and promotion of social integration," Hadebe said.
He said his department would continue to provide structures and programmes aimed at empowering communities and engender self-reliance by creating conditions for sustainable livelihoods.
"We would see more structures erected and more programmes being created to improve the quality of the lives of our poor people.
"We have committed ourselves to be involved in social transformation, poverty reduction, promotion of social integration, self-partnership, solidarity and self-reliance," he said.
He said they had already started building structures in areas such as Nongoma, Nkandla and Blaubosch, and would be doing the same in other areas.
These will serve as drop-in centres for orphaned children, especially in rural areas, where they would be able to get food on their way to and from school.
These structures would also be used as skill-training centres in some areas.
Meanwhile, Hadebe warned corrupt officials within his department to stop fraud or face the wrath of law.
The warning comes after the arrest of 123 employees in KwaZulu-Natal last week for defrauding the department of R170million.
He said the latest arrests were a clear indication that corrupt officials would stop at nothing to steal money, but also that his department would stop at nothing to bring them to book.
"We will root out corruption in my department. No matter what it takes, we will deal with corrupt and inefficient employees," he warned.
Hadebe urged people to register their crèches, saying the government had injected R57million into the development of crèches in the province.
See also page 8