As Covid-19 continues to impact individuals and families across South Africa, Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu has announced the recruitment of over 1,800 additional social workers.
During a briefing on Monday, Zulu said an additional 1,809 social workers would be hired to reinforce the current workforce.
These social workers are expected to provide a range of services, including timely psycho-social interventions and support for affected individuals and families.
“The provision of psycho-social support services are an integral part of disaster response as it helps individuals and communities to rebuild their lives,” Zulu said.
“The social workers will be employed for a period of three months.
“Priority will be given to social work graduates who have registered on the department’s database of unemployed, qualified social work graduates that we developed in 2019.”
According to Zulu, 676 additional social workers will be based in Gauteng, 266 in KwaZulu-Natal, 246 in the Western Cape, 171 in the Eastern Cape, 128 in Mpumalanga, 116 in Limpopo, 92 in the Free State, 81 in the North West and 33 additional social workers to render services in the Northern Cape.
A further 1,210 unemployed social work graduates will be given a one-year internship opportunity in a joint venture between the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HW-SETA), the SA Council for Social Service Practitioners (SACSSP), the department of social development and Wits Health Consortium.
“The SACSSP will ensure that all graduates signed up for the two projects are verified and licensed to practice,” Zulu said.
“They will all be exposed to training before their placement.”
Early Childhood Development
Zulu said these centres would remain closed under level 4 of the lockdown, but the department would continue to monitor the situation.
“We will continue to monitor the implementation of the alert level 4 risk-adjusted approach to review this decision in consultation with relevant structures to ensure that, whenever a decision is made for this sector to open, it is Covid-19 ready in order to protect the children and the staff working at these facilities,” Zulu said.
“However, I have included in the directions to allow provinces to continue paying subsidies in order to fulfill their administrative responsibilities and payment of stipends.”
Rehabilitation centres and halfway houses
Regulations have also been amended to make provision for the release of service users from rehabilitation centres and halfway houses, but only on the recommendation of a social worker.
“The same applies to the release of victims of gender-based violence and that of children in child and youth care facilities. The amendments also make provision for the prioritisation of all matters relating to children in conflict with the law,” Zulu said.