Put people first, says minister
Durban - A shortage of social workers should not hamper the delivery of services, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said on Wednesday.
"In the light of shortage of social workers in South Africa, we must find creative ways of reaching out to people with the human resources that we currently have at our disposal," she told social workers at a conference in Durban.
Dlamini encouraged social workers to put people first, particularly children.
"The social ills we face have led to dysfunctional families in many communities," she said.
"The compounding effects of the HIV and Aids pandemic as well as poverty are the biggest threats."
She called on social workers to embrace child and youth community workers.
"There is no need to feel threatened by child and community workers, because they make our jobs easier.
"If we don't embrace them, social workers will always have problems of a heavy work load."
Fires in June at institutions taking care of children and the elderly indicated that the homes were not being monitored, Dlamini said.
"As part of our efforts to bridge the skills gap, we have opened invitations for matric learners to apply for our social work scholarship."
The aim was to recruit people who viewed the profession as a way to make a difference in the lives of others, said Dlamini.
"We owe it to the country to produce professionals who will abide by the code of conduct for social workers."
The government was planning to bring back veteran social workers to help young professions in the field, she said.