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Social Development MEC Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana hands over laptops to department employees in the Capricorn district during a ceremony at the Polokwane Welfare Complex on Monday.

721 social workers without jobs, department denies responsibility

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An increasing number of unemployed social workers across the province is a major concern of the Department of Social Development.
This issue was raised when MEC Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana handed over vehicles and laptops to employees of the department in the Capricorn district during a ceremony at Polo­kwane Welfare Complex on Monday. It was reported that to date, the department has trained 2 155 social workers and absorbed 1 112. Some 721 social workers are without jobs while 211 are on an internship programme funded by the Department of Health and Welfare Seta and 180 are on contract with the Department of Education.
She said the department equipped social workers with relevant skills but it is not the department’s responsibility to absorb all of them upon completion of their studies. She added that social work graduates should use the skills and knowledge acquired to seek employment both in the public and private sector.
Mokaba-Phukwana indicated that the department gives aspiring social workers bursaries to further their studies but the department cannot take full responsibility when graduates seek employment. “We are not pushing social workers away but the truth is that we cannot employ all of them. We acknowledge the challenge; that is why we are planning to have a summit in the future for us to have a plan on how we are going to deploy social workers. We encourage people to study but we need a plan to absorb graduates,” she stated.
She indicated that lack of proper infrastructure and tools were also a challenge and reiterated that such issues are addressed gradually. Mokaba-Phukwana said the department was still new because it was formerly part of the Health Department hence they were still trying to be independent. She urged employees to sacrifice and use the little resources they have to render services to the people of Limpopo.
When handing over 126 computers and two vehicles to officials in the Capricorn district, Mokaba-Phukwana said she was happy to engage with employees to learn more about their troubles in the workplace and added that the concerns raised will assist the department to improve where necessary. The engagement sessions are part of her province-wide employee engagement road shows which aim to provide officials in all the five districts with the tools of the trade.
Her first stop was at the Giyani district offices, Mopani district last Monday where she handed over 118 computers and four vehicles followed by Sekhukhune district last Thursday where she provided 118 computers and two vehicles. Mokaba-Phukwana’s next stop will be at the Modimolle district offices, Waterberg district where she will hand over 100 computers and two vehicles while 138 computers and two vehicles will be handed over to employees at the Thohoyandou district office, Vhembe district on 28 May.

Story: ENDY SENYATSI
>>endy@observer.co.za

Social Development MEC Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana in one of the vehicles handed over to Mopani district officials. With her are Head of the Department Daphne Ramokgopa and the Mopani district Director, Gloria Mnisi.