The Eastern Cape has a critical shortage of social workers, with nearly a quarter of posts vacant across the province.
In a province of 6,5 million people, the department currently only employs 1,771 social workers to provide vital services for the most vulnerable of our society. This translates to just one social worker per 3,670 people in the province.
In replying to a parliamentary question MEC for Social Development, Dr Phumza Dyantyi, has admitted that the province needs at least an additional 578 social workers.
Looking at the various districts, OR Tambo is the most neglected, with just 297 social workers employed of the 471 needed, requiring an additional 174 staff. It is closely followed by the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro which needs an additional 140 staff, with just 260 social workers employed of the 400 needed.
In the Buffalo City Metro, the district still needs 84 social workers, as the department currently only employs 183 of the 267 needed.
The ANC has failed to create real long-term job opportunities for the people of the province, as is clear from the staggering 34,2% unemployment rate, and now continues to deprive the most poor and vulnerable from accessing social welfare services that they are desperately in need of.
I will engage with my national counterpart, DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango to take up matter of these critical staff shortages with Minister of Social Development, Susan Shabangu.
The DA believes that the primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty