MATTER OF FACT: Cape Argus social work story is misleading
The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) would like to correct a totally misleading report in the Cape Argus (22-02-2016) titled, “On Cape Flats there’s one social worker for 30 000 kids”.
The total number of DSD social workers available to serve parts of the Cape Flats mentioned in the Argus article is 69. But this is just one small part of an integrated service offered by a range of partners. This neglect of the bigger picture is a major shortcoming of the article.
Our NGO partners, the ACVV, Cape Town Child Welfare, CAFDA, Valley Development and BADISA, contribute a further 63 social workers and 18 social auxiliary workers. It must be stressed that these resources do not include the other social workers based in hospitals (employed by Department of Health), schools (WCED), Safe line, Lifeline, SAPS (Forensic Social Work), FAMSA, SANCA, CT Drug Counselling Centre. These human resources all operate in an integrated way to serve the communities cited in the article.
The bottom line is this: the Argus regrettably used incorrect figures and incorrect math to arrive at a ratio entirely of their own invention.
The article furthermore assumes that the entire “30 000 learners” cited would require social work services, and thus asserts that a single social worker would have to serve all of these learners. This is clearly illogical, and reveals that the publication did not enquire what roles different types of social workers play, and what caseloads they generally encounter.
The Western Cape government will continue to expand on the services rendered to the communities of the Cape Flats. Key to these efforts will be our continued building of partnerships with NGOs and communities. Communities, especially children and school-going learners, have access to our social workers through our regional and local offices. In addition, the public can contact the DSD hotline on 0800 220 250.
Spokesperson for Albert Fritz, Minister of Social Development
Western Cape Government
7th floor, 14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8000
Tel : (021) 483 9217
Cell : 076 083 6543
Email : Sihle.Ngobese@westerncape.gov.za