Department of Social Development takes no risks around Coronavirus | Western Cape Government


Department of Social Development takes no risks around Coronavirus

22 March 2020

The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) is implementing emergency measures to mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus on the social services sector.

DSD local and regional offices remain open with reduced staff numbers, to give effect to physical distancing, however services will continue. The Department remains determined to fulfill its constitutional mandate regarding the provision of social development services to people with disabilities, older persons and child protection services, among others.

Following the President’s announcement declaring a State of Disaster and under the regulation designated by the Disaster Management Act (2002), the National Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs called for all schools and partial care facilities to be closed by 18 March 2020 until 15 April 2020, which period may be extended for the duration of the national state of disaster by the cabinet member responsible.

The announcement also has major implications for other Department of Social Development facilities, including Child and Youth Care Centres, shelters, One Stop Centres, and Treatment Centres. Section 7e) of the Disaster Management Act (2002) states that the respective facilities highlighted above are suspended for a period of 30 days from the date of publication of the notice, which period may be extended for any period, but not beyond the duration of the national state of disaster by the cabinet member responsible.

“We acknowledge that parents and/or guardians must take the primary responsibility of their children, but we appeal to families and communities to support each other and the Department’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus. Where young children are left unsupervised, and are in danger, the matters must be referred to a designated child protection organisations,” says Minister Fernandez.

In the case of older persons, contingency plans have been made with our funded NGO partners running old age homes. The Department is also in ongoing contact with old aged homes that are not funded.

All public visits to old age homes have been limited for a period of 30 days and homes are doubling up on their hygiene/ disinfection routines every day, to ensure safety and health of residents. Hygiene and hand sanitation and physical distancing guidelines have been communicated to the respective homes.

DSD continues to provide support to its funded partners that render key services to homeless citizens. All shelters funded by the Department are still operational.

The Department is communicating with the various facilities around proper hygiene, physical distancing and infectious disease protocols. Homeless people will be referred to Health facilities if needed. We are also working closely with the City of Cape Town, which has a dedicated Street People Unit, in our disaster response strategies.

As part of Covid-19 precautionary measures, the NPO Help Desk situated at 9 Wale Street has suspended its walk in service and will not be assisting clients at the Help Desk. Clients will be assisted telephonically or via email. Processing and submission of applications and reports will still continue. Clients can submit their documents via email or post. We have also placed a drop box at 9 Wale Street for organisations wishing to hand deliver their documents. If any NPO has queries relating to applications, compliance or certificates please call 021 483 3808 or email

We remain committed to ensuring the provision of a comprehensive network of social development services that enables and empowers the poor, the vulnerable and those with special needs.

Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949