Minister Fernandez welcomes the start of Social Development Month | Western Cape Government



Minister Fernandez welcomes the start of Social Development Month

1 October 2020

Today, October 1, 2020, signals the start of Social Development Month.  During this month, the provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) will create further awareness about the Department’s core mandate as well as the services offered to residents in the Western Cape.

The provincial Department of Social Development is committed to the following core functions: 

  • A Social Welfare Service to the poor and vulnerable in partnership with stakeholders and civil society organisations; and
  • A Community Development Service that provides sustainable development programmes, which facilitate empowerment communities

The Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez said, “Our vision as a department is to help create a self-reliant society. To this end, we are working tirelessly to ensure the provision of a comprehensive network of social development services that enables and empowers the poor, the vulnerable and those with special needs.”

The Department is committed to the key service delivery principles:

  • Working differently: The Department explores and tests different and innovative ways of working to achieve maximum results in the shortest possible time without compromising quality. 
  • Consultation and inclusion: We pay on-going attention to meaningful engagements with our partners and stakeholders as defined in the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act. 
  • Accessibility: Accessibility of services to those who need it is essential. The Department continues modernising its structure and process where necessary.
  • Accountability and transparency: We are committed to Institutionalizing good corporate governance through the implementation of results-based monitoring, evaluation and reporting, sound business process, policies and enhancement of compliance to improve accountability and performance.

International Day of Older Persons

In commemorating International Day of Older Persons taking place today, Minister Fernandez noted that “while this day is all about celebrating and paying tribute to our older persons, we also have to acknowledge the ongoing difficulties faced by this vulnerable grouping. The Covid-19 pandemic has also added to the challenges being faced by our Seniors in society. I, therefore, want to appeal to all our residents to reach out to the elderly people in their respective communities.”

The Department’s overall focus for this vulnerable grouping includes the following:

  • Older persons have access to information about their rights, the range of services available to them and how to access them.
  • Services to older persons are transformed so that 80% have access to community-based support services that promote self-reliance and inter-generational bonding.
  • All residential services are well managed, comply with minimum standards and implement programmes that promote the well-being, safety and security of older persons.
  • A range of interventions is in place to speedily and effectively deal with the abuse of older persons and to systematically eliminate the prevalence of abuse.

Human Trafficking Awareness Week 1st October - 8th of October

Today is the start of Human Trafficking Awareness Week, which runs from the 1st October to the 8th of October 2020. 

South Africa continues to be a source, transit and destination country for victims of trafficking. Criminal traffickers are increasingly morphing into organized crime syndicates, and use deceptive means to potentially abduct and traffick adults and children.

Given the complex and underground nature of trafficking, reliable statistics are difficult to come by, especially for children. However, research conducted in the Trafficking in Persons in the SADC Region: Baseline Report: 2016 shows that poverty & unemployment are viewed as the primary push factors behind the trafficking of persons in SA.

Minister Fernandez said, “The rise of abductions, especially that of children over recent years is a serious cause for concern, and while it does happen in the blink of an eye. I am appealing to all our residents, especially parents, to be extra cautious in order to ensure that safety of our children and loved ones.” 

Victims of human trafficking can be identified as they: 

  • Are controlled by another person and are not free to come and go as they wish;
  • Exhibit poor mental and physical health including substance abuse, signs of physical abuse or malnourishment; 
  • Avoid eye contact; 
  • Have few or no personal possessions;
  • Are not permitted to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating); and
  • Have a limited ability to speak the local language and have little knowledge of their whereabouts. 

To combat human trafficking, the provincial Department of Social Development is a member of the Western Cape Provincial Trafficking in Persons Task Team.

This sees the Department work closely with the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority, the International Organization for Migration, and specialist NGOs, which we fund to render services.

The provincial Department of Social Development, through its Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP), is responsible for providing support services to Victims of Trafficking and the provision of safe space/care in the form of shelters. Shelter services include the provision of psycho-social services and medical and legal assistance and skills development to enable economic empowerment.

Should you suspect any incidences of child abuse and/or human trafficking, you may also report it by contacting:

  • Western Cape Department of Social Development: 0800 220 250
  • Email:
  • Police: 10111
  • Childline: 0861 322 322
  • South African National Human Trafficking Hotline: 0800 222 777
  • Child Welfare SA: 0861 424 453

“Promoting the dignity and well-being of our vulnerable people, in particular, has been at the top of the Department’s agenda throughout this pandemic and will continue to be moving forward, as we recover from the economic impact of this challenging period. Without the support of the communities we serve, it’s unlikely that we will co-create a society in which the dignity and well-being of all our citizens are restored,” concluded Minister Fernandez.

For more information contact:

Any persons interested in finding out more information about the services we offer, individuals can make contact with our department by calling, 0800 220 250, to be directed to your nearest local DSD office.

For more information about our other services, please refer to the Western Cape Department’s Website below:

Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949