Minister De Lille Congratulates Social Work Graduates | Western Cape Government

Speeches

Minister De Lille Congratulates Social Work Graduates

24 January 2011

I would like to congratulate all of you today on graduating from your social work studies.

Social work is a scarce skill in our country and the Western Cape Government is extremely excited that in a province desperately in need of social intervention, we will now have an extra 76 dedicated social workers.

I want to remind you of the commitment you made to serving the needy when you registered with the South African Council for Social Service Professions as a student social worker.

You will soon recommit to your professions code of conduct when you register with the Council as a qualified social worker.

The social fabric of the Western Cape is in need of repair.

Our communities are ravaged by the abuse of alcohol and other drugs, women and child abuse and poverty, and many, many of our families have been affected.

We need to rebuild social cohesion in our province and accept that the problems of the poor are the problems of the rich.

We can never claim prosperity while so many of our people are in need of a decent job and a safe community to live in.

Over the past 17 years the Department of Social Development has attempted to make a difference in the lives of so many poor people, but the time has arrived where we need to be able to measure the outcomes of our programmes.

We cannot continue to throw money at social problems, without teaching the individual that he or she also has a responsibility to improve their lives.

As social workers you are a catalyst for people achieving their full potential.

I want to ask each and every one of you here today to make a promise to me that you will keep your creativity and idealism and not allow the bureaucracy of the Department to stifle your good intentions.

We rely on your initiative and creativity in dealing with the complex issues facing your profession.

You are young, you are newly trained and I would like you to bring a fresh, new approach to dealing with the many social challenges we face.

Initially you will be employed as interns in the Department until 1 April, the start of the new financial year, after which your salary will be adjusted to the correct grade.

We are deploying you all over the province, including in the rural areas.

If you have come out of your studies wanting to change the world, you are in the right place.

Please start by helping us change the Western Cape.

Mark Twain once said, and I quote,

"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."

Thank you.

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