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KZN employs over 900 social workers to support GBV victims

In an attempt to boost its fight against the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) and unemployment, the KwaZulu-Natal Government has employed new social workers to provide much-needed psychosocial support to GBV victims.

Social Development MEC, Nonhlanhla Khoza said about 967 social workers are tasked with the responsibility to provide care and support to victims of gender-based violence. They are also tasked with ensuring that victims are well prepared to face their perpetrators in court in order to ensure successful prosecutions.

Khoza said that an amount of R23 220 million has been set aside for the employment of social workers who will give a much-needed boost to the work done by the department to fight the scourge.

“The province is currently saddled by the scourge of gender-based violence, including rape and abuse, which leave victims shattered for life. The department has sent an application to Treasury to be allowed to employ social workers because of the high demand observed due to the high number of cases of gender-based violence.

“There are about 967 social workers employed and deployed across the province, with each district receiving 80 social workers, while eThekwini receives 167 social workers due to its vastness. These social workers reported on duty from 01 December 2021 and are employed on four months’ contracts,” said the MEC.

She added that the social workers came in handy to reinforce teams that are implementing the department’s mandate, including the implementation of preventative measures, education and steps to tackle the abuse, often faced by women and children in society.

Khoza noted that the social workers are graduate social workers who have not been employed since they left university.

“Some of them have used all their family savings to pay for their studies, while others were funded by government. Most of these graduates are busy with documentation such as registering with tax from South African Revenue Services (SARS) because they have never been employed before.”

About 485 were captured on the Personal and Salary System (PERSAL) and will receive their payment by the end of the month.

While acknowledging that the employment of social workers is not permanent, Khoza said it is a positive effort towards dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the high unemployment rate.

“In the future, we would like to absorb them to help us in the fight against the challenges we face in communities. Our department is central to all efforts to reduce the levels of social ills and vulnerability. Therefore, the employment of these social workers are much-needed to address the social ills,” the MEC said.

Source: South African Government News Agency