Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The Mpumalanga department of social services will train 200 disadvantaged young people to become auxiliary social workers.

MEC Fish Mahlalela said the training would help to reduce the shortage of social workers in his department.

They will be trained for one year and employed as assistant social workers.

Mahlalela expressed concern about his department's ability to meet its service delivery mandate because the organisational structure was last reviewed in 2003 and is outdated.

The department has been allocated R662million for the 2008-2009 financial year.

The MEC said his department had noted that despite available opportunities many young people continue to be perpetrators of violence.

He said his department had also become aware that young people constituted the largest group of consumers of all kinds of drugs and alcohol, according to records from rehabilitation centres and places of safety, and that young people are the most affected and infected by HIV-Aids.

"This year we will send 200 young people to be trained as auxiliary social workers and we have awarded 320 bursaries to young people in the province to study community development and social work," Mahlalela said.

He also said his department was helping 30 young people study medicine in Cuba and 625 to study health-related courses in various universities in the country.

"We have established a youth directorate to look into all interventions necessary to empower our young people in the province, and we are funding many youth-led community projects for the Sustainable Livelihood Programme and skills development," he said.