KZN drive to recruit social workers

WITH the adverse effect of HIV-Aids in many parts of KwaZulu-Natal, especially the rural areas, the provincial department of social development is intensifying its recruitment of students to study social work.

This comes against the backdrop of recent challenges caused by an exodus of social workers seeking greener pastures overseas.

Provincial MEC for social development Meshack Radebe revealed that his department needed at least 5000 more social workers in order to be able to address the plight of orphans and child-headed households in the province.

This excludes the 117 who were recently recruited, all of whom who will be deployed in the northern parts of Zululand.

One of the new recruits, Bathabile Mdladla, 34, said the economic status of her family would never be the same again.

"To me this is a calling to help my community and change their lives and I will dedicate my life to doing just that," she said.

Radebe said the scarcity of social workers countrywide had become a cause for concern.

His department had launched a rigorous campaign with tertiary institutions to enhance the career and training of social workers by giving more scholarships to deserving students.

"In this financial year my department has also sponsored more than 1000 students . These (social work) students will be absorbed mostly in the rural areas," he said.

"The (HIV-Aids) pandemic increase resulted in the increase of orphans and child-headed families requiring the service of social workers but tertiary institutions are not producing sufficient social workers."