Pretoria, 19 March 2024: In commemorating World Social Work Day which, this year, unfolds under the theme: “Shared Future for Transformative Change,” the Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, wishes all social workers a happy Social Work Day.


This day emphasises the need for social workers to adopt innovative, people-centred and community-led interventions that are grounded in indigenous wisdom and harmonious co-existence.


The Department of Social Development appreciates the significant role social workers play in the country and in communities.


The department supports the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) body for raising awareness about climate change on the quality of life and livelihoods of communities. There have been extreme weather conditions leading to floods and displacement of vulnerable communities across the world and some provinces in the country and social workers and social auxiliary workers were always at the forefront of responding to the needs of communities. They provided psychosocial support to enable those in distress to cope with the difficult circumstances.


Additionally, our country is still recovering from the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, violence against older persons, women and children, substance abuse and poor socio-economic conditions, which lead to family dysfunction and community unrests. 


Social Work Day is always a reminder to the social work professionals and social auxiliary workers of their importance and the critical need for the services they provide to communities.


The department recognises that the social work profession is a critical skill which is required by the country to implement social work approaches, techniques and skills and key legislative frameworks guiding responses and interventions for a variety of social ills and vulnerabilities.


World Social Work Day affords key stakeholders to recognise social work as an essential profession for the efficient delivery of integrated quality and ethical developmental services that they deliver.


Government appreciates various departments and sector partners’ participation in global engagements which continually develop the social work profession thus ensuring its responsiveness to emerging psycho-socio-economic problems requiring the knowledge, theory and practice in the field of social work.


Government is aware of the non-absorption of social workers by government. In response to this, Cabinet approved the Sector Strategy for the Employment of Social Service Practitioners.


Once implemented, this strategy will result in an increase in the number of social workers and social auxiliary workers in the country being employed and assist with the achievement of the target of 55 000 Social Service Practitioners (SSPs)  by 2030.


As part of addressing the country’s growing social ills, government departments including the Department of Social Development has, to date, employed 18 366 social workers.




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