The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo is deeply disappointed by the fact that the Limpopo Department of Social Development has no plans to absorb over a thousand of social work graduates from their scholarship programme.
This information is known after DA Limpopo spokesperson on social development Katlego Suzan Phala released a press statement regarding the issue.
On the statement, Phala wrote that during a recent Social Development Portfolio Committee meeting the department conceded that it would not be able to absorb the graduates from the scholarship in the foreseeable future and it would cost R458 million to do so.
The meeting also revealed that the scholarship will be stopped due to its failure to absorb graduates and that funds are not available to absorb graduates though in a previous meeting the department told the committee that it would be approaching the provincial treasury to stop the programme in order to direct those funds into absorbing the graduates.
“The DA is deeply disappointed that the department does not take this profession’s contribution to society seriously by failing to ensure that all these unemployed graduates are absorbed and dispatched to various areas of the province to help our communities. Many of these graduates are from poor homes and had applied for the department’s scholarship and studied social work in the hope of being employed by the department,” as stated in the statement.
Phala outlined the scholarship programme agreement in the statement.
The agreement states that recipients must undertake to serve that department, a non-governmental organization (NGO) or another department they are transferred to, for a continuous period of the number of years sponsored plus an extra year.
The department is urged to find a solution for graduates to be absorbed.
“The Department of Social Development needs to find a way to fund the absorption of the social work graduates. The department and provincial treasury should source funds to absorb and keep social workers in this province as they remain a much-needed service especially after President Ramaphosa stated that we are currently fighting two pandemics namely, Covid-19 and GBV.”
The DA believes the consequences of a shortage of social workers is devastating and the department must show serious intent to employ the graduates who can provide a vital service to the province.
By Bongekile Khumalo