Shortage of social workers in local facility

Front: Maria Wesinyana and Josmine Hlone, members of the Munsieville Care Centre for the Aged with Justus de Goede, DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Social Development, and Alan Fuchs, DA Constituency Head for Mogale City.

There is only one social worker and one auxiliary social worker to provide services to over 500 elderly people at the Munsieville Care Centre for the Aged in Mogale City.

During a visit to this day-care centre for the elderly, it emerged that most of the elderly suffered abuse in their homes; consequently there is an urgent need for assistance from social workers.

The centre only provides a temporary day-time refuge from abuse for the elderly, but at night they have to go back to the usual nightmarish circumstances.

There are not enough social workers to service this poor community, whose residents cannot pay for private services.

Maria Wesinyana, a member of the Munsieville Care Centre for the Aged, flanked by coordinators Salamina Oliphant (left) and Brenda Mbele.

According to the Gauteng Department of Social Development’s Annual Report for the past financial year, the Department failed to reach its own target for the recruitment of social workers. Only 1 509 social workers were employed, compared to the planned target of 1 528. The 19 unfilled posts could have brought relief to the residents of Munsieville and other neglected communities. The Department also has social worker graduate bursaryholders who are unemployed instead of utilising their skills.

This community also experiences other forms of abuse, including substance abuse and domestic violence. It appears that complaints of abuse are either not processed timeously, or not processed at all.

It is clear that the funding this centre gets from the Department is inadequate to cover all its operational costs. There are even times when the Centre is unable to pay the salaries of the staff on time.

The multipurpose facility in which the centre is located also suffers from a general lack of maintenance, and there is little communication between the Department and Mogale City on the subject.

This visit highlighted a number of issues that require serious attention from MEC Nandi Manyathula-Khoza and her Department.

The News spoke to some members of the organisation. Most of them are pleased with the treatment from the staff members, and grateful to the Projects Director of the centre, James Louw, and other staff members who make their stay at the centre worthwhile. However, a few complained of ill-treatment by a specific staff member, saying that the person is rude and accusing her of favouritism.

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at [email protected] or phone us on 011 955 1130.

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Bathabile Msomi

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