Vulnerable residents dependent on assistance from the Gauteng Department of Social Development (GDSD) are being subjected to long waiting times due to the high vacancy rate in the department. There is a high number of unemployed social workers in the province who can fill the critical vacancies in the department.
Currently, there are 149 social work and related professional positions that have not been filled, two occupational therapists, seven professional nurses, one psychologist, and six social science and related positions that have not been filled.
Furthermore, there are 77 administration, 32 families and children, 270 research and development, 37 restorative services, and 77 social welfare service positions that are still vacant.
This is worrying, as Gauteng has over 2.5 million unemployed residents and over 600,000 discouraged job seekers in the province.
In addition, GDSD is failing the most vulnerable in society, who are solely dependent on the services offered by them for survival, by not filling these vacant posts.
The social workers employed by the department have a high caseload, yet there are funded vacancies that are yet still to be filled. The National Department of Social Development claims to have a database of unemployed social workers which could be used to fill the vacancies. The Gauteng Department of Social Development should be utilising this database to reduce its high vacancy rate and improve its capacity to fulfil its mandate.
The department must do more to attract these much-needed staff members, as this will help reduce the caseload per employee. The quality of care given to the beneficiaries will also improve and reduce the unemployment rate.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) proposes that the department should have an efficient succession plan to ensure that as soon as a person retires, the vacancy is filled. This will ensure minimal interruption of services for our residents who need them the most.