I would like to inform the Honourable Member that the target of 55 000 projected in the National Development Plan, which you are referring to relates to social service professionals, not only social workers.
1. With regard to social workers, the Department has developed the Supply and Demand Model during the 2016/17 financial year. The model projects that in 2017, the country had 32 261 social service practitioners of which 18 733 were social workers
2. In terms of the model, universities are projected to supply the sector with social work graduates at an estimated rate of 23% between 2017 and 2030. This amounts to 3 600 social work graduates who are eligible for employment in the social development sector on an annual basis. There are currently 16 140 social work students registered for the Bachelor of Social Work degree in various universities.
3 Using the same model projections for the 2019-2024 MTSF it means that the social sectorwill have 43 577 social workers employed by 2023/24. Then in 2024 – 2030 MTSF the social development sector would have 65 177 social workers employed by 2030.
4. The model also projected a shortfall towards achieving the NDP target. In this regard, in 2017, the social development sector had a gap (shortage) of 9 167 social workers for the 2017 – 2019 MTSF period. The implication therefore is that for 2020 – 2024 MTSF period the gap would be 8 494 and for 2025 – 30 MTSF period it would be 7 456 social workers.
5. On an annual basis for the three MTSF cycles, social development sector required 1 833 for the 2017 – 2019 MTSF period, and will require 1698 for the 2020 – 24 and 1 491 for the 2025 – 2030 MTSF periods. Should the public service employ social workers and other social service practitioners at the projected rate, then the National Development Plan target of 55 000 is achievable by 2030.
6.The Department of Social Development is the main employer of social workers in the country.
There are currently 16 926 social workers employed by the Departments at both national and provincial departments. The employment rate by the Department will therefore be informed by the Sector Human Resource Plan and organisational structures of both National and Provincial Departments of Social Development.The project is included in the Sector Human Resource Plan for 2020/21
National Assembly written Reply: 1241 of 2020
Approved by the Minister of Social Development