The role played by the Department of Social Development in helping to create a better South Africa is bigger than the provision of social grants and food parcels to vulnerable citizens.
This is according to the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, the department also has a role to play in addressing Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF).
“I am of the view that the nation needs to take a step back and deal with this problem individual by individual, family by family, house by house, and street by street… We need to go down to the basics. Violence is sitting somewhere in the homes in person-to-person relationships and to get to that level of relationships, you need to use other methods besides marching – although protests have their own impact,” the Minister said.
Minister Zulu said community leaders must play a bigger role in getting residents to actively deal with the social ills affecting them.
“When church leaders and other community leaders speak to their fellow members about issues they grapple with on a daily basis, they speak from first-hand experience,” she said.
It is through dialogue and public engagements that solutions to this crisis can be found, she believes.
Tackling other social ills
The Minister also believes that the country needs more social workers to address pressing social ills, such as alcohol and drug abuse among the youth. Substance abuse itself is a contributing factor to South Africa’s high levels of GBVF, she said.
Minister Zulu said she recently signed off on the National Drug Master Plan that will shortly be presented to Cabinet. Once it reaches implementation phase, the Minister said she will insist on an inter-governmental and co-ordinated approach.
“Justice and Correctional Services, police, intelligence and others have to play their role because the biggest issue is to catch the masters who are manufacturing these drugs,” she said.
Minister Zulu said social workers play a huge role in providing counselling and support to drug abusers or addicts who need rehabilitation.
“If we do not address issues like alcohol and drug abuse, we will fail in our efforts to deal with other social ills in our communities,” she said.