More social workers needed in Ward 105

Social development organisations working in Fisantekraal and surrounding farming communities believe there are too few social workers covering the poverty-plagued area.

They say they have struggled to get the Department of Social Development to better explain its role in Ward 105 – Vierlanden, Goedemoed, Joostenbergvlakte, Fisantekraal, Klipheuwel, Philadelphia and the Durbanville farmland.

The issue came up at a think-tank session in Fisantekraal late last month.

It was attended by Olympians Social Development, Fisantekraal Centre for Development, Rotary Club Tygerberg, the University of the Western Cape and the City’s social development directorate.

Lucinda Valetine, a social worker and founder of GiveWise, said she had been trying to get officials from the department to come to the area to explain its role, without any luck.

The organisations believe Badisa, a social welfare organisation funded by the department, has too few social workers in the area, but department spokesman Sihle Ngobese told Northern News that Badisa only dealt with child-protection matters. All other services relating to youth, substance abuse, probation services, the elderly, disability and disaster assessments were done by the department.

GiveWise describes itself as “an assessment and evaluation company”, which endorses and helps to fund “prevention focused organisations” .

Ms Valentine said she wanted a better understanding of the role of the department and the City’s social development and early childhood development directorate and how they operated in the area, to better assist the community.

Substance abuse, poverty and illiteracy are just some of the problems plaguing Fisantekraal, which is set to see rapid growth with Greenville Garden Cities, a development of 17 000 homes,12 schools, a transport hub and community facilities.

Wendy Bosse, from Olympians Social Development, said she had heard that there were supposed to be 15 social workers for the ward. She said she had also battled to speak to the department The Olympians is a community-based non-profit that runs mentoring programmes in Morningstar, Fisantekraal, Klipheuwel and other areas.

Mr Ngobse said the department’s regional and local offices were not aware of any requests to come to the area. He said the department funded five social workers and one auxiliary social worker for Fisantekraal, with more than R1.2 million awarded to Badisa for its services in the current financial year. Mr Ngobese said the department’s Atlantis branch serviced Klipheuwel and Philadelphia, with two social workers in Klipheuwel and one in Philadelphia. And there had been “active interaction” between the the department and schools in Fisantekraal.

Asked about the 15 social workers needed for the area, he didn’t say how many there were.

Wilmot Arendse, a City of Cape Town social development manager said the directorate now had two components – one being social development , the other early childhood development.

Ms Valentine said they needed to make sure that the community was getting the services it was entitled to. University of the Western Cape field worker Joseph Appolis suggested holding fund-raisers to employ another social worker in the area. Badisa did not respond to questions by the time this edition went to print.