Source: 7th Space
Gauteng is to beef up programmes aimed at preventing social ills such as substance abuse, violence against women, children and people with disability.
"Nobody deserves to be abused in Gauteng and South Africa ... and as these social ills are still continuing in our society we need to strengthen our programmes to prevent them from happening.
"Of particular concern is the increase in social ills such as substance abuse, violence against women and children, breakdown of family structure and general decay in the moral fibre of society," said Gauteng Agriculture, Rural and Social Development MEC, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza.
Mayathula-Khoza briefed media on Wednesday about youth development, gender-based violence and taking social development to communities.
The MEC said her department has adopted a broad campaign for the protection of vulnerable groups which will be implemented this financial year.
The campaign will focus on creating a new culture of community activism on the protection of vulnerable groups and against alcohol and substance abuse.
"Based on the concepts of Ubuntu and Vhathu Phanda (people first) we will work with all our stakeholders and community structures to empower and educate communities with the focus on prevention, intervention and eradication of violence and abuse against vulnerable groups," she said.
With regard to youth, the MEC said her department was planning to reach about 7500 youth across the province through the youth development programme.
The department will be employing Assistant Community Development Practitioners (ACDPs) this financial year who will be working closely with the Masupatsela Youth Pioneer Programme.
Masupatsela was initiated by the national Department of Social Development in collaboration with the Republic of Cuba.
"These ACDPs were trained through the Masupatsela programme, this financial year, a total of 195 youth will participate in the internship programme and 150 youth will be placed in a learnership programme.
Furthermore, 10 000 youth will participate in youth outreach programmes," she said. Services offered through outreach programmes include life-skills.
As part of the poverty alleviation programme, the MEC said working with the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), they will identify young people who are recipients of Child Support Grants and link them to economic empowerment opportunities.
These will include participation in cooperatives, learnership programmes and bursary schemes of the department.
"We will liaise with other provincial departments to explore the inclusion of these young people in the issuing of bursaries if they do qualify.
"We have to make sure that our people do not depend on grants. Yes, grants play an important role in the fight against poverty, but they are not sustainable in the long term," she said.
Mayathula-Khoza said social workers in the province are not expected to be office bound as they belong to the community.
"Social workers do not belong to our offices, but they belong to the communities, through this programme of taking the social development to the people, we want to contribute towards the building of 'a caring society by taking a stand against alcohol and substance abuse," she said.