Chairperson, the department commissioned Cornerstone Economic Research to estimate the cost of implementing the Children's Act, Act 38 of 2005. From the costing exercise, all departments which have functions to perform in terms of the Act are obliged to plan for the implementation of the Act.
Departments are required to ensure that there are sufficient human resources by providing short-term, medium-term as well as long-term human resource needs and plans associated with these plans. Departments are also expected to present strategies for the recruitment of staff needed to implement the Act. The staff would include social workers, psychologists, social auxiliary workers, development workers, probation officers, child and youth care workers and other social service professionals.
The department envisages that the consolidated implementation plans from all the affected national and provincial departments and, where applicable, municipalities will be ready by December 2007.
Currently, the department is implementing the strategy on the recruitment and retention of social workers which is a mechanism to increase the number of social workers and social auxiliary workers needed to implement the Act. Universities are being engaged to increase the intake of social work students in order to produce an increased number of graduates. Extensive countrywide recruitment campaigns are currently in progress to recruit and train social auxiliary workers and offer scholarships to high school students wishing to study social work, as well as current social work students who cannot complete their studies because of a lack of finance.
National Treasury has allocated R350 million over the current Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period for scholarships, and currently a total number of 2 157 scholarships have been provided by both national and provincial departments to social work students. The target for social auxiliary workers in this financial year is 3 000 students. Thank you.
Thank you, Chairperson. Deputy Minister, thank you for your encouraging response. However, clearly, we are not going to succeed in producing the large numbers of social workers needed for the provision of social services in the short to medium-term as a country. The concern, though, is the capacity of provinces to deliver these services which is currently lacking in the provinces. What supportive role are the Ministry and the department offering provinces in this regard? Thank you.
Thank you, Chair. As I said, there are people being trained and there are also social auxiliary workers being trained within the provinces at this time. The implementation of the Children's Act will be a phased-in implementation so that all the staff - the human resources - won't have to be there at once.
Everything that I have mentioned in my comprehensive answer is the totality of what is being done, and it is being done at the provincial level in order to provide the necessary human resources for the implementation of the Act. Thank you.
Visits by Minister to Khutsong, and communication by him with Khutsong community
280. Mr W P Doman (DA) to ask the Minister for Provincial and Local Government:
(1) Whether he has visited Khutsong in 2006; if so, (a) on what date(s) and (b) what message did he convey to the community; if not, why not;
(2) whether he has been in communication with the Khutsong community; if so, how; if not,
(3) whether he plans to communicate with that community in the future; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details