A total of 661 graduates of the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development’s bursary programme for social workers do not have jobs.
This is extremely disappointing considering that the department offers the bursaries to address the shortage of social workers in the province. It is also indicative of poor planning, as the department should make provision for the placement of each group of graduates.
In a reply to an oral question I posed to the MEC for Social Development, Nancy Sihlwayi, in the provincial legislature last week on Wednesday 3 June, the jobless social workers graduated as far back as 2013.
My office receives regular, heart-breaking queries from social work graduates who have not been placed.
However, MEC Sihlwayi brags in her reply of the 156 graduates in an internship programme in her department. This is not what these graduates went to university for. It is not acceptable to pay bursaries for internships. It has emerged that some graduates who are favoured are easily placed jumping the long queue.
In a fair society with opportunities these social work graduates would leave school and get jobs they have studied for. We will continue fighting for these social work graduates until they are all placed as social workers not interns.
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