Potchefstroom: Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini says her department will intensify efforts to help distressed families in Tlokwe, Potchefstroom. The minister made this undertaking during her visit to the area on Friday. The visit formed part of her public participation programme that has seen her visit many communities throughout the country. The programme is intended to help the department keep its finger on the pulse of developments in communities, and to give citizens an opportunity to voice their concerns over social services.
Dlamini has undertaken 69 public participation visits in the 2012/13 financial year.
In Tlokwe, some 17 000 households are headed by children. Dlamini on Friday paid a visit to one such family. She urged the community to help the department in its efforts to support child-headed households by informing the relevant authorities of the plight of such families. She discovered that social workers were not aware of the situation of the family she visited.
She encouraged community members to call the department on 072 787 1382 should they need to bring anything to the department’s attention.
Dlamini also committed to sending officials to the area to help the community establish a vegetable garden project to improve food security for vulnerable groups. It is estimated that some 19 000 babies are malnourished in Tlokwe.
The minister said they will also source vegetables from other provinces’ vegetable garden projects to feed those in need.
In Tlokwe alone, the department pays R22 million for grants to 30 516 beneficiaries. Ninety families in distress have been identified by the department to receive social relief grants, which they will get for six months.
Dlamini also paid a visit to the Potchefstroom Crisis Centre and National Youth Service Project to assess how her department can help to improve the services offered by these institutions. She interacted with the community at Boitshoko Sports Ground, where community members had an opportunity to raise their concerns with the minister.
Dlamini said the visit was a necessary part of government’s response to the needs of the people, as “social development is the heart beat of government”. She urged those who run crèches to register them with the department, as the department pays R15 a day per child. She also called on those who have passed matric to apply for bursaries to study social work. “We are currently recruiting more social workers to train them,” said Dlamini.