Cllr Ennie Makhafola, the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development in the City of Johannesburg, has recently convened a Social Workers’ Imbizo, signifying a concerted effort to address the pressing matters faced by the city’s social workers across its seven regions. The imbizo, a platform of discussion and resolution, unfolded at the Diepkloof Welfare Centre in Soweto as reported by Joburg Newsroom.
The agenda encapsulated various concerns vital to the well-being and effectiveness of the city’s social workers. These ranged from fundamental issues like upscaling salaries, addressing internet connectivity, and ensuring the provision of name tags to more strategic considerations like achieving employment equity targets during recruitment, orchestrating comprehensive skills audits and training programs, and fostering the capacitation and empowerment of staff.
One central grievance voiced by Cllr Makhafola was the perceived inequity in career advancement opportunities. She criticised a system where individuals with years of experience within the city’s employ often cannot ascend to higher levels. In contrast, individuals from external municipalities are appointed to crucial positions. This sentiment underpins her call for a fundamental shift in the operational ethos of the health system across all communities within Johannesburg.
Expressing her satisfaction at the progress made, Cllr Makhafola affirmed that the time has arrived to reshape the framework of health service provision across communities. She exudes confidence that they are moving decisively toward the realisation of this vision.
To address the practical needs of social workers, Cllr Makhafola unveiled a substantial commitment – an allocation of R3.1 million dedicated to furnishing them with essential tools of trade. This encompasses laptops, cellphones, and other prerequisites necessary to enhance their ability to perform their roles optimally. Her commitment is underscored by a tangible timeline: procurement for about one hundred laptops is anticipated to be concluded by the following week, a testament to her determination to uphold her promises.
Acknowledging the significance of working conditions in influencing performance, Cllr Makhafola extends her assurance of addressing accommodation space. This initiative is aimed at ensuring not only the privacy but also the confidentiality that social workers require as they carry out their invaluable services.
Cllr Makhafola’s proactive approach isn’t confined to social workers alone. Her commitment extends to the broader healthcare landscape. Before this imbizo, she engaged with nurses, meticulously listening to their concerns and vowing to find solutions. This commitment culminated in distributing laptops to nurses across various City clinics. This measure stands as a tangible step as Johannesburg advances towards an e-Health service approach, aligning with the evolving needs of its residents.
In essence, the imbizo serves as a testament to the City of Johannesburg’s commitment to enhancing the role and impact of its social workers.
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Photo: Twitter / @COJ MMC for Health and Social Development