Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has announced a raft of amendments aimed at improving government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
This includes the recruitment of over 1,000 additional social workers across all nine provinces and the reinstatement of temporary disability grants until the end of October.
The minister was in Pretoria on Monday morning giving an update on the department’s response to COVID-19 for level 4 of the lockdown.
Government said the changes were aimed at assisting more vulnerable families in need during this period.
Zulu said many unemployed social workers have made contact looking for work: “So, we are looking at what it is that we can do, working with other departments but also ensuring that maybe Treasury can step up and assist us because we do need to have as many social workers as possible.”
Zulu has also announced an allowance for children to move across provinces in order to be with their primary caregivers.
However, the minister said a permit must be obtained: “We appeal to all parents, caregivers who share joint custody to be reasonable, to act in good faith and to prioritise the health and safety of their children when they’re making decisions of moving children around. We have a zero tolerance for any parent or caregiver who recklessly exposes their child to any COVID-19 risk.”
She has also emphasised that the closure of early childhood development centres will remain in place for level 4 of the lockdown.
“We will continue to monitor the implementation of level 4 risk-adjusted approach to review this decision and implementation with relevant structures to ensure that whatever decision is made to reopen the sector, it is COVID-19 ready to protect children and staff working in these facilities.”