Unemployed social workers in South Africa have reacted with outrage to recent comments by Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu that social workers trained in the department will be given priority for employment.

The movement accused the minister of discriminating against self-funded social workers. More than 9,000 social workers remain unemployed in the country. The group demands equal employment opportunities.

“They have been trained by the Department of Social Development (DSD) but have never worked. Today we say that they will be employed. Not only DSD, but also in the private sector,” says Minister Zulu.

South Africa’s unemployed social workers say this breeds injustice and discrimination.

“The minister discriminates against self-supporting social workers,” says unemployed social worker Maria Tsetla.

The movement also demands a meeting with the minister for appropriate consultation.

“They hope that the meeting can help with a memo that can bring the minister to justice,” Tshetla added.

As their frustration deepens, they also want President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene.

“Mr. President, we want you to help us,” Tshetla repeats.

Meanwhile, some social workers who were interns at the social development department claim they were not paid.

The Minister of Social Development noted that she requested money from the Minister of Finance to solve the problems of social workers, including to combat the unemployment crisis in the sector.

The department has not yet decided how many of the thousands without work will get formal jobs.

VIDEO: Unemployed social workers express frustration:

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