Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi has reassured community development workers (CDWs) that government is committed to skilling them in order to effectively serve the people.
CDWs are multi-skilled public servants deployed in communities to help people access government services and poverty alleviation programmes.
They work as community facilitators, focusing on finding solutions to identified needs and blockages by interacting with national, provincial and local government structures.
"We would like to reassure you that empowerment of CDWs across the country remains critical. As government we are committed to ensure that the correct tools of trade and conditions of service in general are looked at urgently to enable you to effectively serve the people," the Minister said on Monday during a consultation session with CDWs in Gauteng.
The Minister is on a drive to engage CDWs throughout the country as part of the preparations for next year's CDW national conference.
"Our CDWs must be supported with relevant tools of trade in order for them to keep up with the development pace of this province. Community development workers of this province are supposed to be multi-skilled," she said.
This will enable them to know the services provided by various departments at different spheres of government and will give citizens a complete package of services that will improve their living conditions.
According to the Minister, multi- skilled CDWs help enrich the quality of services for communities, by identifying new programmes and creating linkages and coordination with other community stakeholders.
"The role of CDWs in these activities includes identifying beneficiaries for projects; networking beneficiaries or projects with resources, mobilise financial and training resources as well as assisting in reviving stagnant projects."
There are 3239 CDWs countrywide and the ultimate aim is to reach the goal of one CDW per ward. Currently there are 4392 Wards in the country.
The Minister's engagement with CDWs in Western Cape and Limpopo has highlighted challenges they face such as the issue of security and their exposure in dangerous communities.
The CDWs requested that government consider an insurance scheme similar to that enjoyed by councillors. The rationale is that CDWs work in the same environment as councillors and when councillor's property is burnt or damaged, the insurance restores the property.
The Minister said her department will look into these challenges.
She called on the CDWs to continue to assist community members with access to socio-economic development activities.
She also urged them to report any corruption or irregularity that is encountered within any sphere of government, government department, community organization, or private sector.
"As the agents of service delivery, you must know that corruption has a very negative impact on service delivery. Corruption can undo all the good work that you are doing as CDWs if you allow it to happen."