Empowerment towards poverty alleviation.
Recent changes to welfare policy in South Africa advocated the need for social workers to adopt social development as a paradigm for service delivery. Within this policy framework empowerment is touted as the model to affect the transformation of the welfare sector and to achieve sustainable development in the post apartheid society. The concept empowerment and the issues relating to it are ambiguous and ill-defined. The study took place at the Pinetown Service Office, a local service provider of the Department of Welfare. The areas of operation are the inner and outer west areas of the Durban Unicity City Council and some areas of the Ilembe regional council. The purpose of the study was to analyse perception of practitioners about empowerment towards poverty alleviation. An exploratory-descriptive research design incorporating of questionnaire was utilized to collect data. The findings reflected that the perceptions of the participants about empowerment towards poverty alleviation were consistent in that they identified that it comprised of micro and macro socio- economic strategies to empower consumers to become self reliant. Other findings revealed that the predominant activities of the social workers regarding poverty towards poverty alleviation are to refer consumers to social security and developmental groups. Additionally, the study indicated that the Department of Welfare' s organizational bureaucracy inhibited the adoption of an empowerment orientation to social work practice. The recommendations included changes about organizational policy and social work practice in accordance to developmental social welfare policy proposed in the White Paper on Social Welfare, 1997.