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Exploring re-alignment of social welfare services as an enhancement of service delivery at municipal levels: a case study of uMgungundlovu District Municipality.

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This study aims at exploring the social workers’ understanding of the re-alignment of social welfare services as an enhancement of service delivery at the local municipal level. The study was undertaken in both rural and urban areas of Midlands, a part of the KwaZulu-Natal Province, under uMgungundlovu District Municipality, specifically at Impendle, Mkhambathini, Msunduzi and Howick service offices. The qualitative approach was applied for its use of the case study design and its descriptive nature. The purposive sampling method was used to select twelve social workers comprising ten females and two males. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews that were audio-recorded. The thematic analysis approach was used to analyse the data transcribed from the interviews. The theoretical framework that guided this study drew from the Structural Social Work Theory. The findings of this study, in relation to the objectives of the study, revealed that the interviewed social workers understood the crises that were created by the Apartheid regime. These involve the segregation of the majority of Black South Africans, depriving them of the basic services and the means of economic production and as such, the establishment of the re-alignment process sought to redress those social imbalances and injustices. The social workers who participated in the study reported the huge success made by the State, with the Department of Social Development responsible for enhancement of the citizenry’s access to social services as well as fostering the community’s awareness of the available services. The participants reported experiencing some challenges concerning supervision, reports demands and shortage of resources. Furthermore, an ineffective communication approach as well as social workers’ exclusion from the decision–making process reportedly posed challenges to the current welfare system in South Africa. Lastly, and on a positive note, the social workers found the pieces of legislation and policies put in place by the State as assisting them to continue adapting to the process of re-alignment. The recommendations regarding the strengthening and enhancement of service delivery at the local municipal level were made.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.