Human Resource Development

The Free State Department of Social Development has officially approved Continuing Education for Africa (CEFA) to facilitate the implementation of Social Auxiliary Work Learnership to fifty five (55) learners who have been appointed from across the province from disadvantaged communities and placed in different districts.

The Learnership was successfully launched on the 10 May 2010 in Bloemfontein and it is going to run for a period of one year. The Programme Director for the launching event was Mr. MM Mohutsioa Senior Manager Human Resources and Organisational Development. The event was graced by the Head of Department Me. MSS Maboe who made an opening and welcome address and delivered a key note address. She welcomed all the learners and indicated in her address that they should consider themselves fortunate to be part of this development programme which is one of the highlight activities within the Department.

All the stake holders formed part of this event namely Service Provider (CEFA), Department of Social Development, Public Services SETA (PSETA) and the Learners. The highlight moment for the launch was when the learners were taking an oath which was lead by Mr LT Tladi District Manager Xhariep District.

Social Auxiliary Work

  • The social services sector was faced with the challenges of service delivery – there is a need to increase the capacity of qualified practitioners in the social services sector
  • In terms of legislature, the need was for 3000 social auxiliary workers to be trained in 2007 and be placed in the workplace in 2008
  • The mandate is to find ways to provide education and develop skills in the social services sector.

Historical perspective on saw

Social auxiliary work has been recognised as early as 1958 in the United Nations and in 1970 by the Hungarian Government. 1972 – Department of Correctional Services started employing social auxiliary workers to support social workers – developed own curriculum for education and training (informal). The need for social auxiliary workers in South Africa was identified more than 16 years ago, simply because social workers could not meet the demands for the services from individuals, families, groups and communities. In May 1989 the Social and Associated Workers Act, 1978 (Act 110 of 1978), was amended to the Social Work Act, 1978 (Act 110 of 1978). The Act’s term of associated workers was replaced by the term social auxiliary workers. November 1991, the services of social auxiliary workers were recognised in legislation and structured in SA in terms of compulsory registration and minimum requirements for education and training were formulated.

The concept of social auxiliary work

In terms of the Social Service Professions Act, 1978 (Act 110 of 1978 as amended), social auxiliary work is defined as follows:

“An act or activity practiced by a social auxiliary worker under the guidance and control of a social worker and as a supporting service to a social worker to achieve the aims of social work”

This specifies that a social auxiliary worker works under the guidance and control of a social worker, which further implies that social auxiliary workers are assistants to social workers, providing support services and working under the supervision of social workers. Social auxiliary work therefore complements and supports social work in all focus areas with services to individuals, families, groups and communities

Scope of practice

Social auxiliary work is part and parcel of social work – not voluntary services. Task is mainly that of a social care nature and social auxiliary work is involved with the primary needs of the client system which comprise of individuals, families, groups and communities. The functions of a social auxiliary worker differ from organisation to organisation, according to objectives of the different organisations. The job description of a social auxiliary worker within an organisation should be determined by analysing the basic needs of the community on the one hand and on the other hand by analysing the job description of the social worker within the organization. The role of a social auxiliary worker entails the following:

Prevention, education and development programmes

Life skills education, the development of parenting skills, education with regard to problem-solving.the development of decision-making skills. Stress and conflict management. Economic empowerment. the strengthening of family units. Preparation of programmes for the different stages of the life-cycle. Recreation programmes for specific people at risk.

Community-based care

Direct services aimed at addressing the basic needs such as food clothing and transport. support a family where one of the family members is chronically ill with AIDS, but could also be of an indirect nature, by establishing community-based care facilities for example day-care facilities for families where a child has a mental disability.

Practical support

Material support – arranging for financial aid, social grants, bursaries, food parcels. Practical support – arranging accommodation, employment, transport or completing documents where people do not have the skills to do so, or making arrangements when a family member has died. Emotional support – when a person has for example lost his/her job or when a family member has died or when a person experiences stress. Practical arrangements with regard to meetings or groups (for example venues). Recruitment of volunteers and assisting in their training.

Administrative support

The opening of index cards for individuals, families and communities. The keeping of records of the programmes of social workers. The keeping of minutes of meeting/ workshops – the handling of the secretariat of committees. The keeping of statistics.


Although research is mainly the function of the social worker, the social auxiliary worker could assist the social worker with regard to the following:

  • The completion of questionnaires.
  • Processing research data.

Acts that a social auxiliary worker should not perform

The following are acts that the social auxiliary worker should not perform as formulated and specified in the policy of the SACSSP

  • The social auxiliary worker does not function independently
  • The social worker is responsible for planning services and supervising the social auxiliary worker in implementing the specific tasks allocated to the social auxiliary worker
  • The social auxiliary worker does not provide therapeutic services, but provides supportive services
  • The social auxiliary worker may not become involved with statutory services. However, may assist with reunification services to families.
  • The writing of reports regarding statutory or therapeutic interventions is solely the task of the social worker
  • The social auxiliary worker may not be appointed to do the work of a social worker
  • The social auxiliary worker is responsible only for some tasks entrusted to him/her by the social worker during the helping process and is not trained to assist client (s) during the full process from intake to termination. The social worker is continually co-responsible for the acts of a social auxiliary worker.

Education and Training of Social Auxiliary Workers

The qualification in social auxiliary work is the Further Education and Training Certificate (FETC) in social auxiliary work on NQF Level 4. SAQA registered qualification- the training & education is recognised nationally. The qualification was registered for the first time on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) in June 2003 and was registered again in 2006 with ID number 23993. The structure of the training is 30% theory and 70% practice (integration of theory and practice). One year study (180 credits) Career focused vs the academic qualification – on the job learning and experience.

  • Fundamentals (literacy, communication & languages-56)
  • CORE (13 – 116 credits)
  • Demonstrate basic understanding of the South African social welfare context, the policy and practice of developmental social welfare services and the role of the social auxiliary worker within this context.
  • Define and demonstrate understanding of the purpose of social auxiliary work and the role and functions of a social auxiliary worker in relation to a social worker within the South African context.
  • Consistently reflect the values and principles contained in the Bill of Rights and the social work profession’s Code of Ethics in service delivery as a social auxiliary worker.
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of human behaviour, relationship systems and social issues.
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of human behaviour, relationship systems and social issues.
  • Implement appropriate social auxiliary work methods and techniques to address the social needs of client systems.
  • Use appropriate resources in service delivery to client systems.
  • Work effectively with social workers and members of multi-sectoral teams in social service delivery.
  • Work effectively as a social auxiliary worker to address the special needs and problems experienced by at least 3 of the priority focus groups in social welfare.
  • Keep precise records and compile accurate reports on social needs and social auxiliary work activities and file them appropriately.
  • Provide an efficient research and administrative support service to the social worker.
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of financial matters related to social auxiliary work.
  • Demonstrate self-awareness regarding personal capacities, attitudes and skills and a willingness to develop them further under the supervision of a social worker.
  • Electives (12 – 8 credits)
  • Child and Family Life
  • Child and Youth Care
  • Youth work
  • Disabilities
  • Drug abuse
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Mental Health
  • Older persons
  • Correctional services
  • Victim empowerment
  • Life Skills
  • Community work/ development

Learner entry requirements for this qualification are learners must possess at least a Grade 10 or equivalent certificate or an NQF Level 3 qualification however the service provider prefers that learners should at least possess a grade 12 qualification. The education and qualification in social auxiliary work is offered by service providers accredited with the HWSETA, particularly;

  • Validitation of workplaces – to offer experiential learning
  • Learnerships has been registered for social auxiliary work with the Department of Labour
  • MoU between the SACSSP and the HWSETA – signed on 17 March 2004

Registration requirements

To ensure the promotion and maintenance of a high standard of professional ethics and the promotion of the standard and quality of education and training within the social service professions. Social auxiliary workers must be registered with the SACSSP in terms of the Social Service Professions Act, 1978 as amended. In terms of the Act – no person can be appointed as social auxiliary worker or occupy such a post if they have not received the necessary training and on completion thereof be registered with the SACSSP.

Conditional registration – period of training

Learners are conditionally registered as a social auxiliary worker with the Council. A certificate is issued which serves as proof that the person is a social auxiliary worker. This certificate expires when the training course has successfully been completed.

Full registration

After the successful completion of your training course, the SAW will have to apply for registration as a qualified social auxiliary worker. This implies that they should complete an application form and pay the necessary registration fee as well as annual fee to remain on the Register for Social Auxiliary Workers.


  • Previous course of SACSSP
  • Social Work 1 and 11
  • Other courses approved and recognised by the SACSSP – currently 1
  • Portfolio of evidence
  • The learnership which is being implemented by the Department for 2010/11 financial year will ensure an increased number of trained Social Auxiliary Workers who will be able to register with the Council and can be appointed as assistants to Social Workers.

“Working Together we can empower Youth”