South Africa (University of South Africa) Unisan appointed to serve as SACSSP member of council

Dr Seithati Motebang from the Department of Development Studies was appointed by the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, as a South African Council for Social Services Professionals (SACSSP) member for five years.

She is appointed to represent the community in the category of specialised knowledge. The SACSSP is the regulatory body entrusted with setting and maintaining social service professionals’ education and practice standards (social work and child and youth care work) in the Republic of South Africa. It is an autonomous, financially independent, recognised statutory professional body for the social service professions of social work and child and youth care work, established in terms of section 29 of the National Qualifications Framework Act 67 of 2008. To safeguard the public and the integrity of the professions, no one may practise social work or child and youth care work (at the professional and auxiliary levels) without being registered with the SACSSP. Thus, registration is mandatory for social workers, social auxiliary workers, students in social work and social auxiliary work, child and youth care workers (professional and auxiliary categories), and students in child and youth care work (professional and auxiliary categories).

Motebang, an active feminist and researcher, says she’s honoured to be given an opportunity as an academic to share her expertise in research and knowledge. “My knowledge and research will complement existing knowledge and assist in successfully implementing effective programmes to alleviate social development problems.” She adds that the Development Workers’ profession will be recognised as part of the council. In the past, social services mainly addressed social work and child-services issues. Development Workers deal with socioeconomic and political problems that could lead to certain social ills.

Motebang says it has always been her wish to serve on the board of at least one of the Department of Social Work agencies. “In the beginning, I was more interested in the National Development Agency because I believed it had more direct relevance to my Development Studies qualifications. However, after working at the Films and Publications Board (FPB) as a CEO, I began to see the connection with social service professions in the quest to protect women’s and children’s rights,” she explains. “While I was at FPB, I began to interact more with social workers and the bug to work more with them bit me,” she adds.

When asked what she wants to achieve during her term as a serving member of the SACSSP, she says she would like to oversee the successful completion of the integration of Development Workers into the Council and to ensure that there is strong governance that would build the Council to be a credible and trusted organisation.

Making notable moves in the industry globally, she was recently invited to facilitate a workshop in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Section in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Motebang says the invitation came after contributing a chapter to the Global Report on Centering Gender and the Care Economy in the post-COVID-19 era. She wrote the chapter on African case studies focusing on South Africa, Egypt and Kenya, which have the most comprehensive data on women and the care economy. Nevertheless, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Ethiopia were all represented in the workshop.

Motebang wants to be remembered for using her academic knowledge and achievements to contribute to applied research that can eradicate poverty and accelerate the achievement of gender equality and the protection of universal human rights.