Welcome Message from the Minister of Social Development, Republic of South Africa

On behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, I would like to extend a warm invitation to you to attend this historic joint conference of the National Association of Social Workers South Africa (NASWSA) and the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW). The conference will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre, Gauteng Province-South Africa from 25th-27th September 2013 under the theme: “Voice for Development: Social Workers and People’s Perspective on Sustainable Development”.

I am honoured to be appointed the patron of this prestigious conference, which seeks to strategically locate the social work profession within the broader national and international development context. This gathering is the first of its kind in this country, and it is indeed a great honour for South Africa and for the NASWSA in particular, to jointly host such an important international event on behalf of the African continent.

The conference marks the initiation of a long overdue conversation that we need to have about the role of the social work profession especially in the context of national priorities such as those contained in our own National Development Plan (Vision 2030) and international commitments, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In light of the on-going global financial crisis and its devastating impact on the world’s poor, the conference offers a unique platform for social work academics, students, practitioners and its related professions to meet and exchange ideas on how best to position the profession to contribute to efforts to build a better life for our people.

In societies across the globe, social work professionals are the first port of call for individuals and families in distress, which makes social work training an important area of focus. As you deliberate at this congress, I hope you will be able to address a number of key questions. This includes social work teaching and practice and how these are constructed to respond to current challenges and to complement national development priorities.

It is in this context that we intend to continue to collaborate and engage with both national and global progressive organisations such as the NASWSA and IFSW in shaping a developmental agenda for the social work profession.

In order to make this conference a success, we need your support and active participation to shape a global developmental agenda for the social work profession. I look forward to welcoming you to this conference and I hope that you will enjoy the warm hospitality and Ubuntu of all South Africans.

Best regards,

Ms Bathabile Dlamini, MP
Minister of Social Development
Republic of South Africa