The chairperson of Botswana National Association of Social Workers (BONASW), Kgomotso Jongman, said that they are unhappy with what the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Peter Siele, said on BTV news on Saturday.
Minister Siele said that social workers are not supposed to assess people because they ask questions that disregard their privacy. According to Jongman, an assessment is a holistic approach towards knowing the client.
Jongman said that if the Minister can say that the questions asked during assessment are an insult to the government then it means that it is an insult to their profession too. He alluded to the fact that they will be denied autonomy to do their work.
“Our work should not be determined at Kgotla meetings. If people think that we are not doing our work, they should call and ask us and not attack us at Kgotla meetings,” Jongman said. “If the minister can say that we are disregarding people’s privacy then it means things should be done haphazardly.”
He further said that there are various things covered in the assessment. The environmental assessment is meant to consider where the client comes from and what can be used on the ground to address the issue at hand.
In addition, Jongman said that there is the interpersonal assessment where the social worker interacts with the client. He said that in this form of assessment, they ask clients questions such as their marital status, who is the spouse and the children.
“Then there is the Intra personal assessment whereby the social workers will ask the client how they relate to themselves,” he said.
The fuming Jongman said that it is very difficult for them to get hold of the Minister as it takes forever for the meeting to take place whenever they ask for it. However, he said that he will write a paper to answer what the Minister said.
“We will make our position to the ministry stating our facts. We will make it clear that we are not happy and that he should consult us first,” he said.
Jongman added that in Kgotla meetings, only one side of the story is taken into consideration and that this gives the Ministers the chance to lambast them while the workers are never given a chance to answer for themselves.
‘As a minister overseeing the profession, he should be diplomatic and protect the social workers and the people he addresses thereby balancing his arguments.”