Community Development Workers

Know Your Community Development Worker

About the Community Development Workers (CDW’s)

In his State of the Nation address on 14 February 2003, President Thabo Mbeki identified the need for a new public service echelon of multi-skilled community development workers. Both Presidential and provincial Imbizos revealed deficiencies in service delivery to communities and therefore a need was identified to examine where we currently stand regarding delivery of services to the poor and how service delivery can be improved. The CDWs would be deployed to maintain direct contact with the people where they live and to ensure that government improves the qualities of the outcomes of public expenditure.

Whilst many government departments have community development initiatives, most people who fall in the poorer segment of the population are still unable to access the full potential of government programmes. Among the reasons for this gap between service provision and effective utilisation by the intended recipients are access to information about services and access to the services themselves.

The programme is driven, at the national level, by the Department of Public Service and Administration and is implemented across the country. The departments of Public Service and Administration, Labour and the South African Management Development Institute (SAMDI) have been tasked with the development of job descriptions and training of the Community Development Workers. At provincial level, the Department responsible for Local Government which is CoGTA establishes and manages the programme for implementation in the Province.

What are Community Development Workers?

CDWs are special public servants who are undergoing training to enable them to enter communities and households, engage with citizens and determine what services are needed, to ensure that these services are made available.

How can Community Development Workers assist communities?

CDWs link communities with many government services and programmes. CDWs assist citizens by helping them to access services such as health, welfare, housing, agriculture, economic activity, education and training, and employment opportunities.

Where do Community Development Workers work?

CDWs work for citizens, with citizens and where they live, building on people’s daily struggles. They​ work in rural areas and townships, which are poor, isolated or underdeveloped.