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CAMPAIGN AGAINST INEQUALITY AND DISCREPANCIES IN SOCIAL WORKERS REMUNERATION IN SOUTH AFRICA expensive than Eastern Cape? According to economists there is statistical evidence to prove that actually Eastern Cape is more expensive to live in than Gauteng and Western Cape, and yet the salary scales are very low.

Eastern Cape NGO Coalition (ECNGOC) in partnership with the Provincial Welfare Forum embarked on a project funded by the DG Murray Trust. The objective is to investigate how non-profit organisations (NPOs) advocate and lobby for better financing of the South African Department of Social Development (DSD) policy on Financial Awards to Service Providers at implementation or practice level as the DSD NPO funding guidelines meet the requirements of the NPO sector. The project duration is September 2012 – August 2013.

There is a huge salary discrepancy between government and the NPO sector to such an extent that most senior managers in the NPO welfare sector earn not much more than entry level personnel in the government. Social Workers in government are provided with housing subsidies, car allowance, medical aid and pension on top of their salaries whilst their counterparts in the NPO sector do not get anything.

As part of the project, the ECNGOC and the Provincial Welfare Forum are campaigning against the inequality and discrepancies in social workers remuneration in South Africa. At a time when the country is currently battling with the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality, the NPO sector has not been spared the inequality. There is a lot of remuneration inequality between the public, NPOs and private welfare sectors and across provinces. There are differences in NPO salary scales for social workers in the country, and in 2009 the Eastern Cape had the second lowest salary scales of R4, 647.89 for social auxiliary worker compared to R15, 000 paid in Limpopo for the same job. In North West, a social worker got R6, 012 per month whilst Limpopo paid R19, 000 and Eastern Cape paid R9, 958.33 for the same job in 2009. As it might be difficult to accept, but the reality is like in the book, Animal Farm where some animals are more equal than others.

The Department of Social Development policy on Financial Awards Policy to Service Providers has not fully addressed the challenges due to governments under budgeting for the subsidisation of NPOs providing social services. Provincial inequalities have been caused by the autonomy of provincial welfare departments who determine the worker salaries within the public welfare sector and have the right to determine the overall proportion of the budget that will be used to subsidise the NGO sector and the proportional level of such subsidy. There is a great need to revamp the system in order to allow equality. This has caused social workers in different provinces within the same organisation to receive different salaries yet doing the same job. This is in contradiction with equality Chapter 2(9.2) Bill of Rights of the South African Constitution.

What is the justification for the discrepancies? Does it mean that Limpopo lifestyle is more


Impact of the discrepancies Because of the discrepancies between government and NPO welfare sectors and between different provinces within the NGO sector and high demand for social workers in government, there is a high turnover and labour migration of social workers from NPOs as they move to greener pastures in the form of provinces with better salaries. The disparity makes it very difficult for NPOs and poor provinces to attract the right calibre of social workers. The disparities exacerbate the poverty, unemployment and inequality in the communities that the NPO welfare organisations serve. As when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers the most, the communities suffer most because of the state of the organisations that are supposed to serve them.

Recommendation The Eastern Cape NGO Coalition and the Eastern Cape Welfare Forum is advocating for a revamp, review and reconsideration of the Financial Awards Policy. There is need to consider a grading system that will ensure uniformity across provinces and in the government and NPO sector. In addition the Eastern Cape NPO sector is working on a costing model for service specifications to assist in addressing the above inequalities. Nelson Mandela said “I have fought against white domination; I have fought against black domination. I have fought for a country to be both free and equal. It is an ideal I am prepared to live for but if needs be it is an ideal which I am prepared to die for. Prepared to Die for Speech, 1964“

Advocating for Equal Pay for Equal Work! Eastern Cape NGO Coalition Tel: 087 373 1082 Email:, For more information about Eastern Cape NGO Coalition, refer to This campaign is supported by: Eastern Cape Provincial Welfare Forum Tel: 041 464 1011


Campaign against inequality and discrepancies sw  

The ECNGOC was established in 1995 as a collective of non-governmental, faith and community based organizations committed to changing condit...