The Department of Social Development held an oath taking ceremony for first-year social work students at Wits yesterday.

The event was attended by the South African Social Service Professions (SASSP), the Faculty of Humanities, The Department of Social Work and The Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini who delivered the keynote address.

The ceremony is an annual event and involves students taking a solemn declaration before their peers, parents and lecturers to honour the social work profession and always adhere to the ethical code of the profession as contained in the Social Service Professions Act.

This year Dlamini underlined issues of importance in the social work industry. She emphasized one aspect in particular that is important if students are to call themselves complete professionals one day “students must treat their clients regardless of social standing with respect and dignity.”

She congratulated and thanked the students for their choice of profession and explained the importance of the role of the social work profession in society. “The public expects high quality, responsive services delivered by well trained and competent social workers and rightly so.”

Dlamini also used the occasion to highlight the South African Veteran Social Workers Forum that was launched last year. The forum will serve as a support structure to newly qualified social work professionals, who can use the expertise of retired social workers offering mentoring through the forum.