Neoliberal Impact on Social Work in South African Non-Governmental Organisations

  • Abigail Ornellas Social Work Department, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Lambert K Engelbrecht Social Work Department, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Keywords: neoliberalism, social work practice, non-governmental organisations, management, supervision

Abstract

The South African social work profession, which can be considered to still be in the early stages of rebirth post-apartheid, has been affected by neoliberal compromise. This paper reflects on the impact of neoliberalism on South African social work, particularly within the context of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as perceived and experienced by front-line social workers and social work managers. The findings highlight some of the unseen struggles of South African social work practice, as the profession is caught between the demands of social development and neoliberalism. This study invites the voices of front-line social workers to join academic debate and offer on-the-ground insight which social work academics might not be able to identify. In doing so, the discussion around neoliberal impact on South African social work and NGOs is deepened, allowing for authentic reflection on the challenges for the profession within an environment of neoliberal and developmental conflict.

Author Biographies

Abigail Ornellas, Social Work Department, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Social Work Department

Lambert K Engelbrecht, Social Work Department, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Department Head

Social Work Department 

Published
2020-02-18
Section
Articles