n Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development - Neoliberal impact on social work in South African non-governmental organisations

Volume 32 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2520-0097
  • E-ISSN: 2415-5829



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.

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