In 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by nations across the globe to eradicate poverty in all its forms, combat inequality, preserve the planet, create sustainable economic growth and foster social inclusion (United Nations [UN], 2015:5). Social workers are compelled to act on environmental injustices because of their ethical mandate to address social injustices (Erickson, 2012:184). This study adopted green social work (Dominelli,2012) as a theoretical framework.
The goal of the study was to explore and describe the role of social workers in promoting environmental justice for sustainable communities from a government perspective in the City of Ekurhuleni.
The study adopted a qualitative research approach, which had an exploratory and descriptive purpose (Fouché & De Vos, 2011). The case study design was an instrumental case study. The study sample was purposively selected and composed of ten social workers from three units of the Department of Social Development in the City of Ekurhuleni. Data was collected through one-on-one semi-structured interviews using an interview schedule. Data was analysed by using Creswell’s (2014) theme approach.
The findings of the study indicated that participants are aware of the environmental injustices in the City of Ekurhuleni. Furthermore, although participants understand the effects of these injustices on the lives of the poor, they believe they have little to offer to promote environmental justice. This is due to the specialised nature of the service delivery units of the Department of Social Development (DSD). The study concluded that participants need knowledge and skills in green social work. Furthermore, collaboration with relevant stakeholders and community engagement is essential in promoting environmental justice to contribute to sustainable communities.
The study recommends that the DSD adopts green social work as a practice model and that all the service delivery units of the DSD integrate an environmental justice focus. Furthermore, social workers in the DSD should be trained in the knowledge of and skills in green social work and how it relates to developmental social work and sustainable development.
Mini Dissertation(MSW (Social development and policy))--University of Pretoria, 2020.