Skip to main content
31 October 2023


Summer is around the corner, and with it comes the spirit of joviality, but the season also calls for caution on various fronts.

The Western Cape Government (WCG) is implementing plans ahead of the summer season to ensure that it has the appropriate mitigation measures in place to assist should disasters, such as fires, occur. Minor or major fires in areas like informal settlements have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable in society, including children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) has been working tirelessly to ensure its summer readiness programmes are operational across the province.

The department will be working closely with other government agencies to mitigate the impact of disasters on vulnerable groups. In the event of a disaster, DSD teams are prepared to render psychosocial support services where needed, while working with partner NGOs for the provision of humanitarian relief.

Summer also brings an influx of people to beaches across the province.

“This usually leads to high incidents of children going missing or being abandoned by their parents or caregivers after a day out at the beach. We see this happening year after year during the festive season, and it is simply unacceptable. When children are forgotten at beaches, DSD social workers in partnership with municipalities like the City of Cape Town, provide support and ensure that they are safely placed until they can be reunited with their families. I urge parents and caregivers to keep a close eye on children, especially around bodies of water and densely populated areas,” says provincial Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez.

There is also the risk of a high prevalence of substance use during this period, leading to an increase in the demand for substance use disorder services.

“Please be responsible and seek help before resorting to substances that may be harmful to your health. If you have a loved one who battles with substance abuse, be vigilant of signs of relapse during this period as it can be a difficult time for those who are already vulnerable,” advises Minister Fernandez.

Information about the Department’s other services or on registered NGOs can be obtained by visiting any of our regional and local offices, by contacting the DSD hotline 0800 220 250, or visiting

Helpful contact numbers:

Gender-Based Violence Command Centre: Call 0800 428 428 or dial *120*786#

Childline: 116

Stop Gender Violence helpline: 0800 150 150

SAPS: 08600 10111

Report any abuse of children, women, the elderly, or any other vulnerable person to the Department of Social Development’s toll-free number: 0800 220 250.

Department of Social Development Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the department’s website:

Find out more about our safety services for women and children by sending an SMS with the word INFO to 35 395.