International Day of Diabled Persons is marked worldwide on 3 December every year. In South Africa, the Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities was established to emphasise the need for equity and access to development opportunities for vulnerable groups within South African society.
The figures are dismal regarding the representation of persons with disability at top and senior management levels in the workplace according to the latest Employment Equity (EE) Commission report. This was put at 0,8 per cent, together with that of African women, said President Jacob Zuma.
He revealed that a Disability Act is being drafted to deal with enforcement, non-compliance and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The convention covers areas such as accessibility, rehabilitation, participation in political life, equality and non-discrimination of the disabled.
President Zuma said to ensure the proper implementation of the convention, government was developing a National Disability Policy and its implementation guidelines.
“We will also continue to promote the inclusion of persons with disability in the mainstream economy through instruments such as the Employment Equity Act and the Black Economic Empowerment Act among others,” President Zuma said.
He said government was looking at proposals such as increasing the fines imposed on employers to deter them from not complying with the Act.
Other special initiatives with regards to job opportunities for include the Department of Labour’s initiative of funding and managing Sheltered Employment Factories for persons with disabilities.
There are currently 12 such factories and discussions are at an advanced stage for them to be increased and transformed.
To date, a total of 981 331 persons with disability get disability grants from government, while a total of 122 153 children with disabilities receive care dependency grants to assist their care givers in looking after them. In addition, 248 589 persons with temporary disability receive temporary disability grants.
These grants contribute immensely to the alleviation of poverty.