SA failing equity target for disabled, says minister

2011-06-07 13:56

SA is failing to achieve its two percent employment equity target for people with disabilities, Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana said today.

Both the public and private sectors had not made progress in meeting the target.

In 2010, only 0.9 percent of people with disabilities were employed, Xingwana told the National Assembly during debate on her budget vote speech.

“We are very concerned with the continued failure of both the public and private sector to advance towards the target ... The last report of the Employment Equity Commission indicates that government is trailing behind the private sector.”

People with disabilities constituted 0.6 percent of state employees, while the figure for the private sector stood at one percent.

Each department or sphere of government would in future be held accountable. She said the disabled faced the “stiffest” obstacles towards socio-economic participation compared to other South Africans.

Problems included lack of access to jobs, transport, education and health services.

In an effort to address this, the department would focus on improving access to education through the promotion of the inclusive education policy.
“We have to promote integration of children with special needs into the mainstream school while acknowledging that children with severe disabilities will still need special schools,” Xingwana said.

The department would conduct an audit of all special schools in the country. This would provide information on the state of each school and inform appropriate interventions that needed to be taken.

Xingwana said a lack of transport for the disabled also limited their participation in social and economic activities.

“We will work together with the department of transport to ensure that our public transport strategy and initiatives respond to the transport needs of people with disabilities, including standardisation of designated parking.”

The department intended to develop and implement the national accessibility campaign, which would focus on reasonable accommodation at places of work, accessibility of buildings, promotion of Braille, sign language and access to assistive devices and disability grants. 

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