Disabled remain marginalised

2012-09-25 14:31

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Johannesburg - Employers are struggling to meet targets for disabled people in the workplace, the advocacy group I CAN said on Tuesday.

"There is a lack of knowledge on how to include disabled people in the workplace, and coupled with ignorance and fear, companies are just not making the effort," said I CAN head Alison Smeeton.

About 5% of South Africans are estimated to be disabled.

Many remained marginalised, with little prospect of employment.

By March, at least 2% of employees - in both the public and private sector - should be people with disabilities.

But Smeeton said as a guest speaker at recent training functions, she had asked employers about their progress towards this target.

"Not one was even close. Smaller companies may manage, but the bigger companies will struggle."

She encouraged the government to further educate employers about the rewards such as points on the broad-based black economic empowerment scorecard and tax rebates available through the SA Revenue Service when participating in learnerships.

"South Africans with an intellectual disability are even worse off because of the myth that people with a disability have no ability," she said.

I CAN is a partner in academies for disabled people set up around the country by training organisation Production Management Institute.

In the past year, these academies had put some 350 disabled people through learnerships.

About 30% of graduates had been integrated into the workplace.
- SAPA
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