Uplifting disabled persons

2012-12-10 00:00

INSTEAD of spending money on events for people living with disabilities, the government should rather open special schools for them and help them set up businesses.

This was the view of some who attended an event commemorating International Day of Persons with Disabilities at the KwaQwabe sports field in Umzumbe on Friday.

Ugu District Municipality mayor Ntombifikile Gumede promised to give effect to the KwaZulu-Natal government’s commitment to ensure that two percent of all civil servants were people with disabilities.

“I will make sure that we deliver on what we have promised here today and that we will do what we can to employ more than two percent. But people should apply in order to get the posts, because we do welcome applications from the physically challenged,” said Gumede.

Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi committed to break the barriers that disabled people face in society. “Next year, we are going to build new crèches that will accommodate disabled children and train staff so that they are able to deal with the children’s needs. Most of these physically challenged children are isolated from society and that must change because they are also human beings,” said Thusi. She encouraged disabled people to showcase their talent and not fear what people will say about them.

“You might make your own money rather than depending on the government grant. So, I think you should show the world what you can do and, who knows, you might be the next superstar,” said Thusi.

However, Ambroser Mgadi, who is physically challenged, was not impressed with the promises, saying he heard them every year, but then nothing happened. “I think if the government can host these expensive events, then they can also leave behind something for disabled people, like a special school for our children, instead of spending so much on these events,” said Mgadi.

He said the government could also assist them in opening their own businesses that will focus on the needs of disabled people. “I wear special shoes made in Durban and it is difficult getting them because I have to pay someone to take me to the factory shop that sells them, and that is very expensive.

“The government can train people like me to make these shoes here and that would ease the burden,” said Mgadi. Njabulo Mabaso, of the Vela Njabulo Organisation for people with dyslexia, said they wanted the government to provide jobs for them as they were educated.

“I have an N3 certificate which I got from a special school, but I can’t get a job because people don’t understand my condition,” he said.

The chairperson of Disabled People of South Africa, Sipho Gamede, said he expected the government to get disabled people into government and leadership positions, and to change the negative attitude of many civil servants towards disabled people.

Gamede said civil servants were “terrible” when disabled people needed their help.

“They must be educated about disabilities in order to be efficient in what they are hired to do,” he said.

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