Disabled to protest at parliament: DPSA

By Drum Digital
13 June 2014

Members of Disabled People SA will protest near Parliament during President Jacob Zuma's state-of-the-nation address.

Members of Disabled People SA (DPSA) will protest near Parliament on Tuesday during President Jacob Zuma's state-of-the-nation address.

DPSA spokesman Olwethu Sipuka said on Friday the planned picket was aimed at pressuring Zuma to rethink his Cabinet changes.

"We will be picketing in Cape Town as he delivers his state-of-the-nation address. That is going to be a picket by our national structures. He knows our mantra: nothing about us without us," Sipuka told reporters at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

About 150 disabled people were at the Union Buildings to protest and hand a memorandum of grievances to a government representative.

Sipuka said Zuma erred when he transferred the support system for disabled people to the social development department.

Zuma announced his new Cabinet on May 24. He said the former ministry of women, children, and people with disabilities would become the ministry of women located in the presidency.

"The functions related to support for the people with disabilities and children will be transferred to the department of social development," Zuma said at the time.

On Friday, Sipuka said the disabled wanted a ministry within the presidency, as was the case before 2007.

"Disability struggles across the world are fundamentally about how we should not pigeonhole disability into social development. The president has done precisely that.

"Disabled people, not only in South Africa but across the world, are saying South Africa is moving 10 steps backwards."

DPSA deputy secretary general Thandi Mfulo said the social development department was a welfare structure, but not all the disabled fell into that category.

"He should have asked us and we would have guided him accordingly. On its own, the social development [department] is failing on a lot of issues," Mfulo said.

"To us the changes mean Zuma is saying someone should care for us, [that] we do not have minds of our own."

She said there was stigma associated with the social services department.

"It's all about someone doing something for me. When am I going to do something for myself? It is handing out free gifts," Mfulo said.


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