Council highlights plight of the disabled

2017-12-21 06:00

THE plight of people with disabilities was the focus at the close of this year’s Kouga 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children.

The closing arguments, held at the Kruisfontein Civic Centre, followed a number of interactive sessions held by the municipality and other stakeholders since the campaign started in November.

This year’s events took the form of dialogues, with the aim being to forward the information collected to relevant government departments for attention.

Speaking on behalf of Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen, Councillor Atri Carstens says people with disabilities and the elderly were seen as soft targets by perpetrators of gender-based violence due to their circumstances.

“The stories we hear are horrific, but even more horrifying is the time it takes for us to learn about such incidents and the fact that many of these go unreported. Those of us who are able to speak up, must raise our voices to ensure that such crimes do not go unpunished,” she says.

The disability sector was represented by Jakkie Pieters from the Association for the Physically Disabled (APD).

Pieters said people with disabilities suffered different forms of abuse on a daily basis, from discrimination to physical and emotional abuse.

“Statistics show that there are about 3964 disabled people in Kouga, but we do not have a coordinated way of knowing where all these people are and the situation they are living in, or whether they receive their due government benefits,” he says.

Pieters adds that access was still a serious problem for people with disabilities, with many facilities constructed to exclude them and without consideration of their basic needs.

The 16 Days of Activism is a national campaign, run annually, to raise awareness and to advocate against the abuse of women and children.

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