Speech by the Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Ms Lulu Xingwana visit to Sheltered Employment Factories, Cape Town
7 Feb 2011Programme Director
My colleague, Minister of Labour
CEO of Sheltered Employment Factories
All officials present
Workers from Ndabeni and Epping Factories
Ladies and gentlemen
We very much appreciate the opportunity to visit and see the wonderful work you are doing at these two factories. We are very much encouraged particularly by the quality of products that come out of these factories. The furniture for schools and offices as well linen and other fabric products that you produce for hospitals are important in enabling government to delivery services to the people.
We have also received a briefing on both the successes and the challenges that the 12 sheltered employment factories available in the country are facing.
We are very much encouraged that you won an open tender valued at R5,7 million from Department of Basic Education to supply furniture to more than 300 schools. We saw the chairs you are producing for judges in our courts and the linen you are providing to Tygerberg and Groote Schuur hospitals. You should be very proud of your outputs.
We are aware that there is capacity to double and even triple production if particularly government departments are encouraged to procure from these factories. I am told that this can increase the number of workers from 1 100 currently to about 3 000, thereby creating more opportunities for people with disabilities.
The Ministry for Women, Children and People with Disabilities is in the process of acquiring its own building in Pretoria which will require furniture and other work equipment. In acquiring such work equipments, we will have to lead by example in implementing preferential procurement that is favourable to both women and people with disabilities that we represent.
We have to acknowledge though that opportunities to work here need to be open to disabled people from all racial groups and we also have to increase the number of women with disabilities employed. These factories have to reflect the demographics of our country. Next time we come here, we need to see a shop-floor that is a true reflection of the broader community of Cape Town both in terms of race and gender.
Programme Director, some of you may ask why we are here today. You know that on Thursday, there is the opening of Parliament. Our President, President Jacob Zuma will give an address outlining the programme of action of government for this year and beyond. This address is expected to focus on economic transformation, amongst other things.
Our Government has highlighted the problem of unemployment as the major crisis facing our country. Unemployment affects particularly women, youth and people with disabilities. Our Government has put together plans to address this problem with the aim of creating five million jobs within the next 10 years.
As the Ministry, we want to make sure that those efforts to create jobs benefit women and people with disabilities. We want 50% of those jobs to go to women and a minimum of 2% of them should benefit people with disabilities.
During 8 January Statement of the ANC, President Zuma declared 2011 as the year of job creation. The President further said that: "We must make the decisive shift to meaningful economic transformation and set in motion a very deliberate programme that will ensure that the benefits of our political liberation are shared amongst all our people.”
Economic transformation for us means that we have to work towards achieving gender parity and equitable representation of people with disabilities in all spheres of our economy.
We have to address the stereotypes that continue to limit opportunities for people with disabilities to participate fully in the economy. We have to stop the wrong perceptions that employing people with disabilities is either more expensive or it limits productivity. Today, we are saying here are the products produced exclusively by people with disabilities. They are of excellent quality, comparable and even better than many in the market. Come and buy here to support employment of people with disabilities.
I hope you will all listen to President Zuma when he addresses the nation on Thursday evening, at 7pm. The State of the Nation Address has been moved to the evening to enable everyone, including factory workers like yourselves, to hear the President’s address live through your radios and television.
Let us work together to improve the lives of all people with disabilities.
Source: Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities
Issued by: Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities
7 Feb 2011
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