Budget Vote 8: National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Speech By Hon Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu, (Mp), Deputy Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities
18 May 2012
“The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives” This was said by William James, leader of the philosophical movement of Pragmatism, 1842-1910.
People with disabilities are more often than not left on the periphery of society due to discriminatory attitudes and stereotypes, as well as inhospitable and inaccessible environments.
The level of ignorance we have come across in our work with government officials across all three spheres of government, required urgent political intervention.
This was also amplified in the lack of qualitative as well as quantitative data and information contained in departmental, provincial and district submissions for the first Country Report on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Ministry therefore embarked on a provincial road show over the past 3 months to dialogue with Provincial Executive Councils on the acceleration and understanding of the disability agenda and priorities.
The national disability agenda has been aligned with the priorities as reflected in the manifesto of the ruling party.
Honourable Members, as we would all agree, education remains a crucial weapon to liberate people from oppression.
Taking into consideration that the 2007 Community Survey projected that 467 000 children with disabilities of compulsory school-going age were not in school:
- that the 2002 National Audit of Special Schools revealed that 813 incidents of sexual abuse and a staggering 233 cases of suicide were reported over a three year period in these schools, and
- that the 2006 accessibility audit of more than 10 000 mainstream schools across all nine provinces indicated that less than 2% of the schools surveyed had even basic access such as ramps and wheelchair-accessible toilets we can begin to understand that it cannot be business as usual.
Honourable Members, you are therefore invited to join the national Education for All campaign that will be launched in September 2012 to encourage parents to enrol their disabled children at the nearest school to home.
This will require collective action to monitor exclusions, and make these schools’ curricula and buildings accessible.
Creating decent work
At the centre of the right to dignity, lies the right of people with disabilities to economic independence and their contribution to the ideals of a developmental state.
As the Minister has already highlighted with regards to the 2% set target, let us reflect on the performance of our nine provinces:
- North West:0.40%
- Eastern Cape:0.38%
- Western Cape:0.31%
- Free State: 0.21%
- Northern Cape: 0.19%
- KwaZulu-Natal: 0.13%
- Gauteng: 0.12%
Of particular concern is the fact that the Western Cape continues to discourage the employment of people with disabilities with rapidly declining percentages.
We call on Members when engaging with the Expanded Public Works Programme to ensure that the 2% target is also achieved in this programme across all sites.
The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) should also be used as a tool in redressing accessibility issues across all sectors in all communities.
We acknowledge the progress rural development is making through the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) sites as well as the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) programme, but once again, we emphasise the need to ensure that rural infrastructure and work opportunities comply with the principles of equal and universal access.
The roll-out of the NHI in the 11 pilot districts holds significant hope for our rural communities.
Members are requested to ensure that the improvement of services in these districts also improves access for people with disabilities, and in particular as it pertains to access to rehabilitation services, assistive devices, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) and access to anti-retrovirals (ARVs).
Particular attention should also be given to disabled people and their organisations in rendering community-based rehabilitation services. We can all learn from Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal which have piloted this model.
Safety and Security
The recent exposure of incidences of child-on-child violence and the rape of young children with disabilities, speak to the mental state of our nation, albeit not a new phenomena.
The protection of children and women with disabilities from exploitation and sexual abuse is a constitutional obligation placed on every South African.
These incidences have once again brought to the attention of ordinary South Africans the realities disabled people and their families live with daily.
Their abuse often goes un-reported, but even if they do speak out, they are unlikely to be believed.
It is however regrettable that this on-going abuse has to go viral on social media before South African society sits up and takes notice.
The media regrettably often unintentionally contribute to an environment in which abuse of people with disabilities occurs by the manner in which they portray people with disabilities as powerless, helpless victims and objects of pity.
It is the responsibility of the media to ensure that they use the power of word and image responsibly, and that their reporting promotes a culture of respect, dignity and human rights of people with disabilities.
We also realise that our work in this department will never be done unless South African men stand up and proclaim “Not in my Name”.
Plan for your future
There are very few people in this House who can with any certainty proclaim that disability will not directly affect them in their life time. We have all submitted our applications, we are just waiting for authorisation.
We urge all Members through their oversight commitments, to ensure that any infrastructure development in their constituencies complies with the universal access design principles.
In this way, Members will prepare to enjoy our golden years within the midst of our families and communities and no-one will be sent away to be ‘cared for’ in isolation.
House Chair, we remain committed to ensuring that the face of HIV/ Aids changes from that of a burden of a black woman, to that of society in general.
We will be monitoring the implementation of the National Strategic Plan, and we have made contributions to the operational plans as it affects women, children and people with disabilities, and as it will be implemented by provinces.
We call on members to familiarise themselves with these plans and to monitor the implementation thereof.
We recognise that without partnership and collective action across all sectors of society spanning all three spheres of government, we will not succeed.
This week we convened the Inter-Government component of the National Disability Machinery as part of our commitment to strengthen our capacity to respond more effectively to the rights of people with disabilities.
We will, in keeping with advancing the principle of self-representation, convene the disability sector component of the National Disability Machinery on 14-15 June 2012. Members, please note that all provinces should be represented across all national disability formations and opinion-makers in the field of disability.
South Africa will be hosting the 11th World Down Syndrome Congress in Cape Town from 14-17 August, and we extend an invitation to Members, as this will be an opportunity for Members to learn.
Similarly, Members are invited to join us:
- at the launch of National Disability Month on November 3, this year to be hosted in KwaZulu-Natal
- the provincial and district Disability Month activities, and
- the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3 to be held in Mpumalanga Province.
Together creating a caring, inclusive society for all.
Issued by: Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities
18 May 2012
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