SA called to uphold disability rights

Friday, November 3, 2023

Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has called on South Africans, including various organisations, institutions and individuals, to play their part in raising awareness about the need to uphold disability rights.

This as South Africa joins the global community in commemorating Disability Rights Awareness Month (DRAM), which takes place from 3 November to 3 December.

Dlamini-Zuma said the 2023 DRAM emphasises the urgency of the implementation of reducing economic vulnerability, releasing human capital and supporting sustainable integrated community life. 

“Commemorating Disability Awareness Month offers an opportunity for all of us to remove social barriers and perceptions while improving the quality of life of people with disabilities through concrete action of empowering persons with disabilities through resourceful, sustainable and safe environments,” Dlamini-Zuma said

The 2023 DRAM will be observed under the theme: “Consolidate and Accelerate Rights of Persons with Disabilities into the Future”.

The Minister said the theme is a testament to the Bill of Rights that confirms that everyone has a right to life, equality and human dignity. 

“People with disabilities should not be excluded from their constitutional rights due to disability. The National Disability Rights Policy, namely, the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, aligns with the National Development Plan and the Strategic Priorities of the Sixth Administration in calling for economic transformation and job creation.

“While people with disabilities continue to be unemployed and underemployed, it remains important to promote and support the empowerment of persons with disabilities to reduce economic vulnerability,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

The Minister added that the department has presented to Cabinet the sixth annual progress report on the implementation of the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which calls for a 2% increase on minimum employment equity target to 3% for people with disabilities for the 2024-2025 financial year.

This is towards progressive realisation of 7% minimum employment equity target for people with disabilities by 2030. 

“Cabinet approved the latter and departments are encouraged to urgently implement measures to recruit persons with disabilities, including headhunting.” 

Dlamini-Zuma noted that disability is an evolving concept and consequence of an impairment that may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental, or some combination of these. 

“Disability may be present from birth, or occur during a person's lifetime. It may be permanent, temporary or episodic in nature,” the Minister said. –