Census for people with disabilities on the cards

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cape Town – The Deputy Minister of Social Development, Henrietta Bogopane-Zulu, has announced that government, in partnership with Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), will soon launch a census dedicated to verifying how many people with disabilities there are in South Africa.

She said this would help government and other sectors of the economy respond better to the needs of people with disabilities in terms of increasing access and social inclusion.

The Deputy Minister made this announcement following a debate by Members of the Inaugural Disability Rights Parliament that was held in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The Parliamentary sitting was preceded by the National Disability Awards that were held at the Southern Sun Cape Sun Hotel on Tuesday night.

“… The census did not give us the statistics that we need in terms of disability. So the Minister and the Statistician-General will be launching the Disability Census.

“When we know how many disabled people there are, we are also able to assert our authority,” Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu said.

While she did not say when the census would be launched exactly, she called on all organisations that advocate for the rights of disabled people to become active players in making the Disability Census a success.

She said the census was the first of its kind in the world.

“No country has gone out in a full census scale to count people with disabilities. So please help us in your communities, in your constituencies and be counted so that we don’t work on estimates all the time and that we also begin to use the power of numbers as South Africans with disabilities.

“That is the project that is going to be launched, it is ready. Disabled people will be trained also to go door-to-door to count because we also want you to acquire that data capturing skill,” she said.

New chair for NPO Arbitration Committee

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minster congratulated Nomasonto Mazibuko, the President of Albinism Society of Southern Africa and a commissioner at the Commission for Gender Equality, for having being appointed by Minister Bathabile Dlamini to chair the Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) Arbitration Committee.

“It is important to note that the NPO Arbitration Committee is established in terms of the NPO Act. [Mazibuko] will be chairing your arbitrations, [whether] your NPOs are registered, deregistered or anything to do with … NPOs.

“I wish her luck as she helps us do our work and I also wish you luck as you help her do her work because she is the first disabled person to be appointed in that high level NPO,” Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu said.

The Deputy Minister also congratulated Mbuyiseni Botha from the Sonke Gender Justice Network for becoming the first person with a disability to be appointed as the Deputy Chairperson of the Ministerial Disability Committee, which was established after the budget vote of the Social Development Department.

“We will be adding a person with a disability in the advisory committee that looks at the payment system for South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) … as we transform our social security system and we will engage all the organisations as we normally do for their nominations.

“We are hoping organisations will tap into their resources and look at the best person who will be up to joining the committee that the Minister has set up,” said Botha.

People with disabilities from about 19 organisations were part of the Inaugural Disability Rights Parliament on Wednesday, which debated the measures of improving the lives of people with disabilities based on access to education, health and other facilities.

At the end of the debate, a declaration was adopted and will be handed over to the leader of government business, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, for consideration and to ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani so that the report can be drafted into Parliament’s order paper for it to be debated during a formal sitting of the National Assembly. – SAnews.gov.za