One year left to meet employment target for disabled

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pretoria - The Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities has given private and public institutions one more year to meet the two percent employment target for people with disabilities.

Minister Lulu Xingwana said the department remained impatient with the failure by both private and public institutions in meeting the two percent employment target, which all government departments are supposed to meet.

The deadline has now been extended to March 2013.

The country is currently at one percent, in both government and the private sector.

"As partners committed to equality, equity and social justice, we will therefore monitor equal access to all services and opportunities and ensure that all departments attain the two percent equity target on people with disabilities," Xingwana said.

The minister was briefing the media in Pretoria on Tuesday following a call by the Democratic Alliance to the Human Rights Commission to probe the department's alleged failure to protect the rights of people with disabilities.

Xingwana said the department had not under any circumstances failed the country's women, children and people with disabilities.

She explained that the mandate of the department was to promote, facilitate, coordinate and monitor the realisation of the rights of the vulnerable groups, a mandate which is achieved through advocacy and mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation and institutional support and capacity building programmes.

"We are the first country to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, the only country in Africa that has social security grants for people with disabilities, orphaned and fostered children and the elderly.

"Our agenda to promote the rights of people with disabilities is further advanced through [the] coordination of National Awareness Campaign on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by strengthening the development of disability awareness campaigns, mainstreaming disability into all the national commemorative days, and consolidating the activities of Disability Months across all three spheres of government," Xingwana explained.

While acknowledging that there were challenges, Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu said there had been a lot of movement in the disability rights.

"We are currently finalising the development of a disabled unit and through skills development, more than 7 000 disabled people graduated."