DISABLED PEOPLE OF SOUTH AFRICA
COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM VOTE 22
DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR ESTIMATE 1998/1999
BRIEF BACKGROUND OF ORGANISATION
DPSA is internationally recognized as the national assembly of people with disabilities in South Africa. We directly represent 15 000 people with disabilities, the majority of whom live in rural and disadvantaged areas.
DPSA has offices in seven of the nine provinces in the country except for the Northern Cap and North West where groupings of people with disabilities has been mobilized but provincial offices to support their work has not yet been established. The slogan of the organization is "Nothing about us with out us"
ACHIEVEMENTS WITHIN THE DISABILITY SECTOR
As a direct result of DPSA's advocacy, South Africa has changed it's perception of disability from an out-dated charity/welfare perspective to one which recognizes our rights and the contribution which people with disabilities can make within society.
Discrimination against people on the ground of disability is now outlawed by the South African constitution.
Disabled People are directly represented in Parliament, in the Human Rights Commission, the Youth Commission and the Commission on Gender Equality as well as other structures such as National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) and the National Training Board.
Disability is targeted by the Reconstruction and Development Programme and there is an Office on the Status of Disabled Persons in the Office of the Executive Deputy President.
On the 3 December 1997, the White Paper on an Integrated National Disability Strategy was launched in Pretoria.
DPSA has made submissions to various policy documents passed by the Department of Labour e.g. The Green Paper on the Skills Development Strategy for Economic and Employment Growth in South Africa, the Employment Equity Bill and the Labour Relations Act.
All the above submissions outlines the need for an inter-sectorial approach to disability and understanding that there are different disabilities and therefore different interventions would apply.
Last but not least, that without financial commitment from government, all the recommendations outlined in these submissions will become but another wish list for the disability sector which consists of almost 13% of the South African population.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND COMMENTS ON THE BUDGET
Sheltered employment and protective workshops for people with disabilities be regarded as a "stop over" where people with disabilities can receive the necessary skills to enter into the open labour market.
The budget should consider at least a 13% allocation towards capacity building programmes for people with disabilities.
The decrease in the allocation to SPECIAL EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMMES - TARGET GROUPS can be seen as a positive in the light of the department's commitment to reprioritizing it's approach to disability, but however it can be negative if there is no plan in place to address "the how" in reprioritizing this approach to facilitating empowerment for people with disabilities.
The budget should also make provision for an educational programme on "Disability Awareness" as part of the allocation for Human Resource Development to ensure that the staff of the Department of Labour has the necessary "know how" when working with people with disabilities.
DPSA would like to thank the Portfolio Committee on Labour for this opportunity in making this presentation.
We would however like to appeal to the committee to take the above recommendations into consideration when passing the final vote on the budget.
Submissions made on previous policy documents are available on request.