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Job opportunities, funding and exclusion among challenges faced by people with disabilities

13 December 2022

Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

By Naledi Ngcobo

People with disabilities still face barriers when attempting to access economic opportunities and employment in South Africa. Research conducted by government indicates that women, the elderly and children with disabilities are more vulnerable to exclusion, poverty and discrimination.

In response, government is hosting the two-day Summit on Economic Empowerment for People with Disabilities in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg.

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Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana Mashabane says her department is mandated to develop an integrated economic strategy to empower and enable persons with disabilities to participate in the economy.

Mashabane says government must work closely with civil society, trade unions and the disability sector to eradicate poverty and promote economic inclusivity for people with disabilities.

“We want to amplify the call for increased access to resources and finance opportunities for persons with disabilities.  We want to increase awareness of products and services and institutions available for persons with disabilities.  We want to promote forums and discussions to cover areas of interest including employment and education opportunities infrastructure development, increased service delivery and access to technology.”

2030 National Development Plan

Chief Director at the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Prince Boy says government will continue to monitor the implementation of Employment Equity targets and goals set by the 2030 National Development Plan which intends to incorporate disability into every aspect of planning and development.

“The target in as far as employment for persons with disabilities as the current status is 7%, and as we move towards 2030 with increment to 10%.  The other important target it’s in as far as ensuring that persons with disabilities, those who are in business benefit from the preferential procurement dispensation in terms of having opportunities set aside for them and the current target is 5%”

Acting National Chairperson of Deafblind SA, Tracy Smith says the barriers preventing the employment of disabled people such as discrimination remain despite the targets imposed by the Broad Based-Black Economic Empowerment Act.

“I think lots of it stems from ignorance, lack of knowledge and prejudice.  South Africa’s strict labour laws does not encourage entrepreneurial employment opportunities for disabled people.  Why are disabled people excluded? Its discriminatory attitudes and practices.  But I think lots of times if you apply for jobs people just look at your disability and assume that you can’t do the work.”

Source: SABC News

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