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Employment programme for disabled people launched

11 September 2023

From the Right: MEC of Education, Fundile Gade, MEC of Social Development, Bukiwe Fanta , The Premier EC, Oscar Mabuyane, DeafSA EC Chairperson,Khumbulani Butana, DEET Trustee, Bongiwe Malope (on wheelchair), DEET CEO, Thabiso Phetuka, Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality Executive Mayor, Princess Faku and MEC for Treasury, Economic Development Environmental AffairsΒ andΒ Tourism, Mlungisi Mvoko

By SIPHOSETHU NGCANGISA

5 September,2023. -The Eastern Cape government along with the Disability Eco- nomic Empowerment Trust (DEET) have launched a public employment programme for disabled people.

At the launch of the programme at the East London International Conventional Centre, Premier Oscar Mabuyane said its main aim was to celebrate and acknowledge the progress made by the government and other stakeholders in including people with disabilities.

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“The government is doing a lot to pursue the transformation agenda to allow people with disabilities to be included in the life of society in general,” he said.

All government buildings were user-friendly and able to cater for disabled people.

“Some of them are old buildings but we are converting them to make sure we have an all-inclusive approach,” Mabuyane said.

The Premier added that disabled people were part of society and needed to live like everyone else.

“Our [job] is to remove those barriers for people with disabilities… those who cannot walk must be provided with wheelchairs to move around. In so doing, we have removed a disability.”

Six departments in the provincial administration had already met their targets in terms of people with disabilities and the province was looking for more.

“We cannot have young, educated people with disabilities who are unable to get access to employment opportunities, at least in the public sector.

“The laws of this country compel us to do that. As the office of the premier, we are championing that and all our municipal offices will be fully compliant.”

The CEO of the trust, Thabiso Phetuka, said the programme’s main goal was to empower marginalised and excluded disabled people.

The programme includes driver training, which provides free driving lessons, and to date has produced more than 300 professional drivers.

Most of those taking part in the learnership programme come from special schools and 90% of them were told that they were not academically fit.

“For instance, one of our drivers in the driver training programme was told by mainstream schools she did not belong there because she was a slow learner, but she obtained her learner’s and driver’s licence on her first at- tempt,” Phetuka said

Another venture is the skills development programme, in partnership with various stakeholders, that has trained more than 2,000 people and also offers workplace support.

“We have proven that these children are ready to learn and can still go through formal education and live independently.”

Mzoxolo Nokwekekwana, 34, one of the DEET students in the supply chain, said he had been paralysed since 2005 and had lost all hope.

“I stayed indoors and did not want to be around people at all until someone told me about the DEET programme which approved me,” Nokwekekwana said.

“I then met a lot of people I could relate to and now I am optimistic that I too will be employed.”

He said Tuesday was the first time he had attended an event in the same room as renowned people, and the day had surpassed his expectations.

Source: Daily Dispatch

 

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