Rights of Disabled Still Not A Priority
03 December 2014.
As Parliament hosts the inaugural Disability
Rights Parliament, which coincides with United Nations'
International Day of Persons with Disabilities, our Government's
dismal record in terms of radical socio-economic transformation on
behalf of the disabled must be acknowledged.
"The disabled in South Africa still encounter
immense challenges, most of which 20 years into democracy are not truly being
alleviated through Government action or policies," said IFP MP Liezl
van der Merwe.
South Africa is a signatory to the UN Convention
on the Rights of People with Disabilities which compels signatory
countries to protect the rights of its disabled citizens.
"Yet despite this we constantly hear of schools
still being unable to accommodate children with disabilities, and
the lack of capacity to train teachers to assist these children. The
previous department mandated to serve people with disabilities was
inefficient and underperformed. Government seems not to have a
clear-cut, practical plan on how to do deal with issues pertaining
to disability," said van der Merwe.
As we commemorate the International Day of
Persons with Disabilities, the IFP acknowledges that barriers that
segregate, isolate and exclude persons with disabilities have been
challenged, but too many remain.
"Societal and political attitudes need to be
continually challenged in order to remove the remaining barriers
holding back the rights of the disabled," said van der Merwe.
Van der Merwe expressed concern that there seems
to be a lack of political will to join hands in addressing this
"This week's events, organised around the
Disability Rights Parliament, seemingly excluded opposition parties.
Yet this is a national issue which affects citizens across the
board. The IFP believes it will take a shared effort to prioritise
disability rights, and is working hard towards achieving that goal,"
concluded van der Merwe.
Ms Liezl van der Merwe MP, 082 729 2510
IFP Representative on the Portfolio Committee on Social Development