South Africa joins the global community to commemorate Disability Rights Awareness Month (DRAM) from 3 November to 3 December.
Disability is an evolving concept and is the consequence of an impairment that may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental, or some combination of these.
Disability may be present from birth, or occur during a person’s lifetime. It may be permanent, temporary or episodic in nature. The 2023 DRAM theme is “CONSOLIDATE and ACCELERATE RIGHTS of PERSONS with DISABILITIES INTO THE FUTURE”.
This is a testament to the Bill of Rights that confirms that everyone has a right to life, equality and human dignity. “People with disabilities should not be excluded from their constitutional rights due to disability,” said Minister Dlamini Zuma.
The National Disability Rights Policy, namely, the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities aligns with the National Development Plan and the Strategic Priorities of the Sixth Administration in calling for Economic Transformation and Job Creation.
“While people with disabilities continue to be unemployed and underemployed, it remains important to promote and support the empowerment of persons with disabilities to reduce economic vulnerability”, said Minister Dlamini Zuma.
The DWYPD has presented to cabinet on the sixth annual progress report on the implementation of the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities calling for an increase of the 2% minimum employment equity target to 3% for persons with disabilities for the 2024-2025 financial year, towards the progressive realisation of the minimum 7% employment equity target for persons with disabilities by 2030.
Cabinet approved the latter and departments are encouraged to urgently implement measures to recruit persons with disabilities, including headhunting. The 2023 DRAM makes a clarion call by emphasising the urgency of the implementation of reducing economic vulnerability, releasing human capital and supporting sustainable integrated community life.
“Commemorating Disability Awareness Month offers an opportunity for all of us to remove social barriers and perceptions while improving the quality of life of people with disabilities through concrete action of Empowering Persons with Disabilities through Resourceful, Sustainable and Safe Environments”, added Minister Dlamini Zuma.
Minister Dlamini Zuma calls on all South Africans, and various organisations, institutions, and individuals to play their part in raising awareness on the need to uphold disability rights throughout the month and beyond.