According to STATSSA the national disability prevalence rate is 7,5% in South Africa. Disability is more prevalent among females compared to males (8,3% and 6,5% respectively). There is also a higher prevalence of disability as people age. More than half (53,2%) of persons aged 85+ are reported as having a disability.

In the past year, we have noted with great concern, as our country grapples socio-economic challenges, as we face rising youth unemployment and increased marginalization of vulnerable groups and persons with disabilities. The effects these socio-economic trends have are felt in a variety of spheres, however with serious consequences for most of our citizens and persons with disabilities.

Our constitution and our government adopted a developmental approach to disability, based on the social model of disability. To this end, economic empowerment of disabled people is not only a priority of disabled people organizations, but it is a priority for every role player or driver of our socio-economic agenda.

Persons with disabilities, particularly women with disabilities, are less likely to be employed than persons without disabilities. Decent work and employment are essential for the well-being and dignity of all, including persons with disabilities. We are happy that we are experiencing some improvements from our provincial legislature as they seek accountability from all departments and we have seen the Office of the Premier and the Department of Public Works heading this call by ring-fencing certain positions to be applied for only by persons with disabilities.

However, for those who are employed, reasonable accommodation, including assistive technology, is often missing at the workplace and one of the main challenges for persons with disabilities in finding jobs has been the lack of private sector involvement.

I am most grateful to the board of trustees, the previous and the current under the leadership of Ms Sebenzile Matsebula We are indebted to our partners, National Lotteries Commission (NLC), BTKM Quantity Surveyors, ENGEN, EC Department of Education, Office of the Premier, Department of Women Youth and Persons with Disabilities, TETA and our main partner Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism for their support (DEDEAT). We have committed ourselves to take this journey with pride, commitment, and courage.  

Thabiso Phetuka 

 Chief Executive Officer