Ongoing need to support disabled

Marlene le Roux, Artscape chief executive officer

Dear Mr President,

Acknowledging your past commitment to implementing constructive policy measures, I would like to call your attention to the ongoing need to also recognise and include support for persons with disabilities in South Africa as part of transformation.

While your February 9, 2023 presidential address at the opening of Parliament covered a number of key themes, including how government will assist youth to access work opportunities, we were very disappointed that you did not once mention how government will directly implement existing policies designed to support persons with disabilities.

For example, since youth with disabilities need accessible transport, companies should be given a fund that allows them to assist youth with transport and assertive devices.

While we have suggested similar strategies in the past, our calls have been largely ignored through the absence of budget allocations to address the needs of persons with disabilities.

Your office urges all stakeholders, including organisations and institutions, to participate, however, you have not responded to the needs of persons with disabilities, which represent 7.5% of the nation’s population, roughly equivalent to the population of Greater Cape Town.

This inability to democratically involve a significant community in the implementation of solution strategies (e.g. through ongoing programme and budget allocations) places the livelihood and health of persons with disabilities in peril, particularly in this period of energy instability.

It is essential that in this time of crisis, we continue to reach out to all vulnerable persons with little or no access to services, and effectively provide them with vital resources and services for their survival.

Many persons with disabilities and their parents are less fortunate and have limited access to the basic services enjoyed by many residents.

When will we proactively place emphasis on the budget needs central to the ongoing well-being of persons with disabilities?

I request that we act to place greater priority on persons with disabilities.

A sustainable future is not only dependent on a cleaner environment and healthy economy, but also on greater equity.

Our actions must benefit all.

Thank you for your time and attention.