NOTES TO THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEEON PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 12 March 2013
CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES • Purpose of Convention Article 1: “... to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.” • Ratification by South Africa Signed Convention and Protocol on 30 March 2007; Ratified Convention and Protocol on 30 November 2007. • Reporting Obligations • The Convention entered into force on 3 May 2008. • Submission of comprehensive baseline Country Report within two years after the entry into force, i.e. was due by 3 May 2010. • Subsequent reports at least every four years, i.e. First Periodic Report will be due by May 2014.
CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES • Cabinet released draft Report for public comment on 21 November 2012 • Period for commenting closed on 25 January 2013 • 54 submissions were considered to enrich the final draft • Professional editing of final draft was done • Final draft has been submitted to Cabinet Secretariat for considering by a Joint Cabinet Cluster Sitting and subsequently approval by Cabinet for depositing to the United Nations
SELF REPRESENTATION • Political self-representation by people with disabilities, with 16 MPs (including 1 Deputy Minister), 8 MPLs (including 3 MECs) and 72 councillors. • Persons with disabilities represent the interests of the disability sector on a number of other public institutions such as the SA Human Rights Commission, the Commission on Gender Equality, the National Youth Development Agency, the Public Service Commission, the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), the National Lotteries Board and its Distributing Agencies, the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the Commission on Employment Equity, the National Development Agency, the Pan South African Language Board, the National Skills Authority and the South African National Aids Council (SANAC).
Removing barriers through Reasonable Accommodation Measures • Indigent students at institutions of higher education have access to reasonable accommodation grants to acquire assistive devices and support. • Taxpayers are able to claim tax benefits for all disability-related costs. • Reasonable accommodation measures (including the braille-based universal ballot template) during elections. • Accessibility of bank notes for people with visual impairment. • Service Delivery Models of Excellence have been developed in the NGO sector, often with public sector financial support, e.g. Medunsa Organisation of Disabled Entrepreneurs, the Cape Mental Health Society’s Sexual Assault Victim Empowerment (‘SAVE’) programme, Athena Private FETs College learnership programme for young people with disabilities.
EDUCATION AND SPORT • The number of schools participating in mass-based school sport increased from 74 (2009/10) to 268 (2011/12). • 307 young athletes with disabilities have received scientific sport support services since 2009. • As a result, South Africa is one of the top performers at the Paralympics and Special Olympic Games. • 94% of 7 to 15 year old of children with disabilities attended an educational institution in 2010, against 73% in 2002.
HOUSEHOLD INCOME AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT • New appointments of people with disabilities within the public sector constituted 3,9% of all vacancies filled in 2011/12. • 293 protective workshops received subsidies in 2012, compared to 260 in 2010. • More than a million South Africans with disabilities access monthly disability grants; • 114,993 children with severe disabilities access care dependency grants, constituting a 44% growth since 1996/97. • 536,747 persons accessed a grant-in aid 2011/12, constituting a 95% growth since 2008/9. • 129,121 adults with disabilities enrolled in adult literacy programmes between 2008 and 2011. • 54% of young people with disabilities enrolled in learnershipprogrammes between 2008-2011 successfully completed their learnerships, with 46% gaining employment after the completion of their learnerships.
LESSONS LEARNT Weaknesses: • Government institutions in general do not respect deadlines and therefore compromise compliance with international deadlines for submission of reports; • High turnover of staff and lack of knowledge management systems compromise content of reporting; • Very few government institutions internalised and domesticated the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities post-ratification despite extension awareness raising DWCPD Response: • Strengthen on-going monitoring and evaluation (Disability Rights M&E Strategy finalised; disability rights indicators currently being consulted) • Obtain Cabinet approval for process plans of Country Reporting • Utilise reporting process to anchor action (targets, budgets, integrated service delivery) by government institutions
CONCLUSION The mandate of the DWCPD is to to promote, facilitate, coordinate and monitor the realisation of the rights and empowerment of women, children and people with disabilities. Ensure equity and access to development opportunities for the vulnerable groups in our society. Monitorother government departments to ensure the mainstreaming of gender, children’s rights and disability considerations into all programmes of government and other sectors. Monitor the extent to which the social and economic circumstances of women, children and people with disabilities are significantly improved. Integrate equality and equity measures into government’s programmes of action to ensure that women, children and persons with disabilities can access developmental opportunities.
Working together we can do more to remove barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all.