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Limpopo government 'merely paying lip service', failing to meet own disability targets

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Limpopo government 'merely paying lip service', failing to meet own disability targets

19th August 2022

By: News24Wire

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The Limpopo government has come under fire for flouting its own commitment to employing 2% of people living with disabilities in each of the 11 departments in the province.

The quarterly reports for the legislature's standing committee on quality of life, the status of women, children, youth, older persons and people with disabilities show only three of the 11 departments have so far met the target.

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The reports also came under scrutiny in the legislature this week, where it was also shown there was a 39.8% backlog for people living with disabilities to receive assistive devices such as wheelchairs, spectacles, hearing aids and crutches.

It was also found that more than 2 100 people could not access their disability grants.

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The preferential procurement target to economically empower disabled people was set at 7%, but only 0.19% has been achieved so far.

There was a huge vacancy rate at schools for persons with special needs, with 228 positions still to be filled.

Schools also had dilapidated infrastructure. 

The Democratic Alliance in Limpopo has since called on Premier Stan Mathabatha to intervene and insist all backlogs be cleared and targets met "so that persons with disabilities in our province can enjoy an enhanced quality of life".

The party's Katlego Phala said it was sad that disabled people could not access assistive devices, whereas there was underspending on the programme by the Department of Health

"The government is failing vulnerable persons living with disabilities and that this [standing] committee is merely paying lip service to the lack of implementation of programmes," Phala added.

However, provincial government spokesperson Ndavhe Ramakuela said the departments complying with the 2% overall employment target of disabled persons have improved from three, to four.

"The premier has mandated all MECs to ensure compliance to the EE (employment equity) targets and that they should become part of their service level agreements," Ramakuela said. 

Ramakuela added that Mathabatha had established a special programme unit to assist disabled people in accessing economic opportunities.

"Lack of capacity and capital injection to support the sector to access a bigger stake of the provincial spend on goods and services is still a challenge. [The] National Youth Development Agency has been approached through their youth trust to assist young entrepreneurs with disabilities," he said.

On special schools and lack of assistive devices, Ramakuela added that the education department had been allocated funding to fill the 228 posts.

"The provisioning of assistive devices involves the assessment of clients, determining the most appropriate assistive device to be provided..." he said.

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