By Dr Imran Keeka, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Health:
THE DA can today reveal that only two out of eight KZN government departments are in line with a self-imposed target of two percent for the employment and provision of facilities for the disabled.
The figures form the basis of a series of written parliamentary questions from the DA to all 14 provincial government departments. Six departments failed to answer questions despite a two week parliamentary rule.
According to the replies received, only the province’s Human Settlements and Arts and Culture departments currently meet equity targets while KZN’s Office of the Premier, Education, Health, EDTEA, Finance and Public Works departments do not.
Further scrutiny also shows that only two disabled people are employed in senior management positions across all eight departments. Meanwhile, the replies also indicate that 70% of buildings utilised by KZN’s Health department are currently not accessible to people with disabilities.
The information comes to light as KZN’s ANC-led provincial government prepares to take Parliament to the Disabled in Ezakheni near Ladysmith this week.
The figures received by the DA are indicative of a government that does not care about the rights of the disabled.
While some departments show some willingness to improve on their equity status, the reality is that without the proper facilities in place, initiatives cannot be rolled out.
Critical to resolving this stale mate is KZN’s Public Works department which is responsible for the provision and maintenance of provincial government buildings. Yet it appears that there is little or no inter-department cohesion on this urgent matter.
The issue of non-compliance around disability targets has been ongoing for years.
In April 2012 national government stated publically that it was committed to attaining a two percent representation by 2015. This after the DA called on the Human Rights Commission to probe departments’ alleged failure to protect the rights of people with disabilities.
The DA in KZN regards this week’s Taking the Legislature to the Disabled as nothing more than a window-dressing exercise orchestrated by the ANC-led provincial government.
Instead of the usual self-congratulatory theme, we expect the ANC-led cabinet to account to the many disabled members of society who will attend by explaining these damning statistics.
We expect the leadership of KZN to admit that they are failing the disabled and treating these men and women as second class citizens.
Most importantly – we expect a report back by cabinet on how it will begin changing the current situation and start offering the disabled the opportunities they too deserve.