Disabled must participate in the economy


The Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad says South Africans need serious discussions on ensuring that the benefits of broad based economic empowerment reach people with disabilities.

Minister Pahad said this required an urgent convention involving all stakeholders to help map out a plan on how those with disabilities could participate in the economy.

Dr Pahad was speaking at the launch of the Disability Awareness Month in Alexandra. As the minister in the Presidency, Dr Pahad is also responsible for dealing with issues of disabilities and the development of people with disabilities.

The minister said he would hold discussions with the Office on the Status of the Disabled Persons (0SDP) to work out a detailed plan on how to approach such a convention.

"We need to see what we can do to look at these issues in a more critical manner... we need to take stock and say having had relative achievements over the past ten years, how do we then move forward on the issue of people with disabilities," noted the minister.

Minister Pahad added that he had held discussions with Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana and Zola Skweyiya of Social Development on the matter.

He said participating in the mainstream economy would allow disabled people to start their own enterprises and become independent.

Minister Pahad urged organisations dealing with the issues of disability to assist government in ensuring more disabled people accessed support grants and curbed fraud in the grant system.

Dr Pahad warned that the fraudsters were not only "cheating government" but were also depriving deserving people the grants that were needed for survival.

The minister also visited Plasto-Tech in Wynberg, a street across from Alexandra, to see the company's facilities and products. Plasto-Tech trades in plastics and employs people with disabilities.