Presidency Embraces International Theme of E-Accessibility for Disabled People

Cape Times (South Africa), December 5, 2006 | Go to article overview

Presidency Embraces International Theme of E-Accessibility for Disabled People


This is an edited version of a speech given by Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad in Durban to mark International Day of Disabled Persons on Sunday.

December 3 has been proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Day of Disabled Persons (IDDP). Our country decided to join the family of nations by also observing and celebrating this day as the national day of persons with disabilities.

The presidency regards the IDDP as a very important event as it takes place within the Disability Awareness Month and 16 Days of Activism on No Violence against Women and Children and because it is important in its own right.

Government recognises this process as a consultative mechanism in order to determine the impact of policy implementation and service delivery to people with disabilities.

The theme that has been identified for 2006 is empowering persons with disabilities through equal opportunities and e-accessibility.

This should serve as a gateway to ensure accessibility to people with disabilities to all government programmes, projects and services without discriminating against them.

Of more importance is that e-accessibility should be perceived as a vehicle to skill and empower persons with disabilities and to create opportunities for employment.

E-accessibility is a UN international theme.

The Office of the Status of Disabled Persons (OSDP) will identify 100 private and public companies and verify if their websites are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Government is currently implementing the following programme of action to combat disability:

l Strengthening the disability national machinery so that it is effective in co-ordinating disability programmes;

l Monitoring the implementation of a well co-ordinated disability integrated policy, and measure progress of service delivery against the disability indicators;

l Working on the International Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and the African Decade Programme.

l Increasing awareness of what disability mainstreaming means and how it is to be accomplished.

l Integrating the work of OSDP into the range of activities and programming associated with AsgiSA.

l Strengthening ties with civil society in their respective sectors.

In addition to these programmes government will focus on two main priorities between 2007 and 2009. These are:

l Economic empowerment of persons with disabilities

l Social integration of persons with disabilities and their equal participation in community life.

Government still faces the challenge of meeting the target of employing people with disabilities in the public service. …

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