Your attitude ��

is it a barrier?




      FINAL DRAFT (un-edited)

      13 February 2013 





      ACSA Airports Company of South Africa
      CBR Community Based Rehabilitation
      CGE Commission on Gender Equality
      CRPD Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
      CWP Community Works Programme
      DBE Department of Basic Education
      DEAFSA Deaf Federation of South Africa
      DHET Department of Higher Education and Training
      DICAG Disabled Children Action Group
      DOT Department of Transport
      DPO Organisation of Persons with Disabilities
      DPSA Disabled People South Africa
      DPW Department of Public Works
      DRPI Disability Rights Promotion International
      DWCPD Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities
      ECA Electronic Communications Act, 2005
      EPWP Expanded Public Works Programme
      FOTIM Foundation of Tertiary Institutions of the Northern Metropolis
      GCIS Government Communications and Information System
      GHS General Household Survey
      HEDSA Higher Education Disability South Africa
      HSRC Human Sciences Research Council
      ICASA Independent Communications Authority of South Africa
      ICT Information and Communications Technology
      IEC Independent Electoral Commission
      INDS Integrated National Disability Strategy
      MDGs Millennium Development Goals
      MODE Medunsa Organisation of Disabled Entrepreneurs
      MQA Mining Qualifications Authority
      NCPPDSA National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa
      NDM National Disability Machinery
      NDP National Development Plan, 2012
      NEDLAC National Economic Development and Labour Council
      NGO Non-Governmental Organisation
      NSFAS National Student Finance Scheme
      OSDP Office of the Status of Disabled Persons
      PACSEN Parents for Children with Special Educational Needs
      PAU Personal Assistance Unit
      PFMA Public Finance Management Act
      PRASA Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa
      PSC Public Service Commission
      SABC South African Broadcasting Corporation
      SABS South African Bureau of Standards
      SADA South African Disability Alliance
      SADDT South African Disability Development Trust
      SAHRC South African Human Rights Commission
      SANAC South African National Aids Council
      SANCB South African National Council for the Blind
      SAPS South African Police Services
      SASL South African Sign Language
      SASSA South African Social Security Agency
      SIAS National Strategy on Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support
      SRSA Sport Recreation South Africa
      StatsSA Statistics South Africa
      UBT Universal Ballot Template
      WSU Walter Sisulu University



      1. A lack of adequate, reliable, relevant and recent information on the nature and prevalence of disability in South Africa remains a challenge.  The last national census was conducted in 2011.  Annual general household surveys and the more elaborate community survey, conducted in 2007, are sample surveys, and usage of the disability data emanating from these surveys should therefore be treated with some circumspection.
      2. Statistics South Africa collected data on disability status in the population Censuses of 1996 and 2001 and in the large scale community survey, conducted in February of 2007, using similar questions. In the three data points, measurement of disability was based on the definition from the 1980 WHO International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps (ICIDH); which defined it as a physical or mental handicap which has lasted for six months or more, or is expected to last at least six months, which prevents the person from carrying out daily activities independently, or from participating fully in educational, economic or social activities.
      3. Two studies were conducted in preparation for Census 2011, to test the applicability of the Washington Group disability questions in South Africa:
        • Testing a disability schedule for Census 2011; outsourced to Human Science Research Council (2007). This was a qualitative research where 26 focus group discussions were held nationwide.
        • Census content research study on disability schedule (2006), conducted by Research and Methodology component in Stats SA. The survey constituted 6 000 households.
      1. Results from both studies showed that use of Washington Group questions led to much higher disability estimates compared to the traditional questions of ��Do you have any serious disability that prevents your full participation in life activities?��
      1. In both studies, the term ��difficulty�� instead of ��disabled�� seemed to be more acceptable among persons with impairments that do not prevent them from participating in life activities. Some people did not want to identify themselves as being disabled if the question was addressed as ��are you/is your child disabled��. Both studies recommended use of Washington Group questions for Census 2011.
      2. As a result of changes in the approach of asking disability questions the Census 2011 data are not comparable with previous Censuses. In addition, it should be noted that the population sizes used in the 2011 General Household Survey (GHS) and Census 2011 will differ. Population figures used by the GHS are based on pre-census 2011 mid-year population estimates. Populations used in sample surveys will be re-weighted towards the middle of the 2013 based on modified mid-year population estimates that include the results of Census 2011. Although percentage estimates remain comparable, absolute numbers might not be.

        2011 National Census

      1. Questions on disability were replaced by general health and functioning questions, and due to a change in the questions, 2011 results are not comparable with previous Censuses 1996 and 2001.  The question on health and functioning was phrased as: 

        Does (name) have difficulty in the following:

          A = Seeing even when using eye glasses?

          B = Hearing even when using a hearing aid?

          C = Communicating in his/her language (i.e. understanding others or being understood by others?) 
          D = Walking or climbing stairs?

          E = Remembering or concentrating?

          F = With self-care such as washing all over, dressing or feeding?

          1 = No difficulty

          2 = Some difficulty

          3 = A lot of difficulty

          4 = Cannot do at all

          5 = Do not know

          6 = Cannot be determined 

          1. Disability was defined as ��Difficulties encountered in functioning due to body impairments or activity limitation, with or without assistive devices��, and chronic medication was included under assistive devices.  The definition used therefore does not comply with either the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by South African in 2007, or the White Paper on an Integrated National Disability Strategy.
          2. Due to misreporting on general health and functioning questions for children younger than five years, data on this variable are only profiled for persons five years and older.
          3. 2011 Census results indicate that most people (more than 90%) had no difficulty or limitation that prevented them from carrying out certain functions at the time of the Census.  It should however be noted that the question range does not provide evidence with regards difficulties being experiences as a result of psycho-social, neurological and/or emotional impairments.  This gives a disability prevalence of 10.3% (5,334,905) for South Africa.
          4. Percentage distribution of population aged 5 years and older by type and degree of impairment:
            1. Seeing impairments: 
              • 0,2% could not see at all;
              • 1,5% experienced a lot of difficulty seeing;
              • 9,4% experienced some difficulty seeing;
              • 88,9% experienced no difficulty at all.
            1. Hearing impairments: 
              • 0,1% could not hear at all;
              • 0,5% experienced a lot of difficulty;
              • 2,9% experienced some difficulty;
              • 96,4% experienced no difficulty at all.
            2. Communication impairments:
              • 0,2% were unable to communicate at all;
              • 0,3% experienced a lot of difficulty communicating;
              • 1,1% experienced some difficulty;
              • 98,5% experienced no difficulty at all.
            3. Walking or Climbing Stairs
              • 0,2% could not walk/climb stairs at all;
              • 0,7% experienced a lot of difficulty walking/climbing stairs;
              • 2,6% experienced minor difficulty;
              • 96,5% experienced no difficulty at all.
            4. Remembering/Concentrating
              • 0,2% reported no ability to remember or concentrate;
              • 0,9% experienced a lot of difficulty;
              • 3,3% experienced minor difficulty;
              • 95,7% experienced no difficulty at all.
            5. Self Care
              • 0,8% reported no ability to care for themselves;
              • 0,6% experienced a lot of difficulty;
              • 2% experienced minor difficulty;
              • 96,6% experienced no difficulty at all.
          1. Statistics South Africa will conduct additional surveys during the course of year 2013 to address the unreliability of the responses for the 0-5 years age groups
          2. In addition to the question on general health and functioning, a question was included in the Census to measure to what extent does the population access assistive devices to execute certain functions.  However, due to poor response to this question, only persons aged 5 years and older are profiled. It should be noted that this question was not limited to persons that indicated that they have difficulties.

            Does (name) use any of the following?

              A = Eye glasses?

              B = Hearing aid?

              C = Walking stick or frame?

              D = Wheelchair?

              E = Chronic medication?  

              1 = Yes

              2 = No

              3 = Do not know 

                It should be noted that this question was not limited to persons that indicated that they have difficulties. However, due to poor response to this question, only persons aged 5 years and older are profiled

                  • 14% indicated that they wear spectacles (eye glasses);
                  • 3,2% reported that they use a walking stick or frame;
                  • 2,8% reported using a hearing aid(s);
                  • 2,3% reported making use of a wheelchair.


                2011 General Household Survey

              1. The questions used on Impairment were developed by the Washington Group and was first introduced in the 2009 General Household Survey questionnaire, and were also used in the 2011 National Census. 
              2. These questions require each person in the household to rate their ability level for a range of activities such as seeing, hearing, walking a kilometre or climbing a flight of steps, remembering and concentrating, self-care, and communicating in his/her most commonly used language, including sign language. During the analysis, individuals who said that they had some difficulty with two or more of the activities or had a lot of difficulty/were unable to perform any one activity, are then ranked as disabled. The analysis was confined to individuals aged 5 years or older as children below the age of five years are often mistakenly categorised as being unable to walk, remember, communicate or care for themselves when it is due to their level of development rather than any innate disabilities they might have.
              3. Using this classification system, 5,2% of South Africans aged 5 years and older were classified as disabled. Women (5,4%) were slightly more likely to be disabled than men (5,0%). Northern Cape (10,2%), North West (7,7%) and Free State (6,7%) presented the highest rates of disability in the country.
              4. No clear patterns emerge when the findings are compared to the results from 2009 and 2010. While nationally, the percentage of disabled individuals over the age of four years increased from 5,7% in 2009 to 6,3% in 2010, before declining again to 5,2% in 2011; different provincial patterns emerge. The Impairment question used before 2009 shows similar provincial variations over time. This continued variation makes it very difficult to identify enduring patterns and inter-provincial differences, thus making an analysis of possible reasons impossible.
              5. Based on the sample of the 2011 General Household Survey, of the total of 45,345,000 South Africans aged five years and older who reported some degree of impairment/difficulty with carrying out activities:
              • 3,001,000 had sight impairments;
              • 840,000 had hearing impairments;
              • 1,028,000 experienced difficulty walking;
              • 1,107,000 reported challenges remembering and concentrating;
              • 1,564,000 reported challenges with self-care; and
              • 364,000 experienced difficulties with communication.
              • 4,271,000 made use of spectacles/contact lenses;
              • 110,000 used hearing aids;
              • 347,000 made use of walking sticks/walking frames;
              • 83,000 used wheelchairs; and
              • 24,000 used other assistive devices


                2001 Census Data

              1. In Census 2001, disability was measured based on impairment and severity as indicated in the census question: 

                ��Does (the person) have any serious disability that prevents his/her full participation in life activities such as education, work, social life)?��

                0 = None

                1 = Sight (blind/severe visual limitation)

                2 = Hearing (deaf, profoundly hard of hearing)

                3 = Communication (speech impairment)

                  4= Physical (e.g. needs wheelchair, crutches or prosthesis, limb hand usage limitations)

                5 = Intellectual (serious difficulties in learning)

                6 = Emotional (behavioural, psychological) 

              1. Based on this question, there were approximately 2.3 million people (estimated at 5% of the total population) reported to have an impairment that significantly hindered their full participation in life activities such as socialising, education and work. 
              2. According to  Census 2001, the prevalence of impairment according to race group was:
              • African: 1 854 376 5.2%
              • White: 191 693  4.5%
              • Coloured: 168 678  4.2%
              • Indian: 41 235   3.7%
              1. The table below shows the prevalence of impairment in South Africa. 
                • Visual Impairment:  577 000         1.3%
                • Physical Impairment:  558 000         1.2%
                • Hearing Impairment:  314 000         0.7%
                • Emotional Impairment:  269 000         0.6%
                • Intellectual Impairment:  206 000         0.5%
                • Communication Impairment:  75 000           0.2%
              • Multiple Impairments:  257 000         0.6%
              1. Statistics South Africa will conduct additional surveys early in 2013 to address the unreliability of the responses for the 0-5 years age group due to the nature of the disability-related questions.



              1. The 1994 elections heralded in a new era of a South African society built on the principles of non-discrimination, democracy and equality for all South Africans, including persons with disabilities.  The African National Congress, whilst preparing to govern, held extensive consultations with the national Disability Rights Movement, represented by Disabled People South Africa, to determine the approach the incoming government should take towards the protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities.  Consensus was reached that the principles of self-representation of persons with disabilities in all matters affecting their lives, as well as that of mainstreaming disability considerations across the government machinery, was non-negotiable.  This consensus translated into, among others,  
                1. the establishment of the Disability Programme in the former Reconstruction and Development Programme in the Presidency in 1995, evolving into the Office on the Status of Disabled Persons established in 1997 in the Presidency, and eventually into the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, established in 2009;
                2. self-representation by persons with disabilities in Parliament, provincial legislatures, municipal Councils, human rights instruments such as the SA Human Rights Commission, the Commission on Gender Equality, the Public Service Commission, as well as development agencies such as the then National Youth Commission, later restructured into the National Youth Development Agency, as well as the Office on the Status of Disabled Persons established in the Presidency and the majority of provinces, among others;
                3. the release of the White Paper on an Integrated National Disability Strategy (INDS) in 1997, which was developed through a widely consulted process utilising the UN Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities as well as the South Africa Disability Rights Charter.  The INDS provided guidance for the mainstreaming of disability considerations across all government departments as the legislative and policy reform in the newly established democratic South Africa took off.
              2. South Africa, as such became a leading force in the campaign for, and eventual development of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which, in its final format, embodies the principles of the South African process embarked upon in 1994 to advance the progressive realisation of the rights of persons with disabilities as equal citizens. Implementation of the CRPD therefore in a way commenced in 1994 in South Africa, and not in 2007 when the Convention was officially ratified by South Africa or in May 2008 when it came into force.


              1. The inter-sectionality between disability and poverty is articulated in South Africa��s National Development Plan (NDP) adopted in 2012, which states that:

                ��Disability and poverty operate in a vicious circle. Disability often leads to poverty and poverty, in turn, often results in disability. People with disabilities face multiple discriminatory barriers. Disability must be integrated into all facets of planning, recognising that there is no one-size-fits-all approach��.

              1. Impoverished families for example find it difficult or impossible to ensure adequate education and healthcare for children and adults with disabilities.
              2. The NDP acknowledges that many persons with disabilities are not able to develop to their full potential due to a number of barriers that should be addressed:
                • Physical barriers, which may prevent persons with disabilities from accessing educational facilities.
                • Information barriers, which may leave persons with disabilities without the use of essential educational materials.
                • Communication barriers in educational settings, which may prevent persons with disabilities from accessing information and/or participating fully in the learning experience.
                • Such barriers may also prevent students with disabilities from interacting fully with their peers who do not have disabilities.
                • Attitudinal barriers, which may lead to assumptions about the capabilities of persons with disabilities, and whether it is wise to commit resources to their education. This can lead to people with disabilities receiving substandard education – or even being denied access to education – a problem that especially affects girls and women with disabilities.
              1. The NDP therefore directs that ��persons with disabilities must have enhanced access to quality education and employment. Efforts to ensure relevant and accessible skills development programmes for people with disabilities, coupled with equal opportunities for their productive and gainful employment, must be prioritised��.
              1. It calls for accelerated efforts in integrating issues of disability into all facets of society, ensure equitable service provision for persons with disabilities, and improving the safety of women, children and persons with disabilities, in particular those living in rural areas, which face the highest levels of unemployment and exclusion. The plan attempts to reduce hindrances to inclusion.
              2. It furthermore directs that ��any programme to attain social cohesion in society should narrow the inequality divide between men and women with measures in place to ensure that women, girls, people with disabilities and any other group at risk of discrimination, are able to enjoy their rights enshrined in the Constitution��.

              EXCHANGE RATE

              1. The exchange rate used for purposes of this report is South African Rand (ZAR) 8 = US Dollar (USD) 1 (April 2012 rate).

              REPORTING PERIOD

              1. The First Country Report covers the period May 2008 to March 2012, unless stated differently. 



              1. The South African Government remains committed to implementing the outcomes of the relevant United Nations conferences, summits and reviews.   
              2. South Africa participated in the first five Conferences of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  Participation in the conferences received high-level political support, and was led by the respective Deputy Ministers and/or Ministers for Women, Children and People with Disabilities in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
              3. Progress in mainstreaming disability considerations into the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through disaggregated data collection following the discussions at the second Conference of States Parties, has to date been slow, and remains a priority on the national disability rights agenda. 
              4. This baseline country report incorporates and consolidates all relevant recommendations that have been made by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to the public sector as it affects persons with disabilities.

              Consultative Process followed

              1. This report was drafted over a period of just over three (3) years.  Finalisation was delayed due to the changes in organisational arrangements with the transition from the Office on the Status of Disabled Persons in the Presidency to the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, which impacted negatively on government��s capacity in the short term to finalise and deposit the First Country Report on the CRPD within two years post ratification, as required by the Convention.
              2. The drafting process involved, among others
              • all thirty three (33) national government departments (including their state owned enterprises);
              • all nine (9) provincial government administrations;
              • all forty-four (44) district municipalities and eight (8) metropolitan councils;
              • the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC);
              • organisations of and for persons with disabilities, including the South African Disability Alliance (SADA), which comprises representatives from thirteen (13) national affiliated organisations of and for persons with disabilities.
              1. In addition, consideration was also given to the verbal and oral submissions made to the Joint Committee of Parliament by research institutions, organisations for and of persons with disabilities, the South African Human Rights Commission and parents of children with disabilities and persons with disabilities themselves on the implementation of the CRPD during July 2012.  [The debate in both the National Assembly as well as National Council of Provinces, which jointly constitutes Parliament, on the recommendations of the Joint Committee, will furthermore be integrated into the report before consideration by Cabinet].
              1. The draft Report was released for public comment on 25 November 2012, following approval by Cabinet.  The closing date for public comments was 25 January 2013 –
              • It was posted on the Government Website under Documents for Public Comment
              • It was also emailed to a total of 2,190 stakeholders, consisting of:
                • 349 organisations of and for persons with disabilities at national, provincial and local level
                • 288 individuals with disabilities
                • 151 stakeholders attached to institutions of higher education
                • 579 stakeholders working across all national government departments and public entities
                • 229 stakeholders working in provincial government departments across all nine provinces
                • 102 stakeholders at local government level
                • 316 stakeholders in the private sector
                • 70 stakeholders attached to the organised labour sector
                • 106 stakeholders in general Non-Governmental Organisations
              1. A total of 54 submissions were received on the draft Report, comprising:
              • 19 submissions from Civil Society, including 10 submissions from national organisations of and for persons with disabilities;
              • 27 submissions from national and provincial government departments and public entities;
              • 2 submissions from institutions promoting democracy, i.e. the SA Human Rights Commission and the Public Service Commission;
              • 1 submission a from private sector institution involved in disability services delivery;
              • 5 submissions from individuals.
              1. The Government of South Africa acknowledges the valuable contributions made by government institutions across all three spheres of government, as well as organisations of and for persons with disabilities, and will work with these institutions over the next 12 months to strengthen the knowledge management systems required to report accurately and in detail on progress being made with the implementation of the CRPD.
              1. Government recognises the role that the disability sector, and organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) in particular, continue to play in promoting and adopting a rights-based approach for persons with disabilities and their families.  Government acknowledges that capacity and resource constraints limited the extent to which DPOs and disability service organisations were able to participate in the development of the Country Report, and in particular in ensuring that the voices of persons with disabilities living in rural areas, in residential and/or institutional care, persons with psycho-social disabilities, as well as children with disabilities, were heard.
              2. We remain committed to working with the sector in creating a more enabling environment for DPOs to realise their right to self representation, conduct their advocacy work, capacitate their grassroots affiliates and participate in governance processes.




                I. Definition of Disability

              1. The South African government acknowledges the need to repeal of definitions which are based on medical conditions or types of impairments in national legislation, and is cognisant of the fact that the standardisation of the definition of disability is a complex matter.
              2. National legislation regulating, among others, employment equity, social security, the built environment and civil aviation, currently defines disability based on medical conditions and/or impairments.
              3. The country will be embarking on an extensive participatory process over the next 12 months to accelerate the review the White Paper on an Integrated National Disability Strategy and to domesticate the Convention through the development of transversal national disability policy and legislation.  The legislative audit will focus extensively on, among others, the development of a national definition for disability, discrimination on the basis of disability to include denial of reasonable accommodation in line with Article 2.

                II. Implementation of the General Principles and Obligations

              1. The first democratic government of South African took a conscious decision after extensive consultation with the disability sector in general, and the disability rights movement of the country, Disabled People South Africa, in particular, that disability be mainstreamed across all sectors post 1994.  This led to the establishment of the Office on the Status of Disabled Persons in the Presidency as well as the release of the White Paper on an Integrated National Disability Strategy in 1997, which provided guidance to the unfolding legislative and policy reform of the post-Apartheid South Africa.
              2. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, ensures an environment conducive to the full and equal participation of men, women and children with disabilities in society, including equal access to opportunities, accessibility and the protection of the inherent dignity of the person.  Chapter 2 subsection 9 specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability -

                (3) ��The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.

                (4) No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds in terms of subsection (3). National legislation must be enacted to prevent or prohibit unfair discrimination��.

              1. South Africa subsequently passed the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 (PEPUDA).  The Act gives effect to the Bill of Rights which prohibits unfair discrimination.  The Act defines ��discrimination��  as ��any act or omission, including a policy, law, rule, practice, condition or situation which directly or indirectly— (a) imposes burdens, obligations or disadvantage on; or (b) withholds benefits, opportunities or advantages from any person on one or more of the prohibited grounds��.  ��Equality�� as per the definition of the Act includes equality in terms of outcomes.  The South African Law Reform Commission is currently reviewing all legislation against the equality clause in the Constitution.  The Act furthermore, Section 28(1) determines that should it be proven in the prosecution of any offence that unfair discrimination on the grounds of race, gender or disability played a part in the commission of the offence, this must be regarded as an aggravating circumstance for purposes of sentence.
              2. The Employment Equity Act, 1998, defines ��reasonable accommodation�� as ��any modification of adjustment to a job or to the working environment that will enable a person from a designated group to have access to or participate or advance in employment��.  A Code of Good Practice on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities was subsequently released to set standards for the employment of persons with disabilities in the work place, with an accompanying Technical Assistance Guidelines on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities providing more guidance to employers.
              3. The Code of Good Practice defines ��unjustified hardship�� as action that requires significant or considerable difficulty or expense. This involves considering, amongst other things, the ��effectiveness of the accommodation and the extent to which it would seriously disrupt the operations of the business��. To invoke unjustifiable hardship requires an objective process.
              4. The interpretation of, among others, equality and non-discrimination as well as reasonable accommodation has been tested in a number of legal actions, and examples thereof are discussed under the relevant Articles.
              5. South Africa endorses the general obligations stipulated in Article 4, and has progressively been increasing access to free assistive devices, independent living support and communication technologies for indigent persons with disabilities, as well as access to broader socio-economic rights, details of which are provided under relevant Articles in the Report.
              6. As alluded to earlier, the White Paper on an Integrated National Disability Strategy is currently under review with the aim of strengthening, among others, institutional mechanisms, the monitoring and evaluation framework, national priorities and targets for the next 10-15 years, and finally, ensuring full alignment with the CRPD. 
              1. Prioritisation of implementation of CRPD articles
              1. As stated in paragraph 14, the transition from the Office of Disabled Persons, as a programme in The Presidency, and the delays in establishing a fully-fledged new Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities in 2009, a year after the CRPD came into force, had unintended consequences for the coordination and consolidation of a clearly articulated national programme of action to domesticate the CRPD.
              2. Focus therefore fell more on popularising the Convention across government and civil society, without this process converging into a coordinated domestication programme of action with clear targets.
              3. Priority areas for implementation of the CRPD for the period 2009 – 2014 were as such subsumed into the national priorities of government, i.e. education, employment, health, safety and security as well as, to a lesser extent, rural development. 
              4. It is acknowledged that whilst significant time and resources went into raising awareness on the need to prioritise universal access and design, to disaggregate statistics and data collection, to put participatory institutional arrangements in place, to build capacity of both government as well as civil society and to conduct a legislative audit, the awareness created did not necessarily translate into access, partly due to the lack of an effective monitoring and evaluation system to track implementation of the CRPD in the country.
              5. The South African Local Government Association and the then Department of Provincial and Local Government for example released the Disability Framework for Local Government: 2009-2014, aimed at enabling local government and other role-players to mainstream disability considerations in the development programmes of municipalities, but implementation of the Framework has regrettably been lagging behind.
              6. Implementation of the CRPD in rural areas have been particularly lacking due to the compounded impact of harmful traditional beliefs, poverty, low literacy levels and lack of access to the built environment, ICT and transport infrastructure persons with disabilities and their families living in rural areas have to endure on the one hand, and the tendency to prioritise the needs of those most vocal.
              7. The principle of self representation, i.e. the right of persons with disabilities to participate in the development, implementation and evaluation of all legislation and policies through their recognised organisations of persons with disabilities, is well established in South Africa.  Giving meaningful effect to this right across all three spheres of government and across all disability organisations, however remain a challenge due to severe capacity constraints, as well as tensions within the disability sector as to who should represent the voice of persons with disabilities.
              8. The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities is now ready to introduce systems into the government-wide planning, monitoring and evaluation system to fast-track the systematic implementation of the CRPD across all three spheres of government through more focused monitoring, support and coordination. 





                A. ARTICLE 5: Equality and non-discrimination

              1. South Africa pursues a ��substantive�� rather than ��formal�� approach to equality, in other words, where the circumstances of people are taken into account and where the focus is on ensuring equality of outcome. The Constitution requires a focus on substance and on the purpose or effects of rules and conduct and not merely on their form.  The real social and economic circumstances of groups or individuals are taken into consideration when determining whether the constitutional commitment to equality was achieved.
              2. Various measures, over and above those contained in the Constitution and PEPUDA, have been taken to guarantee legal protection against discrimination. Persons with disabilities have been included as a designated group in all affirmative action policies and programmes to redress past discrimination, for example in the White Paper on Affirmative Action in the Public Service, 1998, the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act, 2003 and the Employment Equity Act, 1998. 
              3. The Constitutional Court determined in Prinsloo v Van der Linde & Another 1997(3) SA 1012 CC/1997 (6) BCLR 759 that human dignity constitutes a criterion to determine unfair discrimination. The Court endorses the view that ��[a]t the heart of the prohibition of unfair discrimination lies a recognition that the purpose of our new constitutional and democratic order is the establishment of a society in which all human beings will be accorded equal dignity and respect regardless of their membership of particular groups.��
              4. The importance of human dignity was also emphasised in WH Bosch v The Minister of Safety and Security & Minister of Public Works Case no. 25/2005 (9) when the Equality Court in Port Elizabeth held that ��[t]here is no price that can be attached to dignity or a threat to that dignity. There is no justification for the violation or potential violation of the disabled person��s right to equality and maintenance of his dignity that was tendered or averred by the respondent. �� The court therefore found the discrimination to have been unfair.��
              5. The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 stipulates that all High Courts are Equality Courts. Designation of magisterial courts as Equality Courts by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development is done only once presiding officers and staff for such courts have received appropriate training.  There are currently 386 Equality Courts in South Africa.
              6. Equality Courts in principle should provide easy access to persons who believe they have been discriminated against, on among others, the basis of disability.  It is important to note a complainant only needs to make out a prima facie case of discrimination where-after the burden of proof shifts to the respondent, who must show that such discrimination did not take place, or if it did, that it was not unfair. 
              7. The Willem Hendrik Bosch Court Judgement in 2005 which directed that all police stations be made accessible, and the Esthe Muller out-of-court settlement of 2004 which focused on accessibility of all court buildings, resulted in the creation of a dedicated programme within the Department of Public Works to renovate existing public services buildings.  The SA Human Rights Commission was directed to monitor the accessibility of courts following the out of court settlement.
              8. Similarly, the Equality Court ruled in favour of Lettie Oortman against the St Thomas Aquinas private school in Equality Court Case 1/2010 Lettie Hazel Oortman/St Thomas Aquinas Private School and Bernard Langton, when it directed that not only was the school obliged to re-admit Chelsea Oortman, but that the school had to ��take reasonable steps to remove all obstacles to enable Chelsea to have access to all the class-rooms and the toilet allocated to her by using a wheelchair.��
              9. Another example is the Standard Bank Ltd. v CCMA [2008] 4 BLLR (LR) 356-390 case, where the Bank employee was dismissed after being injured in a car accident. The Bank failed to accommodate the employee which renders dismissal ��automatically unfair��. The Bank had not complied with the Code of Good Practice on Dismissal. The Court noted that the underlying constitutional rights are the right to equality, the right to human dignity, the right to choose an occupation, and the right to a fair labour practice.  Justice Pillay noted that marginalisation of persons with disabilities in a workplace is not because of their ability to work BUT because the disability is seen as an abnormality or flaw; that integration and inclusion in mainstream society aim not only to achieve equality, but also to restore the dignity of persons with disabilities; that dignity for employees with disabilities is about being independent socially, and most of all, economically, about managing their normal day-to-day activities with minimum hardship for themselves and others and about contributing and participating in society; and that it is about self-respect and self-worth.
              10. It is acknowledged that there is a persistent disjuncture between the theoretical framework and the lack of effective implementation of such rights.  So whilst persons with disabilities are, in principle, able to use the law to protect and pursue interests on an equal basis with others, a number of obstacles, including persistent harmful traditional beliefs, ingrained stigmatisation and consequent discrimination on the one hand, and the inter-sectionality of disability and poverty on the other, the inability to afford legal fees, lack of information in the use of equality courts, accessibility of equality courts, communication barriers, lack of a disability-sensitive judiciary and court staff, inaccessible buildings and transport, detract from the equality provided for in law. 
              11. The court process as such has in the main remained under-utilised, which can be seen in the dearth of disability-related legal judgements that are produced annually.
              12. The South African Human Rights Commission is mandated by the Constitution as an independent body responsible for promoting and protecting the rights of all South Africans.  It is however acknowledged that capacity challenges within the Commission cause significant delays in the effective investigation and finalisation of complaints received. 
              13. The South African Human Rights Commission, obligated by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 to report on, among others, the state of equality in the country, released its inaugural Equality Report in 2012.  The report has included two chapters on disability in the report - in the first chapter the Report focuses on the types of barriers persons with disabilities experience which detract from their standing as equal citizens, and in the second chapter on disability the Report presents quantitative outcomes of a research project conducted to determine the equality challenges youth with disabilities experience compared to their able-bodied peers.  The study found substantive inequality in outcomes between young persons with disabilities and their able-bodied peers in education, employment and livelihoods. 
              14. Persons with psycho-social disabilities in particular experience significant challenges not only in society, but even within the disability sector, in accessing their right to equality and non-discrimination.
              15. As the consultative process highlighted, the right to equality and non-discrimination is not realised through intent, but rather through implementation of well-defined programmes.  The first step is the finalisation of the legislative review of sector legislation to ensure compliance with the equality clause in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, currently under way by the South African Law Reform Commission.


              1. ARTICLE 8:  Awareness Raising
              1. The South African government acknowledges that although awareness raising of the rights of persons with disabilities in general, and the CRPD in particular following ratification thereof in 2007 featured high on the national agenda over the past 4 years, weaknesses in coordination, implementation and monitoring and evaluation have to a large extent detracted from its effectiveness and impact.
              2. A recent desktop study has indicated that no scientific survey has to date been conducted to establish baseline on public perceptions and beliefs about disability in general and the rights of persons with disabilities in particular.
              3. South African society at large, unless directly affected by disability, remains in the main ignorant of the rights of persons with disabilities, and in particular the reasonable accommodation measures required to give effect to these rights.  This is mirrored in the public service across all 3 spheres of government, where ignorance and stereotypes detract from public services in general being accessible and user-friendly to persons with disabilities.
              4. Evidence on awareness campaigns produced by government institutions, independent institutions promoting democracy such as the SA Human Rights Commission, the Public Service Commission and the Commission on Gender Equality, as well as organisations of and for persons with disabilities during the drafting of the report, was in the main anecdotal, inconsistent and un-measurable. 
              5. Activity focused predominantly on the extensive hosting of workshops for public servants as well as persons with disabilities, production of posters, DVDs and brochures, awareness campaigns linked to specific commemorative days, including the national disability awareness month in November and the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, production of DVDs.
              6. Workshops and sessions to introduce the CRPD were for example conducted in all national and provincial government departments, with over 60 district and local municipalities in six provinces, as well as organisations of and for persons with disabilities between 2008 and 2011.  There is however little evidence that these workshop targeted the participants at these workshops sufficiently.  A high turn-over of staff in the public sector furthermore detracted from continuity and impact.
              7. No evidence could be found that the rights of persons with disabilities in general, or the popularisation of the CRPD in particular, was a consistent, planned aspect of Government��s political outreach programmes, including ��Taking Parliament to the People�� (quarterly) and the ��Izimbizo�� programme, where Members of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures as well as Cabinet Ministers and Mayors, provide a monthly platform for communities, particularly in deep rural areas, to engage their leadership directly on issues of human rights, development and service delivery.  Although the guidelines for these public meetings require that persons with disabilities and their organisations be targeted as participants, and that it be ensured that all venues are accessible and sign language interpreters are available, this is often not the case. 
              8. The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), as the public broadcaster, as well as eTV, a private non-subscription channel, introduced limited Sign Language interpretation on targeted programmes such as peak hour news broadcasts during the reporting period.  The SABC runs a weekly actuality programme, DTV, targeting Deaf viewers and raising awareness on the rights of Deaf persons in general.  The Department of Basic Education (DBE) in collaboration with the Government Communication and Information Service (GCIS) produced and broadcast awareness raising programmes on national television and subsequently distributed DVDs on the right of children with disabilities to attend school in the communities where they live. Community radio stations, through predominantly local action by organisations of persons with disabilities, are increasingly featuring interviews and programmes aimed at raising awareness of the rights of persons with disabilities.  This is an important development as it reaches marginalised rural communities where entrenched traditional beliefs isolate persons with disabilities from their communities in general, and opportunities in particular.
              9. Information on disability services and the rights of consumers with disabilities is available on government department websites (Department of Social Development, Department of Health, Department of Labour, Department of Home Affairs, The Thutong Education Portal on the Department of Basic Education website for example provides online support for educators, parents and learners), but is often difficult to navigate and not always accessible for persons with visual impairments.  Websites of organisations of and for persons with disabilities contain in the main impairment-specific information, as well as information on the rights of persons with disabilities and the Convention, although not all are accessible for persons with visual impairments.  Invaluable work is being done by these organisations with some commendable innovation being undertaken, for example the Sponge Project, run by activists with disabilities as an SMS information service at extremely low operational cost. 
              10. The Departments of Health, Basic Education as well as Justice and Constitutional Development has developed Braille public awareness and education materials on key legislation (for example Children��s Act, 2005, Domestic Violence Act, 1998, and the Maintenance Act, 1998), key policies as well as disability services.
              11. Awareness campaigns peak during Disability Rights Awareness Month, which is launched on the 3rd of November every year and culminates in the commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3.  All organs of the state participate in the Disability Rights Awareness Month programme in collaboration with organisations of and for persons with disabilities.  Steps will be taken this year to formalise these dates on South Africa��s events calendar to elevate its prominence.
              12. The South African government, through the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, is currently working towards a consolidation of awareness raising efforts into a targeted, integrated and branded programme, which will be reported on in the next periodic report.


              1. ARTICLE 9: Accessibility 
              1. The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 (PEPUDA), subsection 9, stipulates that a lack of accessibility for persons with disabilities constitutes unfair discrimination. 

                ��Subject to section 6 (��Neither the State nor any person may unfairly discriminate against any person��), no person may unfairly discriminate against any person on the ground of disability, including—

                (b) contravening the code of practice or regulations of the South African Bureau of Standards that govern environmental accessibility;

                (c) failing to eliminate obstacles that unfairly limit or restrict persons with disabilities from enjoying equal opportunities or failing to take steps to reasonably accommodate the needs of such persons.��

                Any person with a disability could therefore prosecute any organisation through the Equality Courts should that organisation��s building be illegal in terms of the National Building Regulations – Part S.

              1. The country currently does not have a regulatory framework that governs universal access.  Focus to date has been predominantly on accessibility in the physical environment, where the focus has been mainly on access for persons with physical disabilities and to a lesser extent for persons with visual impairments, although, as illustrated below, enforcement requires significant improvement.

              Physical environment

              1. The Building Standards Amendment Act, 1977, the National Building Regulations as well as the National Guidelines for Accessibility currently constitute the regulatory framework for accessibility to the built environment.  For any building used by the public to meet the requirements of the National Building Regulations, its facilities must meet the standards and measurements contained in the ��SANS 10400-S��document, published in 2011: ��The application of the National Building Regulations Part S: Facilities for persons with disabilities��.  It should be noted that the SANS 10400-S document in its current form does not conform to universal access principles.
              2. The South African Human Rights Commission made a number of recommendations in its ��Towards a Barrier-free Society�� Report in 2002, noting that legislation governing the accessibility of built environments must focus on improving the preconditions for equal participation and dignity and providing mechanisms for governance, administration and enforcement, and that an urgent review of the South African legislative framework for accessibility and the built environment was required to reflect Constitutional rights; ensure safe, healthy and convenient use for all; and include international standards for universal access.
              3. Review of legislation governing access to the built environment has been an open-ended process, and it should be noted that the disability sector has raised concerns with regards both the pace as well as extent of the review process. 
              4. Compliance with even the flawed current regulatory framework has been historically low due to, among others, lack of technical expertise, the lack of a regulatory framework which accredits accessibility advisors and auditors, and a lack of monitoring and enforcement capacity.
              5. As a result of the above weaknesses, audits on existing infrastructure conducted by a number of government departments and entities across all spheres of government, in some instances with the full participation of the disability sector, were done outside the ambit of a comprehensive audit scheme with prescribed scope, methodologies and minimum norms and standards.  Very little evidence could be found that audits which were conducted within this problematic environment, were ever costed or translated into a targeted programme of action.
              6. In the Willem Bosch matter that was heard in court, a precedent was set to make all South African Police Services (SAPS) stations accessible for persons with disabilities.
              7. Government has prioritised the revamping of public buildings in order to meet the diverse needs of persons with disabilities. 
              8. There are currently 40,486 complexes/buildings under the custodianship of the Department of Public Works (DPW), which include 709 police stations, 684 courts, 2,822 defence force buildings, 188 correctional services facilities and 3,521 office blocks.  It should be noted that the Department is in the process of verifying immovable assets under its custodianship and the figure might change once the verification project is complete.
              9. A total of 249 buildings have been made accessible from 2008/09 – January 2012/13 at a cost of USD 63,5 million, and includes 159 police stations, 22 Defence buildings, 51 Correctional Services Centres, 13 Offices, 2 Training Centres, and 2 Courts.  These buildings will be included in the current audit of all buildings under the custodianship of the Department of Public Works. It is anticipated that the audit will be complete by June 2014. The auditing involves inspection of buildings to determine accessibility requirements as per SANS 10400-S: 2011.
              10. Schools/educational facilities, hospitals/clinics and community centres are under the custodianship of provincial administrations and municipalities.
              11. There are discussions with National Treasury to increase this fiscal allocation in the future to ensure the urgent remodelling of buildings where services are offered to the public, for example, buildings of the Departments of Health, Education, Social Development respectively and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).
              12. With regard to accessible schools, the National Policy for an equitable Provision of an Enabling School Physical Teaching and Learning Environment (2010) includes specifications for universal design so that all new schools that are being built are accessible. This has regrettably not translated into universal access being incorporated into the current draft Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure which was released for public comment in January 2013. 
              13. The gap between will and commitment, implementation and enforcement was clearly illustrated during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where none of the stadia complied fully with FIFA��s own norms for accessibility, despite participation by organisations of and for persons with disabilities in the planning phases.
              14. The South African government acknowledges that priority be given to address the shortcomings identified in this Report through, among others, the finalisation of a Universal Access and Design Framework for the physical environment that sets minimum norms and standards for accessibility in the built environment, the training of professionals in the infrastructure sector, funding mechanisms to redress existing infrastructure as well as accreditation of accessibility auditors, in order to provide substance to the commitment contained in the National Development Plan (2012), which prioritises ��the improvement of aesthetic and functional features of the built environment to create liveable, vibrant and valued places that allow for access and inclusion of people with disabilities��.

              Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

              1. The Electronic Communications Act, 2005 (ECA) constitutes overarching legislation addressing the universality of accessibility and redress within the ICT sector in South Africa. As regulator for the South African electronic communications, broadcasting and postal services sector, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), is mandated, through the ECA, to license operators and regulate activities in electronic communications and broadcasting services, and, by the Postal Services Act, 1998 to regulate the postal services. Enabling legislation also empowers ICASA to monitor licensees�� compliance with license terms and conditions; to develop regulations for the three sectors, to plan and manage the radio frequency spectrum as well as to protect consumers of these services.  In terms of Section 2(c) of the ECA, ICASA is required to promote the empowerment of historically disadvantaged persons, with particular attention to the needs of women, opportunities for youth and persons with disabilities. 
              2. The principle of universal access has been mainstreamed across Communications legislation, including the Postal Services Act, 1998, the Post Bank Limited Act, 2010, the Independent Communications Authority Act, 2000, the ICT Charter (2011), as well as the Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy (2008) and the National Broadband Policy (2010), although insufficient attention has been given to minimum norms and standards that will guarantee universal access for persons with visual, hearing and intellectual impairments.
              3. ICASA released a Code on Persons with Disabilities (2009) as required by Section 70 of the ECA as well as section 2(h) of the Postal Services Act, 1998.  This Code provides and regulates key aspects of access to ICT services for persons with disabilities and compels ICT service providers to comply with its requirements.  These include:
                  • All service providers are required to meet specific targets in respect of the rights of access for persons with disabilities, including access to postal services and the built environment, as an integral component of their licences;
                  • Annual awareness programmes on the rights of persons with disabilities to universal access to ICT services are coordinated through ICASA and the Code has been made available in different formats across all nine provinces;
                  • Awareness programmes through the use of community radio stations in local languages
              4. The South African Bureau of Standards�� Sub-Committee on ICT Accessibility standards annually review standards as it relates to access for persons with disabilities.
              5. The Department of Communications is currently finalising a Sector Strategy for Persons with Disabilities in consultation with organisations of persons with disabilities, experts, manufacturers of ICT equipment, regulators and standard generating bodies.
              6. A disability portal, the National Accessibility Programme (NAP), was launched in 2008 as a partnership project between government, the African Advanced Institute for Information and Communication Technology and the disability sector, with the aim of positioning it ��as an integrated service provider to the disability community and industry offering accessible technology services, communication services, data synthesis services and other commercial services. NAP is thus a one-stop information, services and communications channel that will support everyone involved in the disability field – persons with disabilities, caregivers, the medical profession, and those offering services in this domain.��  The website can be accessed at http://www.napsa.org.za.  It is however acknowledged that the initiative has not progressed as planned and is currently under review.  Access for persons with sensory and intellectual impairments to websites of the public, private as well as disability sector remains as a result in the main a challenge.
              7. The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), as the national public broadcaster, is required to broadcast information that is accessible to all.  Progress has been slow due to financial constraints, but selected daily television news bulletins have dual sign language interpreting services as well as sub-titling. 
              8. Blind SA receives an annual government grant to run a Braille service for clients in South Africa and some African countries at affordable prices.

              Accessible Transport

              1. Adequate, efficient and accessible transport is required to support productivity and assist South Africans to access basic services, especially in impoverished and rural communities.  South Africa��s 221 000 km of rural roads continue to pose major funding and management challenges with regard to accessible transport, as these roads are often difficult to negotiate by any form of vehicle, limiting access in general to and from rural settlements.   The majority of rural people walk long distances to reach the crop marketing point, farm input supply centre, health clinic, school, sources of water, firewood and other facilities or services that they need in their daily lives. These challenges are compounded for persons with disabilities, which often lock them in poverty within their homesteads.
              2. It is acknowledged that the country��s public transport system does not comply with universal access principles and continues to marginalise persons with disabilities by denying them access not only to transport but, indirectly, to a variety of other rights.  Public transport in general is poorly developed in the country and remains mainly inaccessible and unaffordable to the majority of persons with disabilities.  The most common forms of public transport are subsidised bus services, privately operated minibus taxis as well as subsidised rail and air. 
              3. The National Land Transport Act, 2009 governs the transformation and restructuring the national land transport system, which was initiated by the National Land Transport Transition Act, 2000.  The Act provides for the Minister, in consultation with Members of the Provincial Executive Councils responsible for Transport, to, among others, publish regulations with regards ��requirements and time-frames for vehicles and facilities to be made accessible to persons with disabilities, including principles for accommodating such persons in the public transport system��.  These regulations have not been finalised.
              4. In March 2007, Cabinet approved significant road and rail transport initiatives on the Implementation of the Public Transport Strategy and Action Plan as well as the Provision of Transport for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.  Preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup was a catalyst for much change in the area of accessible transport, including the provision of relevant technical equipment the assurance that all public transport operations contracts will be restructured to include accessibility as a major component.
              5. The Department of Transport together with its provincial counterparts, municipalities and agencies consulted the disability sector with regard to the specifications during the design and planning phases of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.  However, due to time pressures in rolling out infrastructure, as well as lack of on-site expertise and monitoring capacity, only some of the recommendations were implemented.  The implementation of the Gautrain project, a public private partnership providing a rapid rail service between Johannesburg, Pretoria and the OR Tambo International Airport, experienced similar challenges despite consultation with the disability sector. 
              6. The Department of Transport is currently updating the 2007 Accessible Public Transport Strategy and Action Plan respectively through a consultative process with the disability sector.  These updated documents, once finalised, will incorporate the principles of universal access by requiring all public transportation to accommodate persons with disabilities alongside elderly people, pregnant women, young children and those accompanying children.
              7. The Department of Transport has recently introduced a formal system through which major municipalities would start to improve both rail and road based transport to create an integrated and universally accessible transport network. The approach uses the concept of the travel chain and performance measurement criteria.
              8. Grants are in place to improve road safety programmes and rural road development. Consultation on universal access in rural areas began in 2012, and a Programme of Action related to rural areas is being developed. 
                1. The Public Transport Infrastructure and Systems (PTIS) Grant is used to prioritise new public transport projects and Integrated Public Transport Networks (IPTNS). Currently the IPTNS are being rolled out in twelve (12) urban and six (6) rural municipalities.  All existing modes of public transport (for example rail, bus and mini bus taxi) need to be upgraded to form part of this universally accessible IPTN. A key feature in the urban networks is the introduction of the bus rapid transport systems in urban centres. As new public transport projects, it is a requirement that these are universally accessible from the outset and an access consultant is appointed to oversee this. So far two municipalities are running and extending their services (Cape Town and Johannesburg), with eThekweni, Tshwane and Rustenburg about to ��go live��. Cape Town��s progress is the most advanced. It has introduced acceptable universally accessible standards for integration of modes, infrastructure (both stations and non-motorised transport), fare collection, vehicle design and information provision.  Consultation with the disability sector in the selected municipalities takes place at municipal, not national level. This is due to the fact that knowledge of the locality is required for these municipally-based projects.  
                2. It should be noted that, similar to the World Cup 2010 and Gautrain initiatives, intent and process to ensure universal access has not in all instances translated to universal access on the bus rapid transport systems due to lack of technical expertise throughout the value chain.  USD 625 million was allocated in the PTIS Grant to the 12 Cities that were identified to implement the IPTNS for the current financial year ending on 31 March 2013.  For the 2013/14 and 2014/15 financial years, USD 693,750,000 and USD 733,750,000 have been allocated respectively.
              9. The municipality of George, in the Western Cape, despite not being one of the selected municipalities has positively chosen to develop a universally accessible IPTN and is working directly with the disability sector on planning and implementation.
              10. The Integrated Transport System, which provides universal accessibility on municipal bus services, is currently being rolled out in metropolitan and larger local municipalities. The Cape Town metropolitan is also supported in implementing a Dial-A-Ride door-to-door specialised transportation service for persons with disabilities.  Sustainability of this service is currently under pressure due to the consistent increase in the number of persons with disabilities requiring the service.
              11. Performance standards on universally accessible buses for all users have been developed and are being circulated for consultation. 
              12. Municipalities receive support in the selection of buses that are universally accessible, as well as to improve the performance standards from those currently in use. Both Cape Town and Johannesburg have improved their bus specifications, although there are still significant problems that have to be overcome due to historic reasons. Other municipalities are able to use improved performance standards from the outset.
              13. Standards and guidelines have been developed for universal access in Integrated Rapid Public Transport Networks (IRPTNs). Infrastructure for the IRPTNS is being developed for buses, trains, minibus taxis and Non-Motorised Transport (Pedestrians). Work has begun on the development of safe pedestrian crossings that are universally accessible. The Department of Transport in partnership with private businesses and the South African National Council for the Blind are finalising the process of developing Tactile Guidance Surface Indicators.
              14. The minibus taxi industry provides the widest service network in the country but has been implicated with unsafe modes of travel. If persons using wheelchairs are mobile enough to use them, they are often required to pay an additional sum for the space the wheelchair takes up. The representatives of the minibus taxi industry have begun engagements with the Department of Transport to address universal access problems. The South African Taxi Association Council (SANTACO) and the Department of Transport have identified and are addressing the following problems:
                1. Minibus taxi ranks: for historic reasons under the building regulations, these were classified as parking garages and the classification has never been changed. The Department of Trade and Industry, through the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications, has confirmed it can be approached by the Department of Transport and SANTACO to change the classification so that a suitable infrastructure standard, including the minimum standards for people with disabilities, can apply to taxi ranks.
                2. Vehicle design: Minibus taxi design remains a problem as it is inaccessible. Wider consultation within the Department of Transport and the industry is required.
                3. Service provision and customer care: SANTACO has begun to consider the universal access design plan and is jointly working with the Department of Transport on how it can apply to the taxi industry.
              15. The National Council of Persons with Physical Disabilities (NCPPDSA) has been appointed as agent to issue parking discs for persons with physical disabilities.  The system has however not been institutionalised across the country, requiring different discs with different criteria applied for each municipality.  Past attempts to develop a uniform system have failed.  The NCPPDSA is also contracted by the Department of Environmental Affairs to regulate access to beaches through 4X4 vehicles driven by persons with disabilities, through the issuing of certificates.   To date, approximately 218 applicants have been successful.
              16. The country has embarked on a comprehensive rail upgrade that seeks to place rail at the centre of freight and commuter movement by allocating over USD 5 billion for passenger rail infrastructure and services.
              17. The South African Rail Commuter Corporation (the predecessor of PRASA) adopted a Special Needs Passenger Policy and Station Design Guidelines in 1998.  This was updated by PRASA, who has completed a draft on the new Universal Access Policy, in consultation with the South African Disability Alliance (SADA), which is in line with the Convention.
              18. A feasibility study has been conducted which indicated that the country required 7,224 modern coaches to be purchased over 20 years. It is acknowledged that this provides a window of opportunity in ensuring that rail services become universally accessible to commuters with disabilities.
                1. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) committed to refurbishing 700 coaches per annum between 2009 and 2012. These coaches were refurbished and delivered in the form of 10M3 Train Sets in Cape Town, 10M4 Train Sets in Gauteng and recently 10M5 Train Sets to all the Regions except Eastern Cape. These coaches do not provide full universal access due to the design specifications.  Existing station design and platform heights also remain a challenge. The on-going station upgrade, corridor modernisation programmes and the current procurement of new rolling stock will address these shortcomings, among others.
                2. The procurement of universally accessible trains is underway and the preferred bidder has been announced. These trains will come on stream as from 2015. Station upgrade and corridor modernisation is on-going on the proposed 134 stations and USD 898,4 million has been allocated for this purpose over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework period 2012/13-2014/15.
              19. The Airport Companies of South Africa (ACSA) has over the past few years embarked on major upgrading of their airports. Unfortunately in many cases the infrastructure standards used have been below the minimum standards published by the South African Bureau of Standards as it pertains to access for persons with disabilities. These are expensive to retrofit and consequently remain problematic.
              20. ACSA has worked with the disability sector to improve services on passenger assistance units (PAUs) by increasing the number of units available at ACSA airports as well as training PAU personnel. The South African Disability Alliance was in 2012 contracted to conduct training of all PAU personnel and is currently finalising the content for the programme.
              21. Organisations of and for persons with disabilities acknowledge progress made and report that isolated instances where people with physical disabilities are discriminated against in terms of boarding flights, but these are usually quickly resolved by the relevant authorities.
              22. South Africa has few maritime services for the general public which largely consist of cruise liners. The access to and from cruise liners is being improved as they are being integrated with the IRPTNs projects in Cape Town and Durban.

              Bank Notes

              1. South Africa prides itself on the partnership between the Reserve Bank, responsible for producing bank notes and coins, and organisations of persons with disabilities, which has ensured that South African money is accessible to people with visual as well as intellectual disabilities through a range of specially designed features.


              1. ARTICLE 10: Right to life
              1. The South African Constitution recognises and protects the right to life and survival of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.  
              2. The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1996 provides for the choice on termination of pregnancy from the 13th up to and including the 20th week of the gestation period if ��there exists a substantial risk that the foetus would suffer from a severe physical or mental abnormality��, and after the 20th week of the gestation period if ��the continuation of the pregnancy would result in a severe malformation of the foetus��.
              3. The on-going moral debate within South African society in general, including the disability sector, with regards the counselling process on the choice to terminate disabled foetuses, is acknowledged.


              1. ARTICLE 11: Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies
              1. The Disaster Management Act, 2002 provides for, among others, ��an integrated and co-ordinated disaster management policy that focuses on preventing or reducing the risk of disasters, mitigating the severity of disasters, emergency preparedness, rapid and effective response to disasters and post-disaster recovery��.  The Act requires amendments to bring it in line with Article 11 as it is currently silent on the need to ensure equitable access to disaster management services for persons with disabilities during emergencies.  The result is that none of the provincial, district and local municipal disaster plans have incorporated provisions such as mapping homesteads and/or institutions where persons who might require special assistance during emergencies, training of disaster management personnel, prevention of injury during evacuations which might result in primary or secondary impairments.
              2. The Mental Health Care Act, 2002 supported by guidelines issued by the South African Mental Health Federation, directs that persons with severe mental illnesses or profound intellectual disabilities requiring the services of the South African Police Service to transport them to hospital, be transported in a safe and decent manner.


              1.  ARTICLE 12:  Equal recognition before the law
              1. Subsection 25(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 determines that ��No one may be deprived of property except in terms of law of general application, and no law may permit arbitrary deprivation of property.��
              2. Persons with disabilities in South Africa have the right to own or inherit property, to control their own financial affairs and have equal access to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit.  They also have the right not to be arbitrarily deprived of their property, and can access recourse through the courts, including the Equality Court, if this right is infringed upon on grounds of disability.  Chapter VIII of the Mental Health Care Act, 2002 however provides for the appointment of a curator bonis or an administrator for persons with mental disabilities and/or persons with severe or profound mental disabilities.
              3. South Africa law does not currently provide for enduring Powers of Attorney. Dementia South Africa notes in their submission that families of incapacitated persons are therefore currently forced to incur very high legal fees to establish curatorships to manage the financial affairs of incapacitated persons, as an individual who has for example recently been diagnosed with dementia, but who is currently still legally competent, is unable to prepare a Power of Attorney to name a trusted individual to handle financial matters once (if) he/she becomes legally incompetent. 
              4. The South African Law Reform Commission is currently concluding its extensive, participatory investigation on the need for alternative and additional measures of supported decision-making for adults with decision-making impairment. Organisations such as Dementia South Africa, Ubuntu Centre South Africa (an affiliate of the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry) and the SA Federation for Mental Health, among others, participated in the process.
              5. As noted in A/HRC/10/48, the implementation of the obligations in Article 12 requires a thorough review of both civil as well as criminal legislation containing elements of legal competence. In addition to the SA Law Reform Commission��s proposed Bill on Supported Decision-making, additional areas which will be considered in a review of civil and criminal legislation include, among others
                  • the common-law test for legal capacity, amongst others, to make a will or get married,
                  • the common-law mechanism for appointment of a curator bonis or a curator personae by the High Court,
                  • the appointment of an administrator as provided for in Chapter VIII in the Mental Health Care Act, 2002; and
                  • inquiry into an accused��s criminal capacity in criminal proceedings.
                  • At the same time, the notion of ��informed consent��, which features in a number of laws (Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1996; Sterilisation Act, 1998; National Health Act, 2003; Children��s Act, 2005, to name only a few), will have to be re-examined in the light of Article 12(3) and the obligation of States Parties to provide persons with disabilities with the support they require to exercise their decision-making.


              1.  ARTICLE 13:  Access to justice
              1. The Bill of Rights provides for equal access to justice through the right to access courts, the right to a fair trial, the right to appeal and the right to an interpreter during trial.  South Africa had to redress a number of challenges in realising the right of especially black South Africans to access to justice post-apartheid, including backlog of cases, delays in case proceedings and a shortage of trained professionals for both the judiciary and legal professions in general.
              2. Some initiatives have included the creation of special courts (including sexual offences courts, family courts, labour courts and equality courts). Although full accessibility of the justice system has not yet been achieved, government has created a range of institutions and mechanisms to improve access to justice.  Among these institutions and programmes is Legal Aid, providing legal assistance for predominantly criminal cases at the expense of the State for impoverished persons.   Another initiative has been the Proximity of Courts Programme, which provides periodic courts to rural and remote communities that would otherwise have no access.  The Domestic Violence Act, 1998 also makes provision for financial assistance by the State to victims of domestic violence who do not have the means to pay fees for any service rendered in terms of the Act.
              3. The Children��s Act, 2005 recognises the needs of children with disabilities as one of its main objectives. Section 6 of the Act calls for all proceedings, actions or decisions in a matter concerning a child, to protect the child from unfair discrimination on the grounds of the disability of the child or a family member of the child, and calls for an enabling environment to respond to the special needs that the child might have.  Section 52 of the Act calls for rules to be made to avoid adversarial procedure in children��s court proceedings; these rules should include appropriate questioning techniques for children with intellectual, communication or psycho-social impairments. These rules have to date not been put in place.  Section 8(d) expressly requires that all Children��s Courts be made accessible to children with disabilities. For the purposes of this Act, every magistrate��s court, as defined in the Magistrate��s Court Act, 1944 is considered as the Children��s Court. In essence, in South Africa there are 384 Children��s Courts that adjudicate matters that deal children��s issues, which include the protection of children (including children with disabilities) from maltreatment, abuse, neglect, degradation or exploitation.  Evidence produced by civil society during the consultative processes engaged upon during the drafting of this Report, however indicate that policy has in the main not translated into implementation, and that very few children with disabilities, and in particular children with intellectual, communication and mental disabilities, have equal access to justice due to lack of reasonable accommodation measures that have been put into place.
              4. With regard to age appropriate accommodations, the Criminal Procedure Second Amendment Act, 1995 governs the judicial processes and procedures associated with all crimes including those against children.  It also provides for the use of intermediaries in cases where children have to give evidence in court.  It should however be noted that while a child with a disability under the age of 18 has the automatic right to give evidence via intermediary, such a right is not automatic for an adult with an intellectual, psycho-social or communication impairment, and it rests with the prosecutor to decide to make an application for evidence to be given in this manner. Such an application is usually supported by a medical expert report, describing the ��mental age�� of the victim.  Obtaining such a report is costly and can delay criminal proceedings, placing it outside the reach of poor and rural communities.
              5. The Criminal Procedure Amendment Act, 2001, amended section 170A of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 regulate the presentation of evidence through an intermediary.  The Child Justice Act, 2008, established a criminal justice system for children, including children with disabilities, who are in conflict with the law.  One of the objects of the Act is to prevent children from being exposed to adverse effects of the formal justice system by using measures, procedures and mechanisms more suitable to the needs and vulnerability of children.    The Act urges law enforcement officers to take into account the vulnerability of children in respect of arrest, placement and protection when in custody.
              6. Further compounding the lack of access to justice is the high instance of undiagnosed intellectual impairment and mental illness in impoverished and rural communities.  A system to impede wrongful criminal convictions due to the lack of assessment to distinguish between intellectual disability and criminal capacity, is urgently required.
              7. The South African Police Service (SAPS) prioritised the training and sensitisation of SAPS personnel towards the rights of persons with disabilities. A total of 9,555 staff members attended 527 workshops between the period 2010-2011, and an additional 196 SAPS managers participated in 10 workshops during the same period.  Over 17,571 participants participated in a total of 249 disability-related calendar events.  The impact of this exposure and training has not been determined.  Some police stations have for example taken the initiative to place community sign language interpreters on a voluntary on-call basis, but this practice has not been institutionalised within the South African Police Service.
              8. The right to an appropriate sign language interpreter currently presents a major challenge for deaf persons within the justice system due to low education levels and subsequently lack of knowledge of official sign language by a large number of deaf persons, the different ��dialects�� of South African Sign Language (SASL), often related to the specific school that the person attended, compounded by the general lack of awareness among frontline staff in police stations, investigating officers, prosecutors, court staff and defence lawyers of these subtleties, and therefore not enquiring from witnesses/the accused beforehand which variations of SASL they use in order to arrange an appropriate interpreter.  Deaf persons residing in outlying rural magisterial districts are particularly vulnerable to not having access to justice.
              9. The Older Persons Act, 2006 provides a wide definition of a ��frail older person�� to include ��an older person in need of 24-hour care due to a physical or mental condition which renders him or her incapable of caring for himself or herself.�� This definition therefore extends legal protection and access to justice to older persons with disabilities.
              10. It is acknowledged that, as so eloquently illustrated through numerous case studies and submissions presented during the consultative process in drafting this Report, that laws and policies cannot, in and of themselves, change the lives of persons with disabilities, but that it requires coordinated planning and provisioning by government to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to the services that the law promises to them.  This is particularly relevant in relation to equal access to justice for children with sensory, communication, intellectual and psycho-social disabilities from poor and/or rural households.
              11. Specific areas of intervention will include review of existing legislation, structured training of officials across the justice system on reasonable accommodation measures, as well as universal access to the physical environment and communication systems in the justice system.


              1.  ARTICLE 14:  Liberty and security of the person
              1. The Mental Health Care Act, 2002 provides for procedures for application for involuntary mental health care, including a 72 hour assessment following which the Mental Health Review Board considers such an application for involuntary mental health care for referral to the High Court for consideration.  The Act furthermore provides for legal representation when admission is made and reviewed.
              2. There are still residential mental health care facilities as well as public and private residential institutions for persons with disabilities whose families cannot take care of them, and where admission is voluntary. However, there is a move towards focussing on community-based care where possible. Although there are norms and standards that govern the quality of care and governance matters, there is currently a need to strengthen monitoring of quality of care more vigilantly and address the gap that exists in terms of overseeing private residential facilities.
              3. Section 21 of the Older Persons Act, 2006, outlaws direct and indirect discrimination against an older person applying for admission to a residential facility on, among others grounds of disability, and requires that a residential facility provide reasons in writing for such refusal.  The Act furthermore requires consent by the affected older persons to a residential facility, ��unless his or her mental condition renders him or her incapable of giving such consent, in which case a person authorised to give such consent in terms of any law or in terms of a court order may give the required consent.��  The Act allows for consent to be given by the spouse or partner of the older person concerned or, in the absence of such spouse or partner, an adult child or sibling of the older person, alternatively the Minister only after a registered medical practitioner has certified that any delay in the admission of the older person might result in his or her death or irreversible damage to his or her health. The Act also requires that an older person who is ��capable of understanding must be informed of the intended admission even if his or her mental condition renders him or her incapable of giving the required consent.��
              4. South African legislation agrees that mental disability should not be a ground for depriving a person of their liberty and has several legal articles in different laws to this effect.  However, the Judicial Matters Amendment Act, 2002, amended the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977, in order to bring certain provisions of that Act in line with the Mental Health Care Act, 2002 does allow for involuntary admission of persons with psycho-social disabilities to healthcare facilities for treatment, in particular if a person is a danger to self or others. 
              5. The Gauteng Consumer Advocacy Movement supports involuntary admissions, and takes a view that ��mental health organisations and facilities of treatment should not be seen as depriving people of their liberty but rather facilitating people to obtaining their liberty��. Their concerns centre around the capacity of police officers to assist with transporting people with psycho-social disabilities to hospital for treatment where involuntary admission is required or considered.  Ubuntu Centre South Africa in contrast calls for a total ban on involuntary institutional care in line with the Convention.
              6. The review of the Mental Health Care Act, 2002 and the Judicial Matters Amendment Act, 2002 will also allow for a platform for civil society to engage with government on the phasing out of involuntary admissions in a responsible manner.


              1. ARTICLE 15: Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
              1. The Constitution states that ��Everyone has the right to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources; not to be tortured in any way; and not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.�� 
              2. South Africa signed the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984) on 29 January 1993. 
              3. In ensuring compliance with the Constitution and the above Convention, our Parliament has adopted the Prohibition of Torture Bill, which is currently awaiting passing into law. It takes cognisance of the provision of Article 15 of the CRPD, and has also defined ��torture�� in line with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
              4. The Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill, currently before Parliament, includes abuse of vulnerability as one of the means used to traffic persons.  The definition of ��abuse of vulnerability�� in the Bill specifically includes disability. 
              5. It is acknowledged that persons with disabilities in general, but in particular those from poor and/or rural communities, as illustrated in the numerous testimonies and submissions, still too often experience inhumane, degrading and cruel treatment by people, services and systems due to the persistent attitudinal, physical and communication barriers pervasive in society.
              6. Of particular concern is the lack of effective monitoring of conditions and treatment of people in residential care in general, and in particular in mental health institutions, where civil society stakeholders are in consensus that the majority of Mental Health Review Boards appointed for all mental health hospitals as well as care and rehabilitation centres in all 9 provinces are either dysfunctional or not carrying out their duties to monitor human rights and ensure quality of care and receive complaints with regards ill-treatment and torture which might occur.
              7. Article 40(8) of the Mental Health Care Act, 2002 authorises the South African Police Services to ��use such constraining measures as may be necessary and proportionate in the circumstances when apprehending a person with mental illness or severe or profound intellectual disability��. A training manual for law enforcement officers was developed detailing their role, responsibilities and procedures to be followed when requested to intervene when a person is deemed in danger to self or others, as well as procedures for handling reports of abuse.  These provisions require review to ensure compliance with Article 15 of the Convention.
              8. The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has conducted a number of investigations into allegations of human rights violations in mental health facilities over the past few years, and has made recommendations with regards both prevention of re-occurrence as well as improving conditions in general. The SAHRC monitors implementation of these recommendations.
              9. The Department of Health is in the process of planning the roll-out of utilisation of the WHO QualityRights toolkit.


              1. ARTICLE 16:  Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse

              Freedom from Violence and Abuse

              1. The Constitution guarantees ��the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right not to be deprived of freedom arbitrarily or without just cause; not to be detained without trial; to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources; not to be tortured in any way; and not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.��
              2. However, persisting violence against women and girls in general, and rape and sexual abuse of girls and women with disabilities in particular, remains a major challenge in South Africa.   A study conducted by Phasha & Nyokangi, 2012, School-Based Sexual Violence Among Female Learners With Mild Intellectual Disability in South Africa, Violence Against Women, (Sage), highlights the systematic failure of policies and programmes aimed at protecting women and children against sexual harassment, intimidation, coercive sex, rape (including child-on-child rape) and pornography.  These systemic failures manifests itself in, among others:
                  • That sexual abuse of children with disabilities is underreported in South Africa;
                  • The capacity of children with disabilities to report sexual abuse, and correctly recall and relay details of such abuse as witnesses, is not sufficiently recognised by State systems; nor are standardised psychological tests implemented to assist the courts to determine such abilities in the majority of cases;
                  • Information on any form of public assistance, support services or facilities provided by government departments remain very difficult to access by persons with disabilities or families of children with disabilities;
                  • Police, health, social and justice services remain to a large extent disability-insensitive;
                  • Facilities, such as places of safety, are not trained to care for children with disabilities, and there is a lack of specific protection for children with disabilities and advocacy training within organisations dealing with child abuse;
              3. Exploitation, violence and abuse of learners with disabilities in boarding facilities attached to special schools remain unacceptably high.  Preliminary results of a follow up survey of special schools following a 2002 audit by the Department of Education which revealed unacceptably high levels of abuse in special schools, are indicating that interventions have in the main been sporadic, insufficient with insufficient monitoring taking place.  This despite the almost USD 125 million that was spent on strengthening 295 special schools.
              4. The Cape Mental Health Society in the early 1990s established the Sexual Assault Victim Empowerment (known as ��SAVE��) programme to provide assessment, support and court preparation services to persons with intellectual disabilities who have been the victims of sexual assault through, among others, assistance with investigation, evaluation of the victim��s competence to act as witness, evaluation of the victim��s capacity to consent to sexual intercourse, compilation of court reports, and the provision of expert evidence in court.   The programme also trains members of the police force and public prosecutors to develop the skills they need to conduct interviews with complainants with intellectual disabilities with greater sensitivity to and understanding of their special needs. It should be noted that this programme, which is by its nature ��cost-intensive�� in terms of requiring specialised staff such as social workers and psychologists, is currently administered and funded (through fund-raising initiatives) by the Cape Mental Health Society.
              5. Persons with severe physical, communication, intellectual and psycho-social disabilities who are resident in large overcrowded, under-resourced facilities or in homes and care centres where there is significant poverty and /or social disruption in the family or area or residence, are particularly vulnerable to deprivation and abuse.
              6. The South African government acknowledges that urgent, coordinated action is required to turn the above situation around despite significant protection being provided on the statutes:
                1. The Children��s Act, 2005 provides for protective measures for children in residential care.  The regulations to the Act requires of the Minister of Social Development to conduct regular audits of such facilities to ensure that the minimum norms and standards prescribed by the regulations, are adhered to.   
                2. The Domestic Violence Act, 1998 legislates against any forms of violence within domestic relationships. This includes relationships between family members or caregivers and persons with disabilities, and further allows for a person who has a material interest in the well-being of the survivor of domestic violence who has a mental impairment to apply for a protection order in court on behalf of such person. By virtue of the mental disability status of the victim, the Act waives the requirement of the submission of a written consent by the survivor to court and without their direct participation in the court process.
                3. Chapter 4 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 creates various offences against persons who have mental disabilities. These include sexual exploitation and sexual grooming of, exposure or display of or causing exposure or display of child pornography to persons who have mental disabilities and using persons with mental disabilities for pornographic purposes or benefiting therefrom.  To ensure the prevention of sexual violence against persons with mental disabilities, Chapter 6 of the Act establishes a National Register for Sex Offenders. In this Register particulars of sex offenders convicted of any sexual offence against a child or a person who is mentally disabled are recorded. The purpose of the Register is not only to maintain a record of sex offenders in the country, but also to ensure that such convicted offenders are prevented access to persons who have mental disabilities, and this includes prohibition from working in environments that are exposed to persons with mental disabilities.
                4. The Older Persons Act, 2006 criminalizes abuse of older persons and provides special measures to combat such abusive behaviour. In terms of this Act the frail older person is defined as ��an older person who is in need of 24-hour care due to a physical or mental condition which renders such person incapable of caring for himself/ herself.�� This Act further allows abused older persons access to legal remedies provided by the Domestic Violence Act, 1998. This therefore means that in addition to the recourse outlined by the Older Persons Act, 2006 an abused older person may also apply for Protection Order in terms of the Domestic Violence Act, 1998.
                5. The National Guidelines for Victim Empowerment (2009) prioritises persons with disabilities as a target group for intervention.
                6. The National Prosecuting Authority has established 52 Thuthuzela Care Centres to provide support services to survivors of sexual offences and domestic violence.  An audit pertaining universal access for survivors with disabilities is outstanding.
              7. In line with the UN Secretary-Generals�� UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign, the country is intensifying the dedicated, comprehensive and integrated programme on the 365 Days National Action Plan, including the 16 Days of Activism Campaign on No Violence against Women and Children campaign. Disability considerations have been mainstreamed in the Action Plan as well as 16 Days Campaign, and the sector is represented on the Council against Gender-Based Violence, established to develop a more holistic and proactive response to the unacceptably high levels of gender-based violence.
              8. The South African Human Rights Commission also monitors matters relating to exploitation, violence, abuse and violation of human rights in general, and functions as an independent monitoring body.

              Freedom from exploitation

              1. The Consumer Protection Act, 2008 prohibits a supplier taking advantage of the fact that ��a consumer was substantially unable to protect the consumer��s own interests because of physical or mental disability, illiteracy, ignorance, inability to understand the language of an agreement��.  Despite on-going intensive media campaigns by the National Consumer Commission in partnership with national and provincial government departments, very few persons with disabilities exercise their right as consumers by appealing for protection under the Consumer Protection Act, 2008.
              2. Periodic reporting of exploitation and abuse of social grant recipients by their families, especially persons with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities, require further investigation.


              1.  ARTICLE 17:  Protecting the integrity of the person
              1. The forced sterilisation of persons with disabilities is prohibited by the Constitution and the National Health Act, 2003.  The Sterilisation Act, 1998, however, makes provision for non-consensual sterilisation if the person is deemed incompetent to consent owing to a mental disability, and if the person is regarded as incapable of: ��(i) making his or her own decision about contraception or sterilization; (ii) developing mentally to a sufficient degree to make an informed judgement about contraception or sterilization; and (iii) fulfilling the parental responsibility associated with giving birth��, and as such requires review.
              2. The conditions under which pregnancies might be terminated have been discussed under Article 10, but it should be noted that forced termination of pregnancy is prohibited by law.
              3. The Mental Health Care Act, 2002 allows for involuntary treatment and requires review to bring it in line with the Convention.


              1. ARTICLE 18:  Liberty of movement and nationality
              1. The Bill of Rights in Chapter 2, Section 21 (1-4) guarantees freedom of movement and residence. South Africa put in place measures, including promulgation of the South African Citizenship Act, 1995 and the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992 which respectively facilitate legislative or administrative measures to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities to equal access to a nationality, and make provision for the registration of all new-born children within 30 days after birth.


              1. ARTICLE 19: Living independently and being included in the community
              1. The White Paper on an Integrated National Disability Strategy definition for independent living is in full compliance with the Article 19.  The transversal nature of support services and access provisions required to enable persons with disabilities, particularly in poor and rural communities, to live in the community, with choices equal to others, remain a challenge, as the basket of services required are not sufficiently structured and coordinated at community level to create a conducive environment. 
              2. The Department of Social Development supports residential facilities predominantly through subsidisation of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). There are approximately 149 residential facilities (101 urban, 19 peri-urban and 29 rural) with an estimated budget, for the period under review, of USD 4,575,125.  These 149 facilities provide residential care for a total 7,982 persons with disabilities (6,416 persons in urban and 1,566 in rural areas.  It should be noted that a number of NGOs have highlighted the increased vulnerability experienced by residents due to late payment of subsidies as well as non-inflation related adjustments to annual subsidies. A number of challenges are receiving attention to improve the quality of care in these facilities, especially in rural and peri-urban areas.
              3. Supported/assisted living and independent living programs constitute a move towards units/homes that are more open and smaller and within the community to facilitate de-institutionalisation. State subsidisation to these units is currently limited. The Social Security Act, 2004 provides for among others, an additional Grant-in-aid for disability grant recipients who require full-time attendance by another person owing to his/her physical or mental disabilities.
              4. The Road Accident Fund provides for home visits by qualified staff to assess adaptations required and living conditions of clients who became disabled as a result of vehicle accidents.  Benefits include specialised assistive devices, adaptations to homes, as well as the appointment of full-time or part-time personal assistance, if relevant.
              5. Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR), which should constitute a key pillar of any Independent Living Programme, is still predominantly NGO-driven, with only two of the nine provincial governments providing CBR subsidies to organisations of disabled persons, and the Western Cape providing CBR services through a disability service organisation.
              6. Although the Mental Health Care Act, 2002 provides for community-based care, treatment and rehabilitation services, and the regulations to this Act prescribes standards for residential and/or day care community based mental health services, it should be taken under review to ensure compliance with the CRPD. 
              7. Strengthening coordination of support services and setting minimum norms and standards for independent living in the community will form a cornerstone of the National Disability Policy which is currently being developed.


              1.  ARTICLE 20:  Personal mobility
              1. To give effect to the right of persons with disabilities to move freely and with independence, the National Rehabilitation Policy (2006) and Standardisation of Assistive Devices in the Public Sector Guidelines, provide for funding for assistive devices.  The latter states that ��there shall be no discrimination against clients on the grounds of Impairment, age, gender, social conditions, financial situation, disease, medical condition, or any other basis in the assessment for issuing an assistive device.��  Assistive Devices form part of the public sector health service package offered free of charge to qualifying members e.g. children under six and persons with disabilities qualifying for free health care.  Challenges include that the issuing of augmentative and alternative communication devices take place only at tertiary level of health care, placing these devices outside the reach of the majority of persons with disabilities, severe capacity constraints in the assessment and issuing of assistive devices, lack of state funding for orientation and mobility instructors. Stringent safety measures are taken to make sure that the devices are of high quality and are user-friendly.
              2. The provisioning of assistive devices is prioritised on rehabilitation budgets, although waiting periods between date of application and date of issuing remain a challenge.  Accurate and updated statistics are currently not available, but work is being done to include the issuing of assistive devices on the District Health Information System.
              3. The Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre is the only WHO accredited/acknowledged Training Centres in Wheelchair Seating in South Africa according to the WHO ��Guidelines on the provision of Manual Wheelchairs in less resourced settings��. It is acknowledged that every province should have at least one such a centre.
              4. The South African Disability Development Trust (SADDT), which receives part-funding through government subsidies, fills a critical gap by providing assistive devices that are critical to maintain or retain employment, whether in the open labour market or for self-employment purposes, but not in instances where  the employer has an obligation to provide equipment for the workplace under reasonable accommodation, where these devices are available through the Department of Health policy or whereby medical aid schemes provide funding for the required devices. The SADDT for example assisted 30 employed persons with disabilities in 2009/10 with a range of assistive devices at a total cost of USD48,750.
              5. The Department of Public Services and Administration is currently costing the draft policy on reasonable accommodation in the public service, which will bring uniformity across the public service in the provisioning of assistive devices, personal assistance services and technology for public servants with disabilities.  The South African Police Services (SAPS) have for example procured an extensive range of personal assistive devices for employees with disabilities, including manual and motorised wheelchairs, prosthesis, white canes, vehicle adaptations, as well as a range of technological equipment, to promote independence and productivity during the period 2008-2011.
              6. The significant challenges with public transport, discussed under Article 9, significantly impacts on persons with disabilities�� choice of mobility at an affordable cost, in particular in rural and poor communities, but increasingly also on urban freeways which are being tolled.


              1.  ARTICLE 21: Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information
              1. The Bill of Rights in Chapter 2, Section 16 (1) and (2) guarantees freedom of expression and opinion. It is acknowledged that negative attitudes detract from the value afforded to the opinions and ideas of people with intellectual and psycho-social disabilities in particular, and engagement between these user groups and the rest of government requires further work.
              2. It is acknowledged that persons with disabilities do not have equal access to information intended for the general public in accessible formats due to the barriers discussed under Articles 6 and 7.
              3. The Department of Arts and Culture has just completed an investigation into national braille production needs and related braille policy matters with the aim of developing a braille production strategy for the country. 
              4. Sign language does not enjoy recognition as one of South Africa��s official languages.  The South African Constitution however mandates the Pan South African Language Board with the responsibility to promote the development, usage and recognition of sign language as the first language of deaf South Africans.  The deaf community is represented on the Board, and the public entity also employs deaf persons to give effect to this responsibility.  The deaf community has raised concerns that government measures are insufficient for the effective promotion of the linguistic identity of deaf persons, including ensuring the availability of specific skills-training services for children, adults or teachers who require sign language to access their rights.


              1.  ARTICLE 22: Respect for privacy
              1. The Bill of Rights in Chapter 2, Section 14 (a-d) guarantees the right to privacy.   The Older Persons Act, 2006 similarly provide for the right to privacy for older persons residing in residential facilities.
              2. Persons with disabilities enjoy the right to privacy of personal, health and rehabilitation information on an equal basis with others. 
              3. It is acknowledged that the right to privacy of persons in subsidised residential and care facilities are often compromised as people often share rooms, and that the right to privacy of persons making use of guides and/or interpreters are at times infringed upon due to a lack of regulation and professionalization of these roles.
              4. The right to privacy of persons with psycho-social disabilities is often violated by the media, for example when they are charged with criminal offences. Sensationalist reporting and inaction on the part of court officials contribute to the rules relating to confidentiality of medical records being flaunted.


              1. ARTICLE 23: Respect for home and the family
              1. The inter-sectionality between poverty, disability and inequality plays itself out in particular with regards Article 23.  Households with disabled members in poor communities on average spend more to access relevant information with regards disability-related services (Article 8), to access disability-related social grants and services, including community based rehabilitation, due to, among others, high transport costs in these areas (Article 9), scarcity of specialised services (Articles 25 and 26), inability to secure income due to the need to care for children with disabilities as well as older persons with disabilities in particular.  This, together with the stigma still attached to disability in traditional communities, often resulting in locking children with disabilities and their mothers at home, adds to the emotional burden families carry.  The lack of reasonable accommodation in community schools (Article 24) furthermore add to the burden, as children with disabilities still often have to school far away, with families carrying the financial burden of the additional transport and/or accommodation costs.  It should furthermore be noted that this burden falls disproportionally on women.
              2. State support to give effect to the right to family for children, is guaranteed in Section 28(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 as well as Section 7 and Chapter 9 of the Children��s Act, 2005, which prescribes considerations to be taken into account when acting in the best interest of the child, including when a decision is to be taken to remove a child from his/her family to be placed in temporary safe care.
              3. The Social Security Act, 2004 provides for, among others, access to a care dependency grant for parents (including foster parents) and/or care-givers of children with permanent, severe disabilities between the ages 0-18 years of age, on condition that these children are not permanently cared for in a state institution.
              4. The Department of Social Development is in the process of finalising a strategy for orphans in order to provide them with places of safety if the immediate family is unable to care for a child with a disability. South Africa remains committed to undertake every effort to provide alternative care within the wider family, and failing that, within the community in a family setting. 
              5. The South African Human Rights Commission in their submission points out that families or care-givers who care for a person who is predisposed to violence due to an intellectual, psycho-social or neurological disability, often utilise the criminal justice system as entry point to have them removed from family care in lieu of lack of enabling policy in this regard.
              6. Section 12 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 provides for the right to bodily and psychological integrity, including decisions about reproduction and control of one��s body.  The National Health Act, 2003 stipulates that all persons including those with disabilities have a right to reproductive health services including family planning.   The need to review the Sterilisation Act, 1998 has been discussed in depth-in Articles 12 and 17.
              7. Section 3 of the Divorce Act, 1979 provides that decree of divorce could be granted on grounds of mental illness or continuous unconsciousness of a spouse. The Act requires that the Court hears the evidence of at least two psychiatrists, of whom one shall have been appointed by the Court, that the defendant is mentally ill and that there is no reasonable prospect that the defendant will be cured of his or her mental illness. The SA Law Reform Commission, as part of its investigation into compliance of national legislation with the equality clause in the Bill of Rights, reviewed, amongst others, the Divorce Act, 1997.  Discussion Paper 130 on Legislation Administered by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (Family law and marriage), proposes an updating of the Divorce Act, 1997 in order to update out-dated references to the Mental Health Act, 1973 (repealed).  It is however noted that a broader review of the Divorce Act, 1997 is required simultaneously with a review of the Mental Health Care Act, 2002, as alluded to under Article 19, to bring it in line with the CRPD.


              1. ARTICLE 24:  Education

              Legislative Framework

              1. Section 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 guarantees the right to basic education, including adult basic education, to everyone. 
              2. The South African Schools Act, 1996 governs education for all children between the ages of 7 and 18 years.  Section 3(2) of provides for the Minister of Education to set out ages for compulsory school attendance for learners with special learning needs. This has not yet been done but will be addressed as part of the revision of the Act which is currently under way.  It should be noted that this section only refers to admission of learners with special needs under the compulsory school going age of 7 or older than the exit age of 18 years.
              3. Section 12 of the South African Schools Act, 1996 places an obligation on Members of Executive Councils responsible for education at provincial level, to ensure that education for learners with special needs be provided, where reasonably practicable, at ordinary public schools. In determining the placement of a learner with special education needs, the Head of Department and principal must take into account the rights and wishes of the parents of such learners and uphold the principle of ��what is in the best interest of the child�� in any decision making.
              4. Education White Paper 6 on Special Needs Education: Building an Inclusive Education and Training System (2001) outlines government��s strategy to transform the current education system to make it more efficient, more equitable and more just, recognizing the right of all learners to attend their local neighbourhood school and to receive the necessary support.  The policy embodies the principles of Article 24 of the CRPD as it sees inclusive education as a means through which society can be transformed to promote tolerance and respect for diversity and the human rights of all people, specifically persons with disabilities who have been and are marginalized and excluded to a great extent. 
              5. Education White Paper 6 did not make specific provisioning for children with severe or profound intellectual disabilities.  The Western Cape High Court directed in the Cape Forum for Intellectually Disabled v Government of the Republic of South Africa 2011 (5) SA 87 (WCC) judgement, that the education authorities take reasonable measures in order to give effect to the rights of the affected children and granted a structural interdict allowing government twelve months to develop an intervention plan that would provide access to education for children with severe and profound intellectual disabilities.  An extension was granted by the court allowing for the development of an integrated strategy and programme of action for the provision of educational support to learners with severe and profound disabilities for submission to the High Court by April 2013. The integrated strategy and programme is being developed through a consultative process involving a number of government departments.
              6. The National Development Plan (2012) promotes the accelerated roll-out of inclusive education that enables everyone to participate effectively in a free society, and acknowledges that education provides knowledge and skills that persons with disabilities can use to exercise a range of other human rights, such as the right to political participation, the right to work, the right to live independently and contribute to the community, the right to participate in cultural life, and the right to raise a family.


              1. The significant challenges still experienced with disability-related statistical data capturing and analysis discussed in the preamble to this report as well as under Article 33, come to the fore when analysing statistical data pertaining education.  This remains a highly contested terrain.
              2. Not attending School –
                    • The Department of Basic Education (DBE) estimates that the number of children with disabilities of school going age who are out of school, could be as high as 480,036, based on their own calculations and StatsSA 2010 General Household Survey data.
              3. Enrolment in Ordinary Schools –
                  • DBE reports that 118,490 learners with disabilities were enrolled in ordinary schools in 2010 and 104,633 in special schools adding up to a total of 223,123 learners with disabilities, constituting approximately 1,7%.
                  • However, the General Household Survey of 2011 indicated that 6% (758,652) of children in the schooling system were children with disabilities.  There is therefore a discrepancy of 535,524 learners for whom the system cannot account.
                  • According to the General Household Survey the percentage of learners with disabilities as a percentage of all learners attending school has increased from at least 1% in 20021 to approximately 7% in 2010.  
                  • Of the 124,559 learners admitted to ordinary schools in 2009, 17.6% were in separate classes. The drop in numbers can be ascribed to an inconsistency in data collection procedures.
                  • DBE, utilising their own calculations based on StatsSA General Household Survey data for 2010, estimates that 94% of 7 to 15 year old of children with disabilities attended an educational institution in 2010, against 73% in 2002.
                  • DBE, utilising their own calculations based on StatsSA General Household Survey data for 2010, furthermore reports that 68% of 16 to 18 year old children with disabilities attended an educational institution in 2010, compared to the overall figure of 83% for all children in this age group. The participation of this age category of children with disabilities in educational institutions increased significantly from 51% in 2002 to 68% in 2010.
              4. Enrolment in the Reception Year (5year olds)
                    • DBE, utilising their own calculations based on StatsSA General Household Survey data for 2010, estimates that 85% of 5 year olds children with disabilities attended an educational institution2
              5. Enrolment in Special Schools3
                    • The DBE reports that the enrolment in public special schools was 104,633 in 2010.
                    • DBE furthermore reports a gradual improvement in the number of learners in special schools who wrote matric between 2007 (727 learners), 2008 (804 learners), 2009 (872 learners), 2010 (942 learners), but dropping in 2011 to 847.
                    • The pass rate for matriculants in special schools improved from 481 learners (2007), to 636 (2008), 697 (2009), 745 (2010), but dropping in 2011 to 697.
                    • 63 special schools currently offer matric for their students, detracting significantly from employability of school-leavers accommodated in special schools.
              6. Post-School Qualifications/Enrolment
                    • Enrolment of students with disabilities at institutions of higher education (excluding Stellenbosch University) does not show any significant improvement, from 4,861 (2008), to 4,662 (2009) and 5,027 (2010)4
                    • Students with disabilities graduating at institutions of higher education (excluding Stellenbosch University) show a similar lack of improvement, and has in fact worsened from 995 (2008), to 904 (2009) and 801 (2010)
              7. Adult Education
                • The Kha Ri Gude Mass Adult Literacy Campaign, launched in 2008, has achieved exceptional results in terms of training adults with disabilities. The programme distributed Perkins braillers, braillette boards, ping-pong balls, shapes, talking calculators and Braille paper to learners with visual disabilities.
                • 129,121 adults with disabilities enrolled between 2008 and 2011.  A total of 43,135 (33%) had visual disabilities, 18,092 (14%) were deaf, 28,498 (22%) had physical disabilities, and 13,544 (0.1%) had disabilities not specified
                • 3,843 adults with disabilities were involved in the training programme as tutors and supervisors between 2008 and 2011.
              1. The DBE introduced the Learner Unit Record Information Tracking System (LURITS) in 2008 to track individual learners (including learners with disabilities). It should however be noted that the quality of the data is not in all cases reliable and up to date and currently focuses on tracking only learners who are enrolled in special schools.
              1. There is also no reliable system in place to track children with disabilities who are out of school and/or have been denied admission to school.  This will receive urgent attention.

              Implementation of Inclusive Education (Education White Paper 6)

              1. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 stipulates that the provisioning of basic education is a concurrent national and provincial function.  So although the national policy framework promotes primary and secondary education of all children and youth (including those with disabilities) in one system, this is not always carried through at the provincial level where new segregated special schools (in many cases with residential facilities) are still being built, leading to separation of children with disabilities from their families and communities. Criteria for eligibility to be admitted to special schools have been developed to ensure that these schools in the medium to long term only cater for learners with very high level support needs and also serve a dual function as resource centres.
              2. Legislative and policy barriers to the inclusion of children, youth and adults with disabilities in early childhood development, primary, secondary, post-secondary and adult education have to a large degree been removed but need to be further strengthened through regulations to strengthen provisioning and enforcement. 
              3. It is acknowledged that although the policy framework is in place, challenges remain with implementation, with the result that a large percentage of children with disabilities are currently either completely excluded from compulsory education, or unable to effectively access the curriculum in either special school or ordinary school settings.
              4. Significant challenges are still being experienced in providing appropriate support to learners with disabilities in both special schools as well as ordinary school environments.  The National Strategy on Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (SIAS), currently being finalised, is a response to this and will require that support is no longer organised according to category of disability but according to level and nature of support needs, and will drive the implementation of inclusive education policies.  The strategy should be implemented by 2014. The SIAS strategy will overhaul the process of identifying, assessing and enrolling of learners in special schools and to curb the unnecessary placement of learners in special schools; improve the nature and quality of support that has to be provided to learners who require additional support; strengthen early identification; and strengthen the central role that parents and teachers play in implementing the strategy as well as on the alignment of services by various government sectors.
              5. The curriculum offered at special schools is currently under review to ensure that more learners are encouraged to follow academic programmes which do offer access to higher education learning opportunities and positively impacts on the percentage of young adults who can enter the formal job market.
              6. The support outlined in SIAS includes the following:
                    • Accommodation to assure physical access to the school and classroom, including accessible transport and other technical support. The measures are reinforced through norms and incremental increase in budgets dedicated for this purpose.
                    • Strengthening the capacity of school managers and districts in the procurement, management and maintenance of assistive devices and technology with regard to assistive technologies for communication and other instructional purposes.
                    • Utilisation of para-professionals or peers, on an as-needed basis for the implementation of Individual Support Plans which outlines the frequency and intensity with which professionals such as therapists and part time learning support facilitators should provide individual support in the face of the shortage of specialists in rural areas. A model has been developed for a peripatetic service to be rendered.
                    • Appropriate provision of supports such as sign language interpretation, Braille training and associated equipment and materials, and other individualized supports is currently being addressed through short-term interventions and the development of a system for sustainable provision.
              7. It is acknowledged that the incremental implementation of White Paper 6 over 20 years is not compliant with Section 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, which requires of the state to implement measures and make budgetary allocations to give effect to the right as a matter of priority, and as such requires urgent revision.
              8. It is furthermore acknowledged that the scale for the first stage of implementation of inclusive education was too small and the time frame too extended to make a significant impact and to ensure that all learners with disabilities have access to free education in an inclusive education system. 
              9. The absence of stronger legislative measures, weak monitoring systems and lack of funding norms to ensure that more dedicated funding would be redirected to mainstream education and support, led to an increase of learners not necessarily requiring very specialised or high levels of support being referred to and admitted to special schools.
              10. In spite of several measures taken, there are still insufficient legal actions introduced against ordinary schools that exclude learners with disabilities and refer them to segregated special education without having taken any steps to introduce reasonable accommodation.  The Equality Court judgement in the Oortman case in 20105 therefore set an important legal precedent.
              11. The implementation of the policy was furthermore significantly impeded by the fact that it has not been seen as a central driving force of educational change as intended. Support from various levels of the education system has been limited. This has, and continues to contribute to the observed slow, poorly coordinated, unsystematic implementation of inclusion in most provinces. Up to 2012, inclusive education has not been mainstreamed in most of the intervention programmes and senior managers within departments have therefore not been held accountable for implementing the policy directives.  This is of particular importance in the context of the significant challenges the school education system are facing in general, with poor outcomes, a lack of culture of learning and teaching in large numbers of schools, large numbers of under-qualified teachers and poor infrastructure in many schools.
              12. The introduction of the policy of inclusive education mainly targeted the general education band, and to a limited extent the Reception Year intake (part of Early Childhood Development, which are in more detail discussed under Article 7).
              13. In the first stage of policy implementation (2002–2009) 30 of the 81 districts in the country were targeted for development, utilising predominantly donor funding - 
                    • 30 ordinary schools were selected in the poorest parts of the country for conversion into full-service schools to serve as model sites of full inclusion. 
                    • 34 special schools were selected for upgrading and conversion into resource centres.
                    • An extensive public advocacy campaign was launched as reported under Article 8.
                    • In all 30 districts transversal district-based support teams were established and trained to provide support services in an integrated way, thus maximizing existing services through coordination and inter-sectoral collaboration.
              14. A comprehensive audit of all special schools conducted in 2002 to determine where schools were dysfunctional, under-resourced, lacked training and needed upgrading or other interventions, including addressing abuse of learners, revealed huge disparities in provision and quality between schools in urban and metropolitan areas and those in townships and especially rural areas.
                    • The audit found 135 special schools highly neglected and dysfunctional.  Neglect led to high incidents of learner abuse, buildings falling apart especially hostels, no effective teaching and learning, no appropriate and effective support to learners and in many instances, a total breakdown in the culture of learning.
                    • In 60% of districts in the country, there were no special schools at all. The National Treasury made additional funds available in 2006– 2011 for the improvement of the most neglected special schools, training of teachers and provision of assistive devices and specialised equipment. As part of this programme, more new special schools were also built.
                    • During this period attention has been given to up-scaling strategies for provincial implementation of inclusive education, increasing the number of ordinary schools to be converted into full service schools from 30 to 513, strengthening of transversal support structures at all levels such as district and school support teams through the creation of more specialist posts, training on inclusive education, screening, identification, assessment and support, curriculum differentiation, use of assistive technology and other areas of specialisation.
                    • 912 learners in 34 schools have received appropriate assistive devices that will enable them to access education and become integrated into society.  
              15. The South African government re-confirmed its commitment to the implementation of the policy by recognising inclusive education as a national priority area in education and allocating approximately USD250m over four years (2008 – 2012) for taking the system to scale. 
              16. At least 30% of the budget allocated by the National Treasury has been made available to raise standards of physical infrastructure and curriculum delivery to improve quality teaching and learning.  Regrettably, more than 50% were spent on other priority areas at the provincial level and only 5 of the 9 provinces have utilised the funding made available for the expansion of inclusive education. As a consequence the impact of the programme was seriously compromised. Steps are currently being taken by the Department of Basic Education to improve accountability measures in provincial departments of education and to raise the level of awareness about the critical need to strengthen this sector.
              17. The education and health authorities are rolling out an Integrated National School Health Programme through which mass screening has been conducted in the poorest schools in the country to identify disabilities and other developmental delays. Since the inception of the programme in 2010, more than 200,000 children have been screened. Once identified, they will be more fully assessed through the SIAS process to ensure that they acquire relevant support in their local schools.
              18. The right to early identification and assessment is however not yet universal and availability of support and services is limited due to a shortage of health professionals in especially rural areas.  Early Childhood Educators are also incrementally being trained on strategies for early identification and intervention.

              Reasonable accommodation and provision of effective individualised support measures

              1. Section 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 guarantees the right to receive education in the official language of choice in public educational institutions. In order to ensure the effective access to, and implementation of, this right, the state must consider all reasonable educational alternatives, taking into account equity, practicability and the need to redress the results of past racially discriminatory laws and practices.  Subsection 2 requires education to be provided in a language that ensures effective and equitable access to that education, which may include sign language and braille.
              2. Section 12 of the Schools Act 84, 1996 places an obligation on Members of Executive Councils responsible for education at provincial level, to ensure that these learners be provided with the relevant support services and that reasonable measures should be taken to ensure that physical facilities at public schools are accessible to persons with disabilities. It is acknowledged that large disparities continue to exist between provinces, as well as between rural and urban areas –
                    • The Eastern Cape has 3 designated resource centres, 18 designated full service schools, 4 accessible full service schools, 23 functional District Based Support Teams but a shortage of therapists employed at district level.
                    • Gauteng Province has 15 designated resource centres and 68 designated full service schools, but only 7 accessible full service schools. The province has 188 inclusive education officials employed at district level, as well as 15 functional District Based Support Teams.
                    • Limpopo Province has 6 designated resource centres and 11 accessible full service schools; a further 11 schools have been designated as full service schools, 5 inclusive education officials are employed at district level and there are no fully functional District Based Support Teams.
                    • The Free State Province has 87 inclusive education officials employed at district level and 3 functional District Based Support Teams; only 3 designated resource centres, 2 accessible full service schools and has commenced with converting 26 further designated full service schools.
                    • The Northern Cape has 1 accessible and 4 further designated full service schools, as well as 4 designated resource centres, there are 37 inclusive education officials employed at district level. The province is putting in place functional District Based Support Teams in 5 districts.
                    • Mpumalanga has 21 designated resource centres and 141 designated full service schools of which only 1 is accessible. The province has 39 inclusive education officials employed at district level and are strengthening 4 District Based Support Teams.
                    • KwaZulu-Natal has 14 designated resource centres, 120 designated and 50 accessible full service schools; and has 33 inclusive education officials employed at district level and 12 functional District Based Support Teams.
                    • The Western Cape has 24 designated resource centres, 122 designated full service schools of which 14 are accessible, 76 inclusive education officials employed at district level and 8 functional District Based Support Teams.
                    • The North West has 8 designated resource centres, 224 designated full service schools, 112 accessible full service schools, 47 inclusive education officials employed at district level; and is strengthening 4 District Based Support Teams.
              3. Several policy implementation guidelines have been made available to managers across the education system to develop a common understanding of the concept ��reasonable accommodation�� in education. These include the Guidelines for Inclusive Teaching and Learning (2009), the National Strategy on Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (2008), the Guidelines to Ensure Quality Education and Support in Special Schools and Special School Resource Centres (2007), the Guidelines for Full-Service/Inclusive Schools (2010), and the Guidelines for Responding to Learner Diversity in the Classroom (2011).  
              4. A National Protocol on Assessment (2011) and the Policy on the Conduct of Assessment (currently being reviewed) include chapters on Adapted Methods of Assessment for system wide implementation from Grade R to Grade 12. The policy not only addresses adaptations and concessions in final examinations but throughout the teaching and learning process and in continuous assessment.
              5. There are no accurate statistics available on the percentage of schools that comply with norms for environmental accessibility. A survey of 25,156 ordinary schools conducted by the Department of Education across all nine provinces in 2006, revealed that 97,1% had no accessible toilets and 97,8% had no ramps.
              6. A total of 202 ordinary schools have been upgraded to improve physical access and to serve as model full-service/inclusive schools between 2006 and 2011.  These schools were also supplied with a wide range of assistive technology and teachers were trained on basic principles and practices of inclusive education.  Provinces have committed funds to convert a further 553 selected schools for conversion to full-service schools by 2014.  An audit is to be conducted to determine to what extent the upgraded infrastructure complies with the national building regulations.
              7. The drafted Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure currently out for public consultation does not integrate universal design principles, and will be amended before approval.
              8. Learners with physical disabilities who are unable to make use of ordinary minibus taxis or school buses are currently excluded from scholar transport provided to learners whose homesteads are more than 4km from their nearest school. Accessible and affordable scholar transport poses a significant barrier to access to education, and the scholar transport policy currently being developed will incorporate norms and standards for accessibility.
              9. The 2009 DBE audit of all (22) schools for learners with visual disabilities culminated in the implementation of a strategy for improving quality of teaching and learning at these schools as well as introducing support measures in ordinary schools.
                    • In 2011, training of school managers to improve quality of curriculum delivery in these schools, took place.
                    • The University of Pretoria has developed a short course in the field for introduction in 2013 and which could be expanded to a full qualification at post-graduate level. The aim is to ensure that 700 out of 900 teachers teaching in schools specialising in visual impairment have knowledge of Braille by 2014.
                    • The changes in the curriculum resulted in a delay of issuing Braille and large print textbooks to learners with visual disabilities in both special and ordinary schools. Donor funding has been made available to expedite the adaptation and printing of the Learner Workbooks for grades R–9 in Braille as well as textbooks and prescribed works. Progress has been delayed because of lack of capacity in the national Braille printing facilities. The investigation into the status of Braille production in the country reported on earlier, with a view to establish a national facility, should alleviate this challenge. Negotiations are underway with the publishing industry to make prescribed works and textbooks available in digital format.
              10. Children with disabilities who are also incontinent experience major challenges in both ordinary and special schools.  The roll-out of incontinence clinics at special schools, initiated by parents organisation PACSEN with private sector support, and subsequently followed through by a few provinces, require more focused attention.
              11. A Curriculum for South African Sign Language is currently being drafted by a Ministerial Task Team for introduction into the system in 2014. Once this curriculum is completed Higher Education Institutions will be required to increase the number of teacher training courses for teachers using Sign Language as medium of instruction across subject fields as well as for the introduction of South African Sign Language as a subject within the National Curriculum Statement. Currently there are only 3 teacher training programmes for Sign Language, namely at Free State University, University of the Witwatersrand and UNISA.
              12. The National Treasury has committed to prioritise funds to ensure that more accessible learning and teaching support materials are made available at ordinary and special schools that include learners with visual and hearing disabilities. No specific provision has as yet been made for learners who are deaf-blind.
              13. It is expected that the initiatives mentioned above will improve the availability of Braille and teachers training in Braille as well as in Sign Language. The Guidelines for Responding to Learner Diversity in the Classroom will also support teachers to create enabling learning environments and accessible teaching and learning materials. Appropriate augmentative and alternative communication devices and training for teachers have been introduced and this training will be expanded to more schools over the next three years.
              14. It should be noted that only USD 57,8 million of the USD 68,750 million budget for ��Inclusive Education�� by provincial government departments in the 2012/13 financial year, was allocated for the expansion of inclusive education.  The balance was for special school financing. 
              15. Schools in the country are classified in terms of poverty. The methodology applied in determining the relative poverty of schools for the purpose of quintile placement (the geographical location of the school and the relative poverty of the surrounding community) is not suitable to be used for special schools because a sizable number of learners enrolled at special schools are from outside the surrounding community.  Funding for special schools is therefore not differentiated in terms of poverty related criteria. Possible poverty targeting of special schools with consequent possible differentiation in funding of special schools based on this poverty targeting as well as subsequent subsidization of the loss of income due to fee exemption are aspects which are being considered in developing funding strategies applicable to special schools. 

              Educator and Auxiliary Staff Development

              1. The National Policy Framework for Teacher Education (2007) determines that the identification and addressing of barriers to learning should be a key component of all teacher education at pre-service and in-service levels. The Draft Policy on the Minimum Requirements for Teacher Education Qualifications (2010) emphasises the critical need for all teachers to be conversant with the requirements of implementing inclusive education practice. The need has also been identified for reintroducing teacher education certificates with specialisation in areas such as education of learners with hearing and visual disabilities and learners with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and intellectual Impairment.  The National Strategy for Continued Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) emphasises inclusive education as a priority area and the Minister of Basic Education has set the goal of ensuring that at least one educator in each of the 26,000 schools in the country is trained to screen and support learners who experience barriers to learning by 2014.
              2. The Guidelines for Inclusive Teaching and Learning (2010) and the Guidelines for Responding to Learner Diversity through the National Curriculum Statement (2011) have been utilised as a manual for training educators undergoing orientation to implement the National Curriculum Statement Grades R–12. Inclusivity has been reconfirmed as a key principle of the National Curriculum Statement Grades R–12 completed in 2011.  The programme aims at deepening educators�� understanding of the principles and practice of curriculum differentiation and inclusive classroom management.
              3. Lack of qualified and skilled educators is not only a challenge in ordinary schools, but in particular also in special schools:
                    • 59 special schools providing education for learners with visual and hearing disabilities lack qualified teachers;
                    • There are 781 educators with basic Braille knowledge but without any qualification;
                    • 89 teachers educators visually impaired learners do not have any knowledge of Braille at all;
                    • 985 educators teaching Deaf learners know basic South African Language but without qualifications;
                    • 266 educators (21%) teaching Deaf learners have no South African Sign Language knowledge at all.
              4. More than 39,515 educators and 7,148 officials received in-service training between 2008 and 2011 on the key policy implementation guidelines listed above. These guidelines introduce radically new approaches to determine the measures for reasonable accommodation needed by learners with disabilities and for making the curriculum accessible. In addition, 8,696 schools established School-based Support Teams and 16,672 team members received training; 1,415 Learning Support Educators were appointed and trained, and 7,148 district officials received training.
              5. The national inclusive education advocacy strategy will be strengthened with the aim of mobilising communities to be inclusive and capacitating parents, parent organisations and organisations of and for persons with disabilities as key partners of government.

              Post School Education

              1. Section 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 guarantees the right to further education, which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible. 
              2. The Department of Basic Education in 2011 introduced the process of developing a skills and vocational orientated exit level qualification at Grade 9 level for learners with intellectual disabilities which would enable them to enter into the world of work or in further vocational training programmes at Further Education and Training level.
              3. It is acknowledged that Further Education and Training (FET) colleges lag behind in creating barrier free access and inclusive environments.  This is receiving attention.
              4. The research findings and recommendations contained in the 2011 Disability in Higher Education Report based on research commissioned by the now disbanded The Disability in Higher Education Project was mandated by the Foundation of Tertiary Institutions of the Northern Metropolis (FOTIM), taken further by Higher Education Disability South Africa (HEDSA), representing Disability Units at universities, contributed significantly to policy development and implementation.
              5. The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) consulted in 2012 on the Green Paper for Post School Education and Training, which states that ��The DHET will works towards developing a National Disability Policy and Strategic Framework which will seek to create an enabling and empowering environment across the system for staff and students with disabilities.  Institutions may then customise the policy in line with their institutional plans as the policy will act as a benchmark for good practice��.
              6. Support services are available through disability rights units at 11 Higher Education Institutions for students with disabilities, albeit at various levels of development. A unit has been established in the DHET to expand these services to all Universities and other Higher Education Institutions, and the Department is in the process of establishing a Task Team to accelerate inclusive practices across this sector.  
              7. The DHET allocated USD 15,479 million for disability equity funding as part of the 2012/13-2013/14 infrastructure funding allocation for institutions of higher education.  It is noted that not all universities applied for funding to improve/expand facilities and infrastructure for students and staff with disabilities.  Going forward, all universities are required to provide a universal access infrastructure audit before 31 January 2014 to enable the DHET to consolidate and finalise the costing of a universal access infrastructure plan for universities.
              8. The former Department of Education (now DHET) introduced a bursary scheme for students with disabilities studying at one of the 23 public higher education institutions in 2008 to provide financial support for students with disabilities who are academically able but need financial aid. The bursary covers, among others, tuition, books and other study materials, accommodation, and important, transport as well as assistive device or human support required to access the curriculum.  The scheme is administered by the National Student Finance Scheme (NSFAS), which annually publishes updated Guidelines for Students with Disabilities for the Department of Higher Education and Training Bursary programme
              9. The Government of South Africa acknowledges the need to prioritise the unacceptable sustained high levels of abuse of especially girls with disabilities taking place within special schools in particular and will accelerate actions aimed at putting in place a multi-sectoral programme to eradicate this scourge from our schools.
              10. It furthermore acknowledges the need to place inclusive education at the centre of education reform in South Africa. This requires that meaningful participation by organisations of and for persons with disabilities, and parents organisations in particular in the planning, implementation and monitoring impact of interventions and campaigns be strengthened going forward. The DBE has therefore declared 2013 The Year of Inclusive Education. 


              1.  ARTICLE 25:  Health
              1. Section 27 of the Constitution, guarantees the right of every South African to health care services, including reproductive health care.
              2. The National Health Act, 2003, the Mental Health Care Act, 2002, the Sterilisation Act, 1998 and the Medical Schemes Act, 1998 and related policies and protocols governs health care to South Africans.
              3. The National Health Act, 2003 regulates national health and to provide uniformity in respect of health services across the nation by establishing a national health system which encompasses both public and private providers of health services.  Subsection 2(c)(iv) identifies persons with disabilities as a designated group whose constitutional right of access to health care services, including reproductive health care, to be protected, respected, promoted and fulfilled.  Subsection 70(1) furthermore requires that research priorities include the health needs of, among others, persons with disabilities, as well as contributing to the prevention of, among others, disability (subsection 73(2)(a).
              4. The Medical Schemes Act, 1998 provides among others for the registration and control of medical schemes and the protection of the interests of members of medical schemes. Section 24(2)(e) rules out unfair discrimination on the grounds of disability. 
              5. As discussed under Articles 12, 14, 15, 17, 19 and 23, both the Mental Health Care Act, 2002 and the Sterilisation Act, 1998 require review to bring it in line with the CRPD.
              6. All health (inclusive of rehabilitation) services at the primary level of care (at a home based or community level) are free.  Persons with disabilities who meet nationally determined criteria for eligibility based on household income, are able to access free health care and rehabilitation services at a hospital level in the public sector. 
              7. Health treatment is provided to persons with disabilities on the basis of their free and informed consent.  The National Health Act, 2003 emphasises the importance of obtaining the user��s consent to a health service and that the health care provider must take all reasonable steps to make sure that the user makes an informed decision. The Act provides for informed consent by a person with legal capacity to do so, and invokes the Mental Health Care Act, 2002, when a person does not have legal capacity.  Review of the Mental Health Care Act, 2002 will therefore bring the National Health Act, 2003 in line with the CRPD.
              8. Various protocols have been developed to facilitate early detection to prevent and minimise the emergence of secondary disabilities. The Human Genetics Policy Guidelines for the Management and Prevention of Genetic Disorders, Birth Defects and Disabilities focuses both on prevention of disability through genetic counselling as well as management of disabilities once identified.  Whilst the Policy requires urgent review to bring it in line with the CRPD, it should also be noted that these guidelines, as with other protocols, lack effective implementation due to, among others, lack of availability of appropriately trained human resources, high turn-over of specialised personnel within the public health sector and poor living conditions for people discharged from hospital.  There is furthermore currently no system in place which tracks and refers persons, and especially children, who have been identified either at risk of acquiring a disability, or have been diagnosed with a disability, through the health system, between the health system and other services such as social security, skills development, education and early childhood development; or between health services and disability service organisations.  The lack of such a system places a disproportionate emotional and financial responsibility on already over-burdened and impoverished families, lock persons with disabilities in a social security trap, and often cause secondary disabilities.
              9. As discussed under Article 9, accessibility to health facilities for persons with disabilities in general remain a major challenge, due to, among others, lack of access to the physical environment, lack of access to information in accessible formats, discriminatory and negative attitudes towards persons with disabilities displayed by health and support personnel, lack of appropriately trained and skilled health personnel pertaining disability, lack of effective appeal and reporting mechanisms in the health sector where a client��s rights have been infringed upon, aggravated by challenges outside the health sector such as inaccessible and unaffordable transport, in particular in rural and impoverished communities.
              10. Consistent reporting of violation of the rights of persons with psycho-social disabilities in mental health care facilities, as well as frequent unavailability of psychotropic medication at primary health care level in particular in rural areas, is receiving attention.
              11. In acknowledgement of the significant challenges facing the health system, and as an integral component of the planning of full-scale roll-out of National Health Insurance, a National Health Facility Baseline Audit of 4,210 public health facilities (including clinics, community health centres and district, regional, specialised and tertiary hospitals) in all nine provinces was commissioned and is currently being finalised.  The scope of the audit includes, among others, the range of health services provided, the state of the physical infrastructure in terms of condition, safety and compliance with building regulations, the degree of compliance of the values and attitude of staff with national quality standards, the allocation and availability of human resources in the various categories of occupation and skills breakdown.
              12. The National Health Amendment Bill, 2011, currently before Parliament for consideration, once passed, makes provision for the establishment of the Office of Standards Compliance follows government`s commitment to improve the quality of healthcare in public health facilities and the strengthening of health systems effectiveness through enhanced accountability by ensuring that complaints from healthcare users are independently investigated as well as advising the Minister of Health on the development of standards, norms and quality management systems for the national health system; inspect and certify health establishments as compliant with prescribed norms and standards; and monitor indicators of risk as an early warning system relating to breaches of standards.
              13. Weak to non-existent partnerships between the health system and organisations of and for persons with disabilities at all levels of service delivery, has detracted from the impact of efforts made to ensure that health promotion programmes and campaigns are accessible to persons with disabilities, and in particular to people with visual, hearing and intellectual disabilities through publication of information in Braille, cartoons, audio, different official languages as well as subsidisation of organisations of and for persons with disabilities.
              14. South Africa has one of highest HIV prevalence in the world. The activism of organisations of persons with disabilities over the past 10 years has raised awareness of not only the prevalence of HIV and AIDS among persons with disabilities, but also the challenges they experience in accessing preventative information and effective treatment as a result of attitudinal and communication barriers.  The partnership between the disability sector through the South African Disability Alliance (SADA), the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), Office on Status of Disabled People (OSDP), and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) culminated in the Report on HIV, AIDS and Disability in South Africa, published by the South African National Aids Council (SANAC) 2008.
              15. The National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS, STIs and TB, 2012-2016, recognises the relationship between disability and HIV, and provides for the removal of communication, physical and attitudinal barriers which detract from equal access to prevention campaigns, counselling and treatment.
              16. In the 2009 Report on the Public Inquiry on the Right to Health, the South African Human Rights Commission made a number of recommendations with regards ensuring that all health care facilities being physically accessible for persons with disabilities.  The following progress has been recorded against the recommendations contained in the report:
                1. Budget and resource allocations to mental healthcare should be reviewed and addressed accordingly -  Due to the integrated nature of the budget it has been difficult to quantify expenditure for mental health services.
                2. There should be substantial mental health research that clearly quantifies varying mental disabilities by region for resource allocation - The department collaborates with various research institutions on mental health research.
                3. Mental healthcare facilities and services by trained staff should be available throughout the country at a community level - Community based services are developed by provinces incrementally as recommended by mental health policy.
                4. There should be incentives to train and retain psychiatric staff in public sector -  The Minister of Health launched the Health Sector Human Resources Strategy 2012/13-2016/17 in October 2011. Mental health practitioners�� training is prioritised. The recently introduced ��occupation specific dispensation�� has improved the retention of practitioners except for psychiatric nurses where there were problems with the translation of the policy. This is being addressed through a review process.
                5. There should be consistent access to prescribed medicine for persons with disabilities -  Chronic medication for those who need monthly supplies is pre-packed and distributed monthly. There is also prescribed minimum benefits expected from medical schemes that address chronic medication as well.
                6. The nursing staff should be trained on sensitivities and symptoms of different disabilities -  Nurses�� training has incorporated a module on disability and nurses are placed in rehabilitation units during their training. Sensitivity training for health workers is done on an on-going basis.
                7. There should be awareness programmes at a community level that seeks to eliminate discrimination and stigmatisation around mental health so that people with mental disabilities requiring treatment can access services - The department provides financial resources for advocacy and creating public awareness on mental health through a National Treasury approved grant to the South African Federation for Mental Health.  All health care points also conduct public education campaigns during dedicated dates and months indicated in the health calendar.
                8. There should be relevant considerations for clients with disabilities when issuing wheelchairs rather than a one-size-sits-all approach - All assistive devices in the department are prescribed and fitted by appropriately trained professionals. The department also has seating specialists who go around training others on the science of seating.  It is acknowledged, as discussed under Article 26, that significant challenges remain with regards equal access.
                9. Healthcare facilities should be technologically advanced so that new technologies are introduced as they emerge to facilitate the highest quality of health - The department has embraced the use of technology in healthcare and the many facilities have state of the art technology. For instance more than 90% of all hearing aids issued as well as the diagnostic equipment is digital. Mayo-electrical technology has also been introduced for fitting artificial limbs in some major centres in South Africa.
                10. The code of conduct for healthcare staff should be monitored. The quality of services and implementation of policy should be monitored. The client feedback mechanism must be monitored - The Office of Standards Compliance will look at all service standards, including conduct of healthcare personnel. The Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and the SA Nursing Council are also responsible for disciplining errant practitioners and the public has direct access to these bodies.
                11. Guidelines for the treatment of vulnerable groups and individuals should be developed to ensure acceptable quality of treatment for all health care users – As alluded to earlier, the guidelines are in place, but require review to ensure compliance with the CRPD and attention is required for strengthening implementation thereof and public access thereto.


              1.  Article 26:  Habilitation and Rehabilitation
              1. Rehabilitation services in South Africa are provided by the Departments of Health, Education, Social Development and organisations of and for persons with disabilities.  Habilitation support is discussed under Article 19.
              2. Poverty is a major barrier for persons with disabilities and their families in accessing rehabilitation services, even where these are available at community level, and in particular to specialised services available in only major centres, due to the high cost and inaccessibility of public transport, lack of accessible information on what services are available where, and poor referral services within the health sector, but also between the health sector, the social security system, social development services, the education system and employment and skills development programmes.
              3. The shortage of qualified rehabilitation practitioners in the public sector in general, and in rural districts and communities in particular, detracts from both rehabilitation outcomes as well as access to basic early identification and intervention -
                1. The number of qualified rehabilitation practitioners registered with the HPCSA as at March 2012, with those working in the public service in brackets, is:
                    • 3816 (794) Occupational Therapists(OT); 344 OT Assistants; and 354 OT Technicians
                    • 6162 (1040) Physiotherapists and 270 Physiotherapy assistants
                    • 2267 (403) Audiologists/ speech therapists and 22 community speech/hearing workers;
                    • 419 Medical orthotists and prosthetists and 57 Orthopaedic footwear technicians;
                    • 369 Psychologists
                2. A major challenge remains the unequal access to services between the public and private sector.  As at August 2012,
                    • there was on average one occupational therapist per 14 500 population, and one physiotherapist per 9 000 population;
                    • in the public sector there was one occupational therapist per 53 000 population, and one physiotherapist per 50 000 population;
                    • in the private sector, there was one occupational therapist per 2 800 population, and one physiotherapist per 600 population;
                3. The Tshwane University of Technology is currently the only institution that trains medical orthotists/prosthetists in South Africa. The intake of students was capped at 25 per annum due to capacity problems but this is due to increase to 30 and grow on an annual basis. The Walter Sisulu University (WSU) and the Durban University of Technology are currently in the process of introducing new training programmes in Medical Orthotics/prosthetics. The WSU is in the process of obtaining accreditation from the Health Professions Council of South Africa and the Council on Higher Education.
                4. There are about sixty (60) orientation and mobility instructors practising in South Africa. Almost all of them are employed by NGOs that receive some funding from provincial health departments, but relies on the majority of their funding from corporate funders. The Department of Health is working with the College of Orientation and Mobility, a programme of the SA Guide Dogs Association, to increase capacity to produce more instructors. The Department is also working with other stakeholders to clear the way for public sector employment by addressing accreditation issues with both the sector as well as the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
              4. Rehabilitation services offered by the Department of Health are guided by the National Rehabilitation Policy (2006).  This policy adopts Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) as the underlying philosophy to the provision of rehabilitation services.
              5. All nine provinces have rehabilitation programmes within the Primary Health Care or related programmes.  The availability and quality of rehabilitation services offered by the Department of Health however varies significantly across provinces as well as between districts and health service points within provinces, with emphasis on the types of rehabilitation services varying greatly. 
              6. The National Integrated Strategy of Offenders and Policy Procedures of Offenders provides for the rehabilitation of offenders whilst incarcerated to strengthen re-integration post incarceration. It is however acknowledged that not all attitudinal, physical and communication barriers have been addressed to ensure that offenders with disabilities have equal access to such programmes.
              7. Particular challenges are reported with persistent long waiting lists as well as waiting periods for assistive devices, and poor access to maintenance services both in the health and educator sector.  Progress has been made in building the capacity of therapists to provide more specialised seating services for especially children with physical disabilities.
              8. Public sector financial support for community-based rehabilitation services through the health authorities are currently restricted to three (3) provinces, namely Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Western Cape, with Mpumalanga providing the most extensive programme through a contract with Disabled People South Africa.
              9. The Department of Social Development funds day care centres and home based care projects through financial subsidies to 91 organisations of and for persons with disabilities, benefiting 4,161 children with disabilities in day care centres.  Support for 41 home based care projects benefits 1,134 persons. 
              10. The National Development Plan (2012) notes that the current model of shifting the burden of care, treatment and rehabilitation to the non-governmental sector and the poorest communities is not working, and that statutory services for, among others, children and adults with disabilities need well-conceived state and community interventions.
              11. It is acknowledged that challenges exist with inter-sectoral funding of community-based rehabilitation services and this will be given priority attention to ensure equitable roll-out to all nine provinces over the next few years.


              1. ARTICLE 27: Work and employment
              1. The Labour Relations Act, 1995, the Employment Equity Act, 1998 and the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, 2003, give effect to the equality clause and the right to fair labour practices contained in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, as well as the international norms in respect of fair labour treatment of persons with disabilities. The Technical Assistance Guidelines on the Employment of People with Disabilities published by the Department of Labour, complements the Code of Good Practice on the Employment of People with Disabilities, 2002 to assist with the practical implementation of aspects of the Employment Equity Act, 1998 relating to the employment of people with disabilities in the workplace. It builds on the Code to set out practical guidelines and examples for employers, employees and trade unions on how to promote equality, diversity and fair treatment in employment through the elimination of unfair discrimination.
              2. It is acknowledged that, despite enable legislation establishing reasonable accommodation mechanisms as well as targets for the economic empowerment of persons with disabilities, insufficient progress is being made in translating these into economic independence for persons with disabilities due to the lack of access to the built environment and public transport, the inter-sectionality between poverty and disability, as well as persistent attitudinal and communication barriers.  The particular challenges experienced by persons with psycho-social disabilities due to stigma and ignorance pertaining reasonable accommodation measures required, are also acknowledged.

              Employment Equity for Persons with Disabilities

              1. The Employment Equity Act, 1998 requires of designated employers, i.e. employers employing more than 50 employees, to develop and submit annual employment equity plans and reports to the Department of Labour.  These plans should include self-determined targets for, among others, the employment of persons with disabilities, as well as reasonable accommodation measures that will be undertaken. 
              2. The Commission for Employment Equity Annual Report (2011/12), reporting on employment equity progress amongst designated employers (employers employing more than 150 employees), notes the slow pace of improvement in the employment of persons with disabilities in both the public and private sector over the past 4 years with 2007/08 reported 0,5%, 2009/10 reported 0,9% and 2011/12 reported 0,8%. 
                    • Persons with disabilities accounted for approximately 0.8% (43,666) of the total number of employees by all employers in 2011/12, down from 0.83% (43,913) in 2010/11.
                    • More than 60% of employees with disabilities occupy semi-skilled, unskilled position and temporary positions in 2011/12;
                • Persons with disabilities constitute 1,9% of top management against 1,4% in 2010/11;
                • Persons with disabilities constituted 1,2% of senior management, the same as in 2010/11;
                • Persons with disabilities in the professionally qualified category constituted 1% of the total work force, the same as in 2010/11;
                • Persons with disabilities constituted 0,8% of the skilled workforce, the same as in 2010/11.
              3. The public sector, as a designated employer, set its employment equity target for 2005 at 2% of the total work force.  It has had to extend this target annually due to the slow progress being made, with a final deadline for the attainment of the 2% target set for March 2013 –
                    • Disability representation within the public service improved from 0,16% in December 2005 to 0,32% in 2010/11 and 0,36% in 2011/12;
                    • 4,830 persons with disabilities out of a total workforce of 1,316,564 were employed in the public service by March 2012. 1,955 (40,4%) of the latter were female and 2,875 (59,6%) were male.  This represented an increase of 427 persons with disabilities in the 12 month period (out of a total of 11,027 positions that were filled between April 2011 and March 2012);
                    • Senior managers with disabilities increased from 62 (0,7%) to 67 (0,8%) between April 2011 and March 2012, constituting 5 of the 386 (1,3%) vacancies filled at this level being filled by persons with disabilities;
                    • Middle managers with disabilities increased from 190 (0,9%) to 192 (0,9%), constituting 2 of the 250 (0,8%) vacancies filled at this level being filled by persons with disabilities;
                    • 102 national and provincial departments did not achieve the 2% target by March 2012;
                    • 16 (8 national and 8 provincial) departments met the 2% target in 2011/12, compared with only 10 in 2010/11. 
                    • 49 departments had disability representation of between 1-2% at the end of 2011/12 compared to 45 in 2010/11;
                    • 81 (22 national and 59 provincial) departments had representation below 1% by March 2012, compared to 91 at the end of March 2011;
              1. The slow progress reported above is of particular concern in light of the concerted efforts made by Parliament and the Public Service Commission (PSC) as part of their oversight responsibilities, the inclusion of the target in President Zuma��s 2012 State of the Nation Address, as well as efforts by the Department of Public Service Administration and the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities to strengthen support and oversight towards attainment of the 2% target.  The PSC provided practical guidance with regards steps that should be taken by national and provincial government departments in its 2006 Audit of Affirmative Action in the Public Service and 2008 Assessment on Disability Equity in the Public Service. These reports were handed over to Parliament and Provincial Legislatures to support them in performing their oversight role and copies were also provided to all Executive Authorities and Heads of Departments in the Public Service.   
              2. Initiatives since 2008 to address policy compliance with regard to representation of persons with disabilities in the public sector have included:
                1. The JobACCESS Strategic Framework for the Recruitment, Employment and Retention of Persons with Disabilities in the Public Service Workplace (2009). A baseline study to assess how the Framework has been used by departments to guide their planning and programmes will be conducted in the next financial year.
                2. The Handbook on Reasonable Accommodation for People with Disabilities in the Public Service (2007). This handbook will be reviewed to align it to the Policy on Reasonable Accommodation and Assistive Devices, once finalised, to incorporate the funding model for assistive devices.
                3. Capacity development - An accredited training course in Disability Management based on the JobAccess Strategic Framework was developed in 2011 by Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA). The purpose of this training course is to provide officials with skills that would contribute to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workplace, and remove barriers that prevent their successful participation in the job market. The pilot training started in October 2011 and will run until 31 March 2013. 574 officials have undergone training to date.
                4. Targeted Recruitment - The strategy also advocates for the establishment of a database for persons with disabilities which is intended to assist in widening the pool from which to recruit persons with disabilities for employment in the Public Service. Furthermore, departments are encouraged, in their targeted recruitment drive, to establish partnerships with organisations of persons with disabilities.
                5. The draft Policy on Reasonable Accommodation and Assistive Devices in the Public Service was widely consulted and is ready for submission Cabinet. This policy, once approved, will guide departments on planning and budgeting processes and requirements to improve reasonable accommodation measures.  The draft policy provides gives guidelines on key barriers to employment of persons with disabilities such as provision of transport for employees with disabilities who may not otherwise be able to use public transport, leave for repairs of assistive devices, acquisition and disposal of assistive devices and provision of personal assistants and caregivers.  The policy incorporates
                    • Resolution 3 of 1999 Par X (2), which bestows power to an Executive Authority (Minister/MEC) in the provision of transport for an employee with disabilities from home to work subject to a development of a travel policy for the department.
                    • The implementation of Resolution 1 of 2007, which provided a determination on leave of absence for persons with disabilities to repair assistive devices and training for guide dogs users (section 18 (1.2) and (1.3).
              3. The Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) developed and launched a Disability and Reasonable Accommodation Toolkit in 2011. The toolkit assists companies in the mining and minerals sector to ensure that persons with disabilities are included in various learnerships. 
              4. The Department of Labour has awarded a total of USD85,125 in annual subsidies to three organisations for persons with disabilities (National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities, the Deaf Federation of South Africa and the South African National Council for the Blind) to support the placement of persons with disabilities in the open labour market between 2008 and 2011.  This subsidy was suspended at the end of the 2011/12 financial year and is currently under review within the context of the Employment Services Bill, 2012, currently before Parliament.
              5. 598 persons with disabilities were placed into the formal and informal sector as well as in training during 2008/2009, while 812 were placed during 2009/2010. 271 persons with disabilities were trained in 2008/2009 in short skills development programmes and 123 in 2009/2010.  A total of 1,746 job-seekers with disabilities were registered in the employment register database in 2010/11; and 961 job-seekers with disabilities were placed during the same period.

              Supported Employment Initiatives

              1. A range of supported/subsidised employment placement options are available, to a large extent due to the high general unemployment rate in South Africa:
                • Sheltered Work - work undertaken by persons with disabilities in workshops specifically established for that purpose. People working in sheltered workshops retain their social welfare benefits, typically Impairment Allowance, and usually receive a small discretionary additional weekly payment from the work provider
                • Integrative Enterprises - sheltered workshops with normal wages
                • Supported Employment - a system of support for persons with disabilities in regard to on-going employment in integrated settings
                • Open Labour Market
              2. Sheltered Employment Factories were established more than 60 years ago with ownership vested in the State to provide employment and empowerment opportunities to persons with disabilities who could not compete in the open labour market.  The Department of Labour currently subsidises twelve (12) Sheltered Employment Factories There are currently 12 SEF factories in Gauteng, Western Cape, North West, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu Natal, all situated in urban centres, employing 926 persons with disabilities.  State subsidies increased from USD 4,375,000 (2009) to USD 8,750,000 (2011).
              3. The Department of Social Development subsidises 293 protective workshops, managed by organisations for persons with disabilities, in 2012, providing household income support for 14,212 persons with disabilities.  This is a significant increase from the 260 workshops with a total of 6,585 beneficiaries subsidised in 2010.  Expenditure for subsidisation of protective workshops since 2008 was USD6,750,000.  It should be noted that the majority of these facilities are situated in urban centres, despite the majority of persons with disabilities living in rural areas, which also has the poorest education access outcomes, the least access to public transport, as well as highest general unemployment rates –
                    • 141 urban and 34 peri-urban protective workshops provided income opportunities for 10,911 persons with disabilities;
                    • 118 protective workshops in rural areas provided income opportunities for 3,301 persons with disabilities. 
              4. A lack of minimum norms and standards for management and subsidisation of protective workshops resulted in inconsistencies between provinces, impeded monitoring and evaluation and in instances, lack of conducive environments for persons with disabilities employed in these workshops.  The Department of Social Development has subsequently finalised policy guidelines on the management and transformation of protective workshops aimed at providing decent work and wages, strengthening skills development in these centres and improving employability of persons with disabilities in the open labour market.  A training manual to give effect to the guidelines was developed and has been implemented nationally and in all nine provinces, targeting government officials, national organisations of and for persons with disabilities and representatives from protective workshops. 
              5. A weakness in the subsidised supported employment environment has been the lack of financial support for organisations of persons with disabilities who offer income-generating opportunities to their members. 

              Supporting Entrepreneurship among Persons with Disabilities

              1. The Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, 2000 recognises the economic rights of persons with disabilities to engage in entrepreneurial activities that promotes self-reliance and independent living.  Measures include access to opportunities within public sector procurement systems, whereby the supply chain management process aims to empower historically disadvantaged communities and a target of 5% access of all preferential procurement has been set aside for entrepreneurs with disabilities.
              2. It is regrettably not possible to report on the extent to which this target has been achieved as the National Treasury information system did not disaggregate reporting on the basis of Impairment by national departments and entities, provincial departments and entities as well as district and local municipalities and metropolitan councils.  This gap will be addressed.
              3. The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has set aside USD6,250,000 for financing of enterprises specifically owned by persons with disabilities.  Uptake has however been slow and this is being addressed in consultation with the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities and the Department of Trade and Industry.
              4. It is acknowledged that organisations of and for persons with disabilities play a major role in supporting persons with disabilities to become entrepreneurs.  The Medunsa Organization for Disabled Entrepreneurs (MODE) has for example between 2004 and 2011 established 532 persons with disabilities in their own income generating micro enterprises, generating between USD187-740 per month for the owners and their families. Approximately 900 jobs have been created through this initiative. The success rate is 74%, which for micro enterprise development is very good.

              Education and Training

              1. As reported in Article 23, the education system is currently not sufficiently en-skilling young persons with disabilities for the open labour market or as owners of economically viable small enterprises. 
              2. Almost 33% of the enrolled 4,977 students were students at institutions of higher education in 2010 were persons with visual disabilities, and this group constituted 44% of graduates.  This is however also the group said to be the least likely to access decent work in the open labour market.  A study conducted at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 2010, (published in 2011) highlighted a number of factors which contribute to this low labour market absorption rate which need to be addressed.
              3. The Sectoral Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) were established in terms of the Skills Development Act, 1998. The 21 SETAs are expected to direct and facilitate the delivery of sector-specific skills interventions that help achieve the goals of National Skills Development Strategy and address employer demand for skilled labour.  The National Skills Development Strategy III, 2012, acknowledges that previous programmes have failed to achieve equal access for persons with disabilities, despite the 4% target that had been set, and re-commits to ��significantly open up opportunities for skills training for people experiencing barriers to employment caused by various forms of physical and intellectual disabilities.��
              4. A total of 5,133 out of 9,541 enrolled learners with disabilities registered in learning programmes across 15 SETAs for the reporting period successfully completed their learnerships, with 2,339 successfully gaining employment after the completion of their learnerships.  Ten of the 15 reporting SETA��s reached the 4% target, with 2 SETAs exceeding the target and the remaining 3 under-performing.  The Services SETA introduced a reasonable accommodation subsidy for learners with disabilities requiring such support to improve participation in their learnership programmes in 2012.
              5. Young people with disabilities who have been denied access to education up to matric (grade 12) level, find it difficult to access learnership programmes.  There are however pockets of innovation where this barrier has been overcome. 

                One such example is the Athena Private Further Education and Training College, which renders a mobile service taking training to especially rural communities, and have since 2006 targeted persons with disabilities, and in particular persons with disabilities from deep rural areas, persons with disabilities from social and economically challenging communities, and persons with disabilities who have very few or no opportunities of receiving post��matric education. 

                Taking into account the generally low levels of formal education among persons with disabilities in rural town and villages, Athena utilises the National Certificate: Business Administration NQF 2 level qualification as entry into learnerships for people who do not have matric, as this exposes these learners to a range of career environments which they can explore after exiting the programme.  They have also negotiated top-up subsidies with the Services SETA to improve turnaround times on the provisioning reasonable accommodation measures to improve access to the learning and work environment.

                Out of a 200 enrolment on a Services SETA programme, 103 accessed gainful employment, 73 remain unemployed, 4 learners are deceased, 18 dropped out and 2 progressed to the Business Administration NQF level 4 qualification post completion of the learnership.


              1. ARTICLE 28: Adequate standard of living and social protection
              1. The focus of the South African Government��s National Programme of Action aims to address the fundamental challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.  Whilst there has been a significant increase in uptake of social assistance grants over the past 15 years, the medium and long-term focus is on providing social grant beneficiaries with alternative income sources through useful work as well as training. 
              2. The National Development Plan (2012) acknowledges the continued need for social protection measures that seek to ��support those most in need, including children, people with disabilities and the elderly and promote active participation in the economy and society for those who are unemployed and under-employed through labour market activation measures, employment services, income support programmes and other services to sustain and improve quality of life��.
              3. The Plan estimates that about 6 percent of the working-age population receives disability grants, and acknowledges that exclusion errors disproportionately affect the poorest, especially orphans and children, persons with disabilities and the aged on farms, in remote rural areas and hard-to-reach informal settlements. These are the groups who need social protection the most and it is important to ensure they can access the appropriate social protection.

              Social Security

              1. Persons with disabilities who are indigent qualify for a range of social assistance grants, including disability grants (USD150 per month, 2012); child support grants (children aged 0-14 years, USD35 per month, 2012), care dependency grants (children with disabilities requiring 24 hour care) (USD150 per month, 2012), grant-in-aid (persons who require regular attendance by other persons, USD35 per month, 2012), foster care grant (USD96,25 per month, 2012), war veterans grant (USD152.50 per month, 2012) and older persons grants (USD150 per month plus USD2,500 per annum for those over 75 years, 2012).  Workers are furthermore protected through unemployment insurance benefits as well as compensation for injury on duty.
              2. 2011/12 uptake and expenditure rates on social assistance grants to persons with disabilities were:
                    • 1,198,131 persons accessed disability grants (permanent and temporary) at a cost of USD 155,5 million.  This constitutes a decrease of 218,079 compared to the 1,416,210 recipients in 2008/09 following a major anti-corruption clean-up of the social security system in 2010/11;
                    • 114,993 recipients accessed care dependency grants at a cost of USD 4,7 million, compared to 107,065 recipients in 2008/09. It should however be noted that there was a 44,3% growth rate between 1996/07 and 2008/09 in this grant;
                    • 536,747 persons accessed a grant-in aid at a cost of USD 51,6 million in 2011/12 compared to 46,069 in 2008/09, constituting an increase of 490,678 recipients.
                    • Disaggregation for older persons grants, war veteran grants, foster child grants and child support grants is not available. 
              3. The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 1993 regulates the rights of workers with occupation-related injuries or diseases to compensation.  Compensation for the period 2008 – 2011 amounted to:
                    • USD 9,6 million was paid out for permanent disability and USD 11,4 million for temporary disability in 2008/09;
                    • USD 12,5 million was paid out for permanent disability and USD 15 million for temporary disability in 2009/10;
                    • USD 19,4 million was paid out for permanent disability and USD 13,9 million for temporary disability in 2010/11.

              Tax Benefits and Deductions

              1. Taxpayers 65 years and older, and those with disabilities or with disabled dependants, can claim all medical scheme contributions and out-of-pocket medical expenses as a deduction against their taxable income. 
              2. The South African Revenue Services (SARS) Tax guide on the deduction of medical, physical impairment and disability expenses provides for an extensive list of disability-related expenses that can be claimed back, including attendant care expenses (home, school and work); travel & other related expenses (including transport costs specifically incurred in respect of a learner with a disability who attends a specialised school; acquisition, insurance and maintenance of assistive devices, artificial limbs and technology required to enable persons with disabilities to perform daily activities (including computer or other electronic equipment required in order to convert printed material or image files into text, Braille, speech or any other accessible format, including peripheral equipment such as scanners, Braille printers, speakers and headphones for the personal use by or for a person with a disability); service animals and alterations or modifications to assets acquired or to be acquired.

              Household Income Support through Useful Work

              1. The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) is one of government��s flagship programmes aimed at providing poverty and income relief through temporary work for the unemployed to carry out socially useful activities.  All public bodies from all spheres of government (in terms of their normal mandates and budgets) and the non-state sector (supported by government incentives), are expected to deliberately optimise the creation of work opportunities for unemployed and poor people in South Africa through the delivery of public and community services. 
              2. Phase 2 of the EPWP was launched in April 2009 with the aim of creating 2 million full time equivalent jobs for poor and unemployed people in South Africa so as to contribute to halving unemployment by 2014, through the delivery of public and community services. This translates to 4,5 million (short and on-going) work opportunities. The average duration of employments is assumed to be 100 days.  The Community Work Programme (CWP), launched in 2009, provides an employment safety net by giving participants a minimum number of regular days of work, typically two days a week or eight days a month, thus providing a predictable income stream over a number of years for participants.  The programme targets to reach 1 million beneficiaries by 2014, bringing the overall total target for 2014 for the EPWP to 5,5 million direct beneficiaries.
              3. The EPWP as well as CWP has a set target of 2% of the opportunities in its programme being directed to beneficiaries with disabilities, which translates to a total of 110,000 persons with disabilities for the period 2009-2014.  The programme has increasingly under-performed against the 2% target, with 0,48% (2009/10), 0,45% (2010/11) and 0,19% (2011/12).  Work is currently being done to understand the root causes that have to be remedied to achieve targets.  It is important to note that the Non-State Sector was able to meet the disability target due to a targeted approach.

              Food Security

              1. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 provides that everyone has the right to have access to sufficient food and water.  In the 2010/2011 financial year food security was reprioritised as one of the top priorities for South African government (State of Nation Address, 2010). This is in line with South Africa��s millennium development goal which aims to halve the proportion of people who go hungry over the period 1990 and 2015.  Several government departments work in a coordinated manner to ensure food security in South Africa –
              • The Department of Health runs the Integrated Nutrition Programme,
              • The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries develops and facilitates the implementation of agrarian reform policies and targeted programmes aimed at enhancing the contribution of subsistence and smallholder producers to food security.
              • The Department of Social Development provides social support to those who are most vulnerable to food insecurity.
              • The school nutrition programme provides a basic meal per day to indigent learners
              1. Disaggregated statistics on the number of beneficiaries with disabilities and/or participants in food security programmes are currently not available.

              Adequate housing and basic services

              1. Persons with disabilities with an income less than USD 438 per month (and meeting other relevant criteria as indicated in the National Housing Code) are eligible for government housing subsidies.  The subsidies are supplemented with additional funding to provide for the specific needs in relation to the disability and impairment and the environmental barrier experienced.
              2. Government and the disability sector acknowledge that many persons with disabilities living in informal settlements and in shacks are further disadvantaged by not having access other basic amenities including sanitation and clean water.  Municipalities are therefore required to keep a register of persons with disabilities living in informal settlements with the aim of accelerating housing provision for this group. 
              3. A total of 25,361 beneficiaries with disabilities applied and qualified for access to the housing subsidy between 2008 and March 2012.  Progressive access has been slow, with 163 beneficiaries accessing the additional amount to cover reasonable accommodation measures in 2008/09, a total of 195 in 2009/2010, a total of 203 beneficiaries in 2010/11, and a total of 299 in 2011/2012.
                1. Seventy three (73) residential facilities providing accommodation to 2,304 residents with disabilities received government subsidies in 2011/12.  The total budget for 2011/12 was USD 4,575,126, which was insufficient to meet the national minimum norms and standards adopted for residential facilities.  Training aimed at improving the quality of care in these facilities benefited 7,853 staff. It is acknowledged that inequalities between urban and rural facilities remain.
                2. The country remains committed to improve community-based supported housing for persons with disabilities through more constructive partnerships between the three spheres of government and organisations for and of persons with disabilities.


              1.  ARTICLE 29: Participation in political and public life
              1. The right to participate fully in political and public life for persons with disabilities has been evident in South Africa since the historic 1994 elections.
              2. The content of the submission by the South African Human Rights Commission, in its August 2011 to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Human Rights Council Resolution 16/15, is noted and has been incorporated into the body of this Report.

              The Right to Vote

              1. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 in Section 19 guarantees the right of all citizens to make political choices, to form political parties, to participate in the activities of political parties as well as to vote in elections for any legislative body established in terms of the Constitution, and to do so in secret; and to stand for public office and, if elected, to hold office.  However, in terms of Section 47(1) of the Constitution ��Every citizen who is qualified to vote for the National Assembly is eligible to be a member of the Assembly, except...(d) anyone declared to be of unsound mind by a court of the Republic..�� A corresponding provision relating to provincial legislatures is to be found in sec 106(d) of the Constitution.
              2. The Electoral Act, 1998 and the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act, 2000 respectively govern elections in South Africa.  In terms of the Electoral Act, 1998, a ��voter�� is a South African citizen who is 18 years or older and whose name appears on the national common voters�� roll. In order to place their names on this voters�� roll, citizens are required to register as voters; the chief electoral officer, who is responsible for registering voters, may however not register (among others) persons who have been declared by the High Court to be ��of unsound mind or mentally disordered�� or are detained under the Mental Health Act, 1973 (repealed and replaced by the Mental Health Care Act, 2002). The Electoral Act, 1998 makes provision for persons with disabilities to register as special voters, which allows them to vote on a predetermined day before election day either at the voting station or at their place of residence, as well as for voters with disabilities to be assisted by a person of their choice where necessary.
              3. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), established in terms of Chapter 9 of the Constitution, oversees all national, provincial and local elections in South Africa. 
              4. The numbers of voters with disabilities who participate in elections are not available given the constitutional imperative to maintain the secrecy of the vote and the regulatory requirements on the details to be entered into the national common voters roll, the Electoral Commission does not record the details of disabilities for registered voters.
              5. The 2011 Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) IEC Voter Participation Survey 2010/11: An Overview of Results, conducted in collaboration with the IEC, showed that
                    • persons with disabilities had a marginally higher ��intention to vote�� (81%) than those without disabilities (79%);
                    • satisfaction with voting stations in the most recent local government elections were rated by 85% of respondents as ��very or fairly satisfied�� against a rating by 5% of respondents of ��very/fairly dissatisfied��;
                    • 53% of those interviewed indicated that needs of special groups in electoral procedures and processes had been taken into account ��to a great extent��;
                    • about 3% of participants found that facilities to register and vote were inaccessible;
                    • persons with disabilities experienced more voting irregularities;
                    • overall, the findings of the IEC Voter Participation Survey in 2011 indicated ��(g)eneral agreement that the needs of women, youth, persons with disabilities and the elderly are being taken into account in electoral procedures.��
              6. In preparation for the 2011 municipal elections, the IEC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the South African National Council for the Blind which, among others, resulted in availing a braille based Universal Ballot Template (UBT) to visual impaired voters who wished to vote without having to disclose their choice to anyone.  The Electoral Commission has indicated that, due to the positive feedback received on the use of the UBT, the use thereof will be extended to other categories of voters who are at risk of spoiling their votes due to for example unstable hand-writing.  The electoral legislation is currently under review to, among others, legally provide for the use of the UBT in the voting process.
              7. Specific initiatives aimed at levelling the playing fields for voters with disabilities that were undertaken by the IEC at provincial level during past elections have included:
                • The Western Cape provincial office is a member of the Western Cape Impairment Network, which serves as a platform to exchange election-related information between the sector and the IEC.  In 2009 the provincial office printed a Braille information pamphlet for blind and visually impaired voters;
                • Ten deaf voter education trainers were trained in Limpopo Province.  These deaf trainers provided nine workshops throughout the province to deaf voters.  A workshop was also held targeting voters with visual impairments.
                • The Mpumalanga Provincial Electoral Office hosted a workshop targeting organisations of and for persons with disabilities before the 2009 as well as 2011 respectively;
                • Eight workshops were undertaken in KwaZulu Natal for persons who are blind and deaf ahead of the 2009 elections, and a further six workshops were conducted for these target groups before the 2011 elections;
                • Twenty four deaf voter education facilitators were trained ahead of the 2009 elections in the Northern Cape, and a voter education workshop was conducted for deaf and blind voters ahead of the 2011 elections;
                • Six workshops targeting organisations of persons with disabilities were held in the North West province ahead of the 2009 and 2011 elections respectively;
                • Seven persons with disabilities were trained as voter education facilitators in each of the regions of the Eastern Cape;
                • Four civic and voter education workshops targeting organisations of persons with disabilities were conducted in the Free State Province;
                • One provincial workshop targeting organisations of and for persons with disabilities in Gauteng Province were held before the 2009 and 2011 elections respectively.
              8. A major challenge which remains is the physical inaccessibility of voting stations in particular in rural areas, as well as the right of persons with psycho-social disabilities to participate in elections, as anecdotal evidence shows that persons admitted in mental health institutions are excluded from voting, with the result that these institutions are often not included in voter education programmes or special voting procedures.
              9. As alluded earlier, both the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 as well as section 8(c) and (d) of the Electoral Act, 1998 exclude certain categories of persons with psycho-social disabilities from inclusion on the voters roll, and will require to be taken under review with regards compliance with the CRPD.

              Holding Public Office

              1. Much advancement has been made for persons with disabilities as candidates in elections. Persons with disabilities have been included on the election lists of various political parties, but in particular on the national, provincial and local proportional lists of the African National Congress.  2012 figures for self-representation of persons with disabilities as public representatives are:
                    • Parliament (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces): 16
                    • National Cabinet: 01 (Deputy Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities);
                    • Nine Provincial Legislatures: 8
                    • Provincial Executive Councils: 3
                    • Municipalities (eight metropolitan councils, 226 local and 44 district councils): 72
              2. In addition, 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).

              Organisations of Persons with Disabilities 

              1. The government of South Africa recognises the right of persons with disabilities to be represented through persons with disabilities as well as parents organisations, rather than through organisations for persons with disabilities.
              2. Financial support from government to organisations for and of persons with disabilities at national and provincial level is predominantly through subsidisation by the Departments of Social Development, Health and Labour, with a strong bias at this stage towards organisations for persons with disabilities, rather than organisations of persons with disabilities. Organisations of persons with disabilities at local level currently receive virtually no direct financial support from government, but do have access to funds through the National Development Agency (funded by the Department of Social Development) as well as the National Lottery Development Distribution Fund (funded by the National Lottery).  The National Lottery distributed a total of USD 65,2 million between 2008 and 2011 to organisations of and for persons with disabilities.  A few local organisations have managed to secure financing support through the Expanded Public Works Programme Non-Government Sector.
              3. It is acknowledged that there is an urgent need to finalise a framework for the creation of an enabling environment for organisations of persons with disabilities to strengthen their capacity to advocate, empower and monitor the rights of persons with disabilities more effectively, as well as to develop a social contract with agreed upon minimum norms and standards for consultation and participation by organisations of and for persons with disabilities to regulate these processes both between government and the disability sector, but also within the sector itself.


              1. ARTICLE 30: Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport
              1. Section 31 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 provides that all persons ��belonging to a cultural, religious or linguistic community�� not to be ��denied the right, with other members of that community, to enjoy their culture, practise their religion and use their language; and to form, join and maintain cultural, religious and linguistic associations and other organs of civil society��.
              2. Section 185 of the Constitution furthermore provides for the establishment of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, mandated to, among others promote respect for the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities, and to recommend the establishment and/or recognition of cultural councils in South Africa.
              3. Noteworthy is that the Older Persons Act, 2006 include the establishment of recreational opportunities as well as spiritual, cultural, medical, civic and social services as components of community-based programmes.


              1. Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) must, in accordance with its funding policy in terms of section 10(1) (d) of the National Sport and Recreation Act, 1998 increase the profile and financial assistance to volunteers, women, senior citizens, neglected rural areas and persons with disabilities, in sport and recreation. Section 10(3) (a) (ii) of the Act prohibits funding to national sport federations where federations exclude persons from the disadvantaged groups, particularly women and persons with disabilities, from participating at top level of sport.
              2. The SRSA Funding Policy of 2008 gives preference to national federations whose activities clearly impact on government priorities, including the advancement of persons with disabilities.
              3. The Norms and Standards for Sport and Recreation Infrastructure Provision and Management Volume 1, stipulates that all sport and recreation centres must be designed to allow access to persons with disabilities. The draft Safety Regulations stemming from the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act, 2010 make provision that stadiums and other venues in the Republic must have accessible accommodation and facilities, approved by the local authority, for use by spectators with disabilities at an event, setting minimum norms and standards for stadia and venues.  Although there are no accurate statistics regarding accessibility of sport and recreation facilities for persons with disabilities, statistics will be available on completion of a sports facility audit planned for the 2012/13 financial year.  
              4. The draft Fitness Industry Bill makes provision that a fitness establishment must, amongst others, have at least a defibrillator and a first aid kit for persons with disabilities; and sufficient number of staff that is specifically trained to assist persons with disabilities.
              5. The National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP), approved in 2011, provides for the inclusion of special schools for children with disabilities in the Talent Identification and Development Programme through participation in the National Top School Games as well as the SA Youth Olympic Games.
              6. Although there is no specific school sports policy for children with disabilities, the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ministers of SRSA and Basic Education provides for inclusiveness in all programmes. This inclusiveness is also captured in the school sports policy that was published for public comments until 31 Mach 2012. This policy is now in the process of being finalised.
              7. Most mass sporting events organised at national and provincial level, involve learners with disabilities from ordinary and special schools –
                    • 10,632 children with disabilities participated in 2008/09;
                    • 10,410 children with disabilities participated in 2009/10;
                    • 8,999 children with disabilities participated in 2010/11;
                    • 7,854 children with disabilities participated in 2010/11;
                    • The number of schools participating increased from 74 (2009/10) to 105 (2010/11) and 268 (2011/12).
              8. Three hundred and seven (307) athletes young athletes with disabilities (athletics, equestrian (para-dressage), judo (blind and visually impaired), para-cycling, adaptive rowing, swimming, wheelchair tennis and table tennis) have received scientific support services (scientific testing and interventions, medical interventions and medical team support) since 2009, with a total of twenty (20) athletes being accommodated on the residential programme, where they receive a full sponsorship for their tuition, books, school uniform (USD 23,125 annual allocation per athlete) and access to sporting facilities, coaching, accommodation and meals.
              9. Additional financial support from SRSA over the past three years (2008-2011) has been made available through subsidisation of sport organisations of and for persons with disabilities:
              • SA Deaf Sport Federation received a grant of USD75,749.
              • SA Sport Association for Physically Disabled received a grant of USD 46,581.
              • People with intellectual disabilities received a grant of USD50,625.
              1. Stakeholder engagement takes place in the form of attending Annual General Meetings of the relevant federations, annual consultation workshops with programme stakeholders such as the South African Sport Association for the Physically Disabled (SASAPD). One-on-one meetings are also held annually with SASAPD and all National Federations inclusive of athletes with Impairment to plan services that will be received by the athletes in the following year.
              1. The South African sport sector agreed in November 2011 that the following indicators should be included in the Transformation Scorecard:
                    • Percentage of facilities accessible to sports persons with a disability.
                    • Percentage of managers with a disability at national and provincial levels.
                    • Percentage of participants with a disability at national and provincial levels.
              2. The impact of South Africa��s approach to and support for sport for persons with disabilities was amplified during the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games when swimmer Natalie du Toit and athlete Oscar Pistorius both qualified for both the South African Olympic and Paralympic teams.

              Recreation and Tourism

              1. As reported under Article 9, significant progress has been made over the past few years in promoting accessibility to tourism facilities for persons with disabilities.  Consultative workshops were held from 2010 to develop norms and standards for universal access in the tourism industry, culminating in the Universal Accessibility in Tourism Action Plan and the Universal Accessibility in Tourism Declaration in 2011.
              2. The South African National Parks, under whose authority major tourism attractions such as the Kruger National Park and Table Mountain falls, has progressively been working with Impairment organisations on improving accessibility for tourists with physical and visual disabilities. Its website (http://www.sanparks.org/groups/disabilities/) is accessible to persons with visual disabilities and provides detailed accessibility information for each of its national parks.
              3. Major tourism attraction facilities in South Africa will be audited during 2012/13 to assess compliance with universal access principles.

              Arts and Culture

              1. The Department of Education provided training to teachers with regard to adapting the Arts and Culture Curriculum in General Education to accommodate learners with disabilities during 2009.
              2. A SANS 10400-S compliance accessibility audit of facilities being administered by the Department of Arts and Culture (including 25 public entities) conducted in 2009, revealed that 92 facilities required upgrading at an estimated cost of USD 2,875,000.  The Department budgets annually to progressively redress this shortcoming.
              3. The Performing Arts Policy ensures that 5% of performers contracted for celebration and/or commemoration of national days constitute performers with disabilities.
              4. The Department of Arts and Culture supports a number of initiatives to promote arts and culture among persons with disabilities –
                    • The Annual Zwakala DeafTV National Championships (in partnership with the South African Public Broadcaster, the Pan South African Language Board) reaches approximately 300 deaf children;
                    • The Afrika Sinakho ��In the Blood�� national touring production showcases performing arts abilities of persons with disabilities in a 80 person cast of both able-bodied artists and artists with sight, physical and mental disabilities;
                    • The Market Theatre��s ��Listen with your Eyes�� Festival in 2010 which produced two plays that were aimed at both the Deaf and hearing community;
                    • Ad hoc financial support to various disability arts projects upon request;
                    • The South African Library for the Blind, established under the South African Library for the Blind Act, 1998 receives an annual grant;

              Sign Language and Deaf Culture

              1. As discussed under Articles 8, 9, 21 and 24, the development and recognition of Sign Language as an official language, remains a challenge and is receiving urgent attention.
              2. The Bill of Rights guarantees all South Africans freedom of association, and prohibits discrimination that interferes with the right of South Africans to enjoy their culture, or use their language, or to form, join or maintain cultural, religious and linguistic associations.




              1. ARTICLE 6: Women with Disabilities
              1. South Africa remains committed to the attainment of gender equity and equality, also as it pertains women and girls with disabilities, and as illustrated in the country��s extensive legislative and policy framework.  South Africa has as such ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), as well as the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.
              2. It is however acknowledged that women and girls with disabilities still do not enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with boys and men with disabilities.  Black women with disabilities, in particularly, bear the brunt of inequality based on race, disability, gender, socio-economic status and class.
              3. A major concern with regard to disability and gender is the persisting violence against and victimisation of women and children, and in particular women and girls with disabilities, as discussed under earlier Articles. 
                1. Estimates of the extent of violence vary, as there is widespread of under-reporting.  Disaggregated statistics for violence against women and children with disabilities are not available, and as reported under Article 13, women with communication and/or intellectual and/or psycho-social disabilities experience particular difficulties in accessing justice when their right have been violated.  This lack of information in itself constitutes a potential threat to the realisation of the rights set out in the CRPD.
                2. A number of studies are currently under way to gather information on the extent as well as service delivery weaknesses in the justice value chain to sharpen an accelerated programme of action aimed at strengthening protection for women and girl-children with disabilities as well as improve access to justice when abuse has occurred.  One such study, commenced in January 2012 by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy (University of the Western Cape), in partnership with the Cape Mental Health Society and the Gender, Health and Justice Unit (University of Cape Town) aims gather knowledge on the barriers making the South African criminal justice system less accessible to women with disabilities experiencing gender-based violence, with specific reference to women with intellectual disabilities and with psycho-social disabilities, gather knowledge on examples of existing ��good practices�� in addressing these barriers; and formulating recommendations on improving access to justice for disabled women experiencing gender-based violence in South Africa.  The study will also assess the feasibility of extending the Cape Mental Health Society ��SAVE�� programme, discussed under Article 16, and which has developed protocols, training manuals and other material to facilitate such expansion to other sites. The outcomes of these studies and its impact on service delivery improvements will be reported on the next periodic report.
              4. Women with disabilities are represented on the Commission on Gender Equality (CGE), established in terms of Chapter 9 of the Constitution, with the mandate to evaluate government policies, promote public education on gender issues, make recommendations to government for law reform, follow up on complaints and monitor government��s compliance with international conventions.
              5. An example of good practice in the economic empowerment is the Norad-funded Women��s Entrepreneurship Development and Gender Equality (WEDGE-SA) project, coordinated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).  The project mainstreamed disability considerations from inception stage to ensure that the project benefits women entrepreneurs with disabilities, to encourage social dialogue that is inclusive through the inclusion and awareness raising of the issues that face entrepreneurs with disabilities, and to reduce the stigma attached to disability through inclusion and demonstration of the abilities of entrepreneurs with disabilities.  Efforts to include people with disabilities in all the projects outcomes have included, among others, training 2 trainers from the disability sector in the ��Women��s Entrepreneurship Association capacity building tool��, training 1 trainer from the disability sector in the ��Women��s Entrepreneurship Development capacity Building tool��, training 18 front line staff and advisors of the Small Enterprise Development Agency on mainstreaming disability considerations, and training 2 trainers from the disability sector in the ��Expand your Business tool��.  The outcomes of the above was that 5,72% of growth-oriented women entrepreneurs trained were disabled;
                    • 3,7% of trainees in ��Expand your business�� was disabled;
                    • 6,01% of trainees in ��Action my Business�� was disabled;
                    • 0,97% of trainees in ��Improve your Exhibition Skills�� was disabled;
                    • 9,82% of business association members trained was disabled;
                    • 10,56% of business development service providers trained was disabled;
                    • 5,18% of trainers trained in WEDGE tools was disabled.

                Challenges in the inclusion of women with disabilities in the project identified by the project mirror those experienced by similar government programmes, i.e. a limited number of women entrepreneurs who fit the criteria for support and the limited capacity of disabled peoples organizations to engage consistently with the project management teams.

              1. Women with disabilities are affirmed through a range of targeted programmes and events by a range of government departments, although it is acknowledged that improved coordination and targeting of these efforts will significantly strengthen impact. 


              1. ARTICLE 7: Children with disabilities 
              1. Section 28 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 protect every child��s right

                ��to a name and a nationality from birth;

                to family care or parental care or to appropriate alternative care when removed from the family environment;

                to basic nutrition, shelter, basic health care services and social services;

                to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation;

                to be protected from exploitative labour practices;

                not to be required or permitted to perform work or provide services that are inappropriate for a person of that child's age, or place at risk the child's well-being, education, physical or mental health or spiritual, moral or social development;

                not to be detained except as a measure of last resort, in which case, in addition to the rights a child enjoys under sections 12 and 35, the child may be detained only for the shortest appropriate period of time, and has the right to be kept separately from detained persons over the age of 18 years; and treated in a manner, and kept in conditions, that take account of the child's age;

                to have a legal practitioner assigned to the child by the state, and at state expense, in civil proceedings affecting the child, if substantial injustice would otherwise result; and not to be used directly in armed conflict, and to be protected in times of armed conflict.�� 

                It further states that ��A child's best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.��  These rights underpin all decision-making with regard to legislation, policies and programmes in South Africa.

              1. The South African Human Rights Commission, in their submission, draws attention to the fact that ��it is important to note that children have a priority claim on state resources. Their socio-economic rights, for example, are not subject to progressive realisation. This is especially true in the case of children that are particularly vulnerable. It is important to highlight these principles in explaining the commitment to realising the rights of disabled children and to highlight the sense of urgency in this regard.��
              2. The Children��s Act, 2005 mandates the State to respect, promote and fulfil the child��s rights set out in the Bill of rights.
                1. Subsection 6 of the Act calls for all proceedings, actions or decisions in a matter concerning a child, to protect the child from unfair discrimination on the grounds of the disability of the child or a family member of the child, and calls for an enabling environment to respond to the special needs of children with disabilities. 
                2. Subsection 11 provides that in any matter concerning a child with a disability, due consideration must be given to providing the child with parental, family or special care when appropriate; enabling the child to participate in social, cultural, religious and educational activities, recognising the special needs of the child; facilitating conditions that ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate active participation in the community; and providing the child and the child��s caregiver with necessary support services.  It also prohibits the exposure of children with disabilities to ��medical, social, cultural or religious practices that are detrimental to his or her health, well-being or dignity.��
              3. As acknowledged and discussed throughout the report, South Africa��s children with disabilities remain extremely vulnerable to exclusion, abuse and inequality, in particular in impoverished communities due to failures in the service delivery system pertaining, among others, persistent harmful traditional beliefs pertaining disability, lack of access to relevant information by parents and families, lack of effective early identification and intervention across sectors for young children, lack of equal access to compulsory education, failure in the justice system to protect children with disabilities, but also to ensure justice where abuse has occurred, as well as inadequate training for care-givers working with children with moderate to severe intellectual and/or severe physical disabilities also remains a challenge, particularly in impoverished communities.

              Measures taken to ensure the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children 

              1. Approximately 1,393,236 (27.5%) of the total population (5,063,500) of children between the ages of 0 and 4 years are children with disabilities. However only 665,247 children attend ECD facilities. (Source: Statistics South Africa, General Household Survey Interactive dataset, 2009-2010, DBE calculations)
              2. As discussed under Articles 24, 25 and 26, the early identification of children with disabilities, followed with effective intervention across state departments, require urgent attention. Stronger measures still need to be put in place to expand support for children aged 0 – 4 years who are attending Early Childhood Education facilities.
              3. The significant role played by organisations for children with disabilities, and in particular by parents organisations such as the Disabled Children Action Group (DICAG), to step into service delivery gaps for children with disabilities in general, and children in the 0-4 year age group living in impoverished and rural communities in particular, is acknowledged.
              4. The National Strategy towards the Integration of Services to Children with Disabilities was developed in consultation with approximately 2500 stakeholders from national and provincial Departments of Social Development, other key government departments and institutions, as well as stakeholders in the parents, children and disability sectors.  The Strategy aims to guide service providers in the implementation of the Children��s Act, 2005 to ensure effective mainstreaming of Impairment considerations across programmes focusing on early childhood development, basic education, health, sport, recreation and justice.  The development of the Strategy was under-pinned by research conducted in 2010 on the provisioning of services to children with disabilities by national departments.  The Strategy is currently under review.
              5. The disability sector and parents organisations participated in the development of a range of guidelines and strategies focusing on, among others, a costing model and implementation plan for child abuse, neglect and exploitation, a strategy on child-headed households, early childhood development and partial care services such as children and youth care facilities, the National Policy Framework for Children, the draft National Plan of Action for Children: 2012-2017 (currently being consulted) as well as inclusive education.
              6. The National Guidelines for the Care and Prevention of the most common Genetic Disorders, Birth Defects and Disabilities provides guidance for follow up when Impairment or birth defects have been identified, including referral services and information on rehabilitation services.

              Self-representation by children with disabilities

              1. Child participation principles require that children with disabilities be included in any consultation with children in general. It is acknowledged that current activities across departments aimed at providing children with disabilities with an opportunity to represent themselves and participate in governance processes, are inadequate.
              2. Some of the platforms which have been created include the annual Children��s Parliament which coincides with International Mandela Day, the celebration of International as well as National Children��s Day, Child Protection Week, as well as periodic thematic child participation workshops where children with disabilities are able to express their views on matters that affect them, for example the 5th World Summit on Media for Children (2007), youth and ICT Expos.
              3. Although reasonable accommodation measures are in place at such events, it is acknowledged that insufficient attention has been given to enabling the voices of children with severe communication as well as intellectual disabilities to be heard on issues affecting them.
              4. Children with disabilities have, in terms of the South African Schools Act, 1996 the right to represent themselves on School Governing Bodies and Learner Representative Councils.  This right is also protected in several other education policies which centrally acknowledge the right of children to have a say in decisions affecting them.
              5. The National Development Plan (2012) requires of the Department of Social Development to standardise the guidelines, norms and standards to ensure that it ��takes into account the needs of children with disabilities in all communities��.
              6. It is acknowledged that very young African children with disabilities, living in impoverished homes and communities, especially the former homelands and informal settlements, experience multiple deprivations. This requires a combination of innovative and inter-sectoral approaches to close the equity gaps that they face, as well as an effective monitoring and evaluation system to track progress but also failure in the system



              1. ARTICLE 31:  Statistics and data collection
              1. The Government of South Africa acknowledges the importance disaggregated appropriate information, including statistical and research data, in the formulation of policies to give effect to the Convention, and the particular challenge the lack of finalisation of the definition of disability in all national legislation, poses.
              2. Statistics South Africa, as the state agency responsible for the collection, production and dissemination of official and other statistics, including the conducting of a census of the population, and for co-ordination among producers of statistics, is fully compliant with internationally accepted norms to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and ethical principles in the collection and use of statistics.
              3. Statistics South Africa has significantly re-modelled its approach towards mainstreaming disability considerations into its operations following ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and has aligned its annual household survey as well as census questionnaires to the Washington Group on Disability Statistics framework. As alluded to in the pre-amble, the agency has undertaken to conduct focused surveys on the situation of children with disabilities aged 0-5 years in 2013 due to the challenges being experienced with the reliability of information gathered for this age group through the general census questionnaire.
              4. Disaggregation of disability-related statistics and data across all government institutions remains a challenge, including the reliability of such data where it exists, remains a challenge. 
              5. Measures have as such been taken to mainstream disability considerations into government��s various research and evaluation projects, the most recent being the national evaluation on early childhood development carried out in 2011/2012. 


              1. ARTICLE 32:  International cooperation
              1. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 expressly requires that in interpreting and applying the provisions in the Bill of Rights, particular attention should be given to relevant international laws, and that comparable international experiences should be considered.
              2. South Africa has acceded to, or ratified, most of the African regional and international human rights instruments in the area of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights.  The African Union��s adoption of the Declaration of the African Decade in 2000 places responsibilities on African States to implement Decade Programme Activities.  South Africa supports and participates in the African Decade for Persons with Disabilities (2010-2019).
              3. South Africa acknowledges the importance of international cooperation in support of national efforts towards the implementation of the CRPD.  This cooperation, furthermore, should be inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities.  The country regularly participates in actions toward facilitating and supporting capacity-building, through the exchange and sharing of information, experiences, training programmes and best practices.
              4. The first stage of implementing an inclusive education and training system in South Africa was funded by Finland and Sweden. Mutual exchanges took place between the countries which benefited not only South Africa, but also Finland, Sweden and other countries in Africa that have been part of the development aid networks of the Nordic countries.
              5. South Africa is also an active participant in the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) programmes focusing on the empowerment of persons with disabilities and strengthening the mainstreaming of persons with disabilities.
              6. The country acknowledges that insufficient attention has been given to mainstreaming disability considerations in country-to-country bilateral agreements signed since 2008, in particular in south-south cooperation, and this is being addressed.
              7. South Africa is a member of the World Health Organisation, International Labour Organisation and Rehabilitation International, among others, and has through these channels contributed technical expertise in developing guidelines, for example in the development of guidelines for wheelchairs in less resources settings, the revision of the Community-Based Rehabilitation manual and the drafting of the rehabilitation section of the World Disability Report. 
              8. South Africa currently chairs the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) and hosted the 8th Biennial Conference of NANHRI in 2011, with the theme ��Advancing the human rights of older persons and persons with disabilities: the role of National Human Rights Institutions��
              9. The South African Public Service Commission has been at the forefront of establishing an Association of African Public Service Commissions and currently holds the chair of the Association.  The Association promotes sound public administration on the African Continent and should, stemming from its priorities, also be focusing on disability equity as a human resource management consideration.
              10. National organisations of and for persons with disabilities participate in the main actively in the leadership and programmes of their international and regional counterparts.


              1. ARTICLE 33:  National implementation and monitoring
              1. The former Office on the Status of Disabled Persons (OSDP), located in the Presidency since 1997, was replaced with a fully-fledged national focal point with the establishment of the Ministry of Women, Children and People with Disabilities in May 2009 to ensure that government translates its constitutional, political and global commitments into measurable and meaningful programmes through improved coordination between government institutions across all three spheres of government, as well as between government, the private sector and civil society, as well as strengthened monitoring of the advancement of the rights of persons with disabilities.
              2. The establishment of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities in 2009 had the unintentional consequence of slowing down the transformation agenda in the short term due to the time taken in establishing an administration in the Department as well as resourcing constraints within the Department.
              3. All national government departments, provincial administrations as well as district and local municipalities are required to appoint/designate a disability focal person/unit to coordinate the mainstreaming of Impairment considerations within each of these institutions.  These focal points converge in the National Disability Rights Machinery, which is constituted by, among others, the Inter-Departmental Coordinating Committee, the Provincial Coordinating Forum, and the National Disability Rights Forum which brings civil society on board.  A recent review of the National Disability Rights Machinery revealed significant challenges with regards mandate, capacity, functionality and impact of Impairment focal points and coordinating structures across all three spheres of government, and a significant overhaul of the machinery is currently underway.
              4. The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), established by sections 181 and 184 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 constitutional mandate is to protect and monitor human rights as well as to promote the culture of human rights in South Africa. This in particular includes the promotion and protection of the rights of groups which are vulnerable to discrimination, exclusion and inequality.  The SAHRC, as an ��A�� status National Human Rights Institution and in line with its Constitutional mandate, has the potential to be part of the framework as an independent mechanism to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the Convention. Government will embark on a formal consultative process, which will include civil society, in the establishment of this monitoring framework as required by Article 33(2). 
              5. The Committee is enabled by Section 5 of the Human Rights Commission Act, 1994 to appoint expert panels to play an advisory role on key issues.  A Section 5 Committee on CRPD has been established.  The Committee has representatives from the disability sector and academia (both domestic and international). Some of the current members include representatives from: the South African Disability Alliance, the Western Cape Cerebral Palsy Association, Down Syndrome South Africa, the QuadPara Association of South Africa, the University of the Western Cape Centre for Disability Law and Policy, the Cape Mental Health Society as well as the Harvard Law School Project on Disability.
              6. The Commission notes in its August 2011 Submission to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Human Rights Council Resolution 16/15, that it discussed the implications of Article 33(2) on the work of the Committee briefly at one of the Commission��s Section 5 committee meetings but there is a need for further engagement and dialogue internally within the Commission in respect to the implementation of Article 33(2). The Section 5 committee is convened once to twice per annum to provide civil society and academic role players an opportunity to share their experiences and challenges regarding the implementation of the CRPD with the Commission.  Issues raised are included in the Commission��s work plan as well as engagements with government. 
              7. The central role organisations of and for persons with disabilities should play in monitoring implementation of the CRPD is acknowledged. 
              8. The South African Disability Alliance, in acknowledging the capacity constraints of the sector to systematically monitor implementation of the CRPD, in 2012 launched a South African chapter of Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI) in partnership with York University.  Twenty five (25) candidates from four provinces participated in the first training session. 



              1. It is acknowledged that weaknesses in the governance machinery of the State, as well as capacity constraints in weaknesses in coordination within the disability sector, detracted from a systematic approach to the implementation of the CRPD.
              2. The continued vulnerability of persons with disabilities, and in particular children with disabilities as well as persons with psycho-social disabilities, residing in rural villages, requires more vigorous, coordinated and targeted intervention.
              3. South Africa remains committed to accelerate its national agenda for the progressive realisation of rights of persons with disabilities by, among others
                    • Strengthening baseline information for every Article of the CRPD,
                    • strengthening its mainstreamed legislative and policy framework,
                    • targeting interventions in a coordinated and integrated manner through transversal policy and legislation as well as monitoring mechanisms.
                    • strengthening its national disability rights machinery, including creating more enabling environments for organisations of persons with disabilities,
                    • strengthening accountability and monitoring through the introduction of disability rights-based indicators into the government-wide monitoring and evaluation system, and above all,
                    • accelerating implementation of policies and programmes that aim to provide equal access to persons with disabilities, including disability-specific programmes aimed at addressing barriers to participation.



              March 2013




              Adnams, Colleen M. (2010). Perspectives of intellectual Impairment in South Africa: epidemiology, policy, services for children and adults. Curr Opin Psychiatry 23: 436-440, 2010.

              Buga, H. (2007).  Reflections on Impairment: Perspectives on South Africa, India and the United States of America.  UCT Lawspace.  http://lawspace.law.uct.ac.za:8080/dspace/handle/2165/304

              Burns, Jonathan K. (2011). The Mental Health Gap in South Africa – A Human Rights Issue. The Equal Review Review, Vol. Six (2011).

              Children��s Act, 2005 (Act 38 of 2005)

              Code of Good Practice on Employment of Persons with disabilities, 2002

              Commission on Gender Equality Act, 1996 (Act 39 of 1996),

              Community Agency for Social Enquiry (2009). The Status of Older Persons in South Africa – A National Study on the Needs and Access to Services of Older Persons. Researched for the South Africa Department of Social Development, 2009.

              Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996)

              Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or

              Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Ratified in 1995)

              Corporal Punishment Act, 1977 (Act 51 of 1977)

              Criminal Procedure Second Amendment Act, (Act 75 of 1995)

              Dementia SA (2011). Comment on National Health Insurance (NHI) Green Paper. Submitted to South Africa Department of Social Development December 2011.

              Dube, A.K. (2005).  The role and effectiveness of Impairment legislation in South Africa.  Impairment KAR Knowledge and Research

              Electoral Act, 1998 (Act 73 of 1998)

              Employment Equity Act, 1998 (Act 55 of 1998)

              Housing Act (Act 107 of 1997)

              Income Tax Act, 1962 (Act 58 of 1962)

              Lang, Raymond (2007). The Situation of Disabled People in the Republic of South Africa. Leonard Cheshire Impairment and Inclusive Development Center Working Paper Series: No. 5 – Dr. Raymond Lang.

              Mental Health Care Act, 2002 (Act 17 of 2002)

              Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003 (Act 56 of 2003)

              National Building Regulations and Building Standards Amendment Act (Part S), 1997 (Act 103 of 1977)

              National Crime Prevention Strategy, 1996

              National Education Policy Act (Act 27 of 1996)

              National Health Act, 2003 (Act 61 of 2003)

              National Rehabilitation Policy, 2006

              Oortman/St Thomas - http://www.sahrc.org.za/home/21/files/MPL%20Judgement.pdf

              Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination, 2000 (Act 4 of 2000)

              Punishment (Ratified in 1998)

              Republic of South Africa (2002). Mental Health Care Act, 2002. No. 17 of 2002.

              Republic of South Africa (2006). Older Persons Act, 2006. No. 13 of 2006.

              Robbins, Reuben N. et al (2011). Screening for HIV-Associated Dementia in South Africa: Potentials and Pitfalls of Task-Shifting. AIDS PATIENT CARE and STDs Volume 25, Number 10, 2011.

              SAHRC, Equality Report 2012

              Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act 97 of 1998)

              Skills Development Levies Act (Act 9 of 1999)

              Social Assistance Amendment Act, 2008 (Act 6 of 2008)

              Soreaso Consulting and South African Medical Research Council (2011). A Report on Access to Housing Opportunities of Older Persons in the Western Cape, with Special Reference to State Pensioners. Compiled for the Sector Task Team for Older Persons (STTOP), July 2011

              South Africa Committee for Inquiry into a Comprehensive Social Security System (2001). Social Security Policy Options for People with Disabilities in South Africa: an International and Comparative Review. The Child Health Policy Institute and The South African Federal Council on Impairment, March 2001.

              South Africa Department of Public Works (2010). Impairment Policy Guideline.

              South Africa Department of Social Development (1997). Integrated National Impairment Strategy White Paper. Office of the Deputy President, November 1997.

              South Africa Department of Social Development (2001). The African Decade of Disabled Persons 2000-2009, Background and Status Report.

              South Africa Department of Social Development (2006). Impairment Rights Charter of South Africa.

              South Africa Department of Social Development (2007). Policy on Impairment.

              South Africa Department of Social Development (2009). National Policy Guidelines for Victim Empowerment.

              South Africa Department of Social Development (2012). Presentation to the Portfolio & Selected Committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities – Responses on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by Department of Social Development. 29 August 2012.

              South Africa Department of Social Development (2012). Service Specifications for Funding of National Bodies, Department of Social Development Financial Year: 2012/13. Directorate: Services to People with Disabilities.

              South Africa Department of Social Development (2012). Service Specifications for Funding of National Bodies, Department of Social Development Financial Year: 2012/13. Directorate: Care and Services to Older Persons.

              South Africa Department of Social Development. South African Older Persons Charter.

              South Africa Department of Sport and Recreation (2008). Norms and Standards for Sport and Recreation Infrastructure Provision and Management, 2008.

              South Africa Department of Women, Children & People with Disabilities (2012). Annual Report 2011-2012.

              South African Citizenship Act, 1995 (Act 88 of 1995)

              South African Human Rights Commission (2011). Overview of SAHRC Activities on CRPD.

              South African Human Rights Commission (2011). Submission to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Human Rights Council Resolution 16/15. 31 August 2011.

              South African Human Rights Commission (2012). South African Human Rights Commission Equality Report – Commentaries on Equality: Race, Gender, Impairment and LGBTI Issues.

              South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act 68 of 1995)

              South African Schools Act (Act 84 of 1996)

              Technical Assistance Guidelines on the Employment of Persons with disabilities, 2002

              The Sexual Offences Act (Act 32 of 2007)

              Umgungundlovu Disabilty Forum (2010). Shadow Report to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

              UNAIDS and Global Contact Group on AIDS and Impairment (2012). Framework for the Inclusion of Impairment in the National Strategic Plans on HIV and AIDS.

              United Nations (2012). Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, South Africa. GA A/HRC/21/16, 9 July 2012.

              United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Resolution 61/106)

              Van Reenen, Tobias Pieter and Helene Combrink (2011). The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa: Progress After 5 Years. SUR-International Journal on Human Rights, Vol 8, No. 14, 133-1615, June 2011.

              White Paper on Affirmative Action in the Public Service, 1998

              White Paper on Early Childhood Education (2001)

              White Paper on Inclusive Education (2001)

              White Paper on Social Welfare, 1997

              White Paper on Transformation of the Public Service, 1997 (Batho Pele) 


              Department of Arts and Culture

              Department of Basic Education

              Department of Communications

              Department of Cooperative Governance

              Department of Correctional Services

              Department of Defence

              Department of Energy

              Department of Health

              Department of Home Affairs

              Department of Human Settlements

              Department of International Relations and Cooperation

              Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

              Department of Labour

              Department of Mineral Resources

              Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

              Department of Public Enterprises

              Department of Public Service and Administration

              Department of Public Works

              Department of Rural Development and Land Reform

              Department of Science and Technology

              Department of Social Development

              Department of Sport and Recreation

              Department of Tourism

              Department of Trade and Industry

              Department of Transport

              Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities

              Eastern Cape Provincial Government

              Gamagara District Council

              Government Communication and Information System

              Kareeberg District Council

              Karoo Hoogland District Council

              Limpopo Department of Sport, Arts and Culture

              Limpopo Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs

              Limpopo Department of Social Development

              Limpopo Office of the Premier

              Limpopo Province Department of Agriculture

              Limpopo Province Department of Economic Development, Environment & Tourism

              Limpopo Province Dept of Education

              Limpopo Province Dept of Health

              Limpopo Province Dept of Public Works

              Limpopo Province Dept of Roads and Transport

              Limpopo Province Dept of Safety, Security & Liaison

              Limpopo Provincial Administration

              North West Inter-Departmental Committee on Disability

              Free State Office on the Status of Disabled Persons

              Pixley ka Seme District Council

              Provincial Government of Eastern Cape

              Provincial Government of Free State

              Provincial Government of Gauteng

              Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal

              Provincial Government of North West

              Provincial Government of Northern Cape

              Provincial Government of Western Cape

              Sol Plaatje District Council

              South African Broadcasting Corporation

              South African Police Services

              South African Revenue Services

              Sports & Recreation South Africa

              Statistics SA

              The Department of Trade and Industry

              The Presidency

              Western Cape Provincial Government

              Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre

              Pan South African Language Board

              National Lottery Board 

              CIVIL SOCIETY

              A group of women with disabilities who live in the communities of New Crossroads, Browns Farm, Khayelitsha, Phillipi, Harare and Lusaka

              Afrika Tikkun - Empowerment Programme- Children with Disabilities and Their Families Self-help Group, Arekopaneng Centre, Orange Farm

              Afrika Tikkun/ Centre for Applied Legal Studies, the University of Witwatersrand/ Werksmans Attorneys (Joint submission)

              Anna-Marie Havenga (Researcher at the South African Law Reform Commission)

              Association for Hearing Loss, Accessibility and Development

              Blind SA

              Campaign on the Right to Education for Children with Disabilities (R2ECWD) Policy Review Sub-Group

              Campaign on the Right to Education for Children with Disabilities (R2ECWD) ECD Sub-Group

              CBR Education and Training for Empowerment (CREATE)

              Centre for Applied Legal Studies

              Dementia South Africa

              Democratic Alliance

              Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town

              Disabled People South Africa

              Down Syndrome South Africa

              Durban Child and Youth Care Centre

              Epilepsy SA


              Gauteng Consumer Advocacy Movement

              Gina Pieterse (Health:  Specialized Services, Psychiatry)

              KwaZulu-Natal Association for the Physically Challenged

              KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health Employees with Disabilities Forum

              Louise Botha (ASD: transformation/ gender focal person (DWA Gauteng region)

              Muscular Dystrophy Foundation SA

              National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa

              North West Provincial Disability Forum

              Orange Farm Self Help Group

              Parents for Children with Special Educational Needs (PACSEN)

              Pierre van Wyk (Researcher at the South African Law Reform Commission)

              Prof CJ (Trynie) Boezaart (University of Pretoria, Department of Private Law)

              SA Federation for Mental Health

              SADECO Quantum Consulting

              Shellique Carby

              South African Federation for Mental Health

              South African National Council for the Blind

              Transport Users Group of South Africa

              Ubuntu Centre South Africa

              Umgungundlovu Disability Forum

              University of Cape Town Impairment Studies, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

              UWC Centre for Disability Law and Policy  

              Institutions Promoting Democracy

              Commission on Gender Equality

              Independent Electoral Commission

              Public Service Commission

              South African Human Rights Commission

                South Africa - First Country Report: UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (March 2013)


                South Africa - First Country Report: UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (March 2013)


                South Africa - First Country Report: UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (March 2013)


              1 It should be noted that Statistics South Africa however cautions that the pattern between 2002 and 2010 is not consistent, and that this could be due to the small sample of persons with disabilities in this age group in the survey.

              2 It should be noted that this figure was challenged by a large number of submissions received on the draft report.

              3 Between 2002 and 2011 the number of public special schools in the country increased from 375 to 423.

              4 The Higher Education Management System (HEMIS)

              5 Equality Court Case 1/2010 Lettie Hazel Oortman/St Thomas Aquinas Private School and Bernard Langton

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