Deputy Public Protector calls on those living with disability to stand up for their rights
People living with disability should stand up for their rights and ensure that they were not excluded from receiving the services any South African citizen and resident ought to receive, Deputy Public Protector Adv. Kevin Malunga has said.
He was addressing the KG Maluleke Disability Memorial Integration’s event in Polokwane on the role of his office regarding the constitutional rights of people with disabilities.
The Deputy Public Protector said people who lived with any form of disability and felt excluded or discriminated against because of their physical being should approach his office.
Adv. Malunga told the attendants that the state had domestic and international obligations to ensure that the rights of people living with disabilities were protected.
He lauded the South Africa government for its commitment and work done on ensuring that constitutional provisions and supporting laws that safeguard the rights of people living with disabilities were being implemented and complied with.
Adv. Malunga admitted, however, that despite the existence of such laws and the progressive constitution, people living with disabilities were at times pushed to the sidelines.
The Deputy Public Protector said this made it harder for them to be heard and denied them access to job opportunities, amongst other things. Advising that legal support services provided by disability organisations were available to be explored, Adv. Malunga also committed his office to assist.
“You are not disabled,” Adv. Malunga said, “You are abled differently.” Adv. Malunga encouraged those living with disability to use the services provided by his office and the South African Human Rights Commission, saying his office had jurisdiction over a range of public sector entities including those focusing on health, education, social services and child welfare.
He implored government and other organs of state to ensure that they employed people living with disabilities and that government office are user friendly and fitted with wheelchair ramps and Braille facilities, amongst other things. Adv. Malunga said departments such as Education, Social Development, Labour and government in general have a peculiar obligation to ensure that people living with disabilities wre empowered.
He commended the KG Maluleke Disability Memorial Integration for the good work it is doing in integrating children living with disabilities into mainstream schools. The event was attended by donors, youth and government officials in the province.
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