Public Works provides greater access for the disabled

The Department of Public Works has various disability initiatives geared towards dissemination of information and creating awareness about disability so as to play an active role in responding to the challenges faced by people living with disabilities.

The Disability Disclosure Drive is an active initiative in the department which encourages employees to disclose their disability status, increase awareness amongst staff members and de-stigmatise disability in the workplace.

“As the Department, we are trying by all means to build an inclusive society that does not discriminate against people living with disabilities. As such, through the Special Programmes unit we are continuously identifying initiatives where there is a need for intervention so as to create better living conditions for people with disabilities” said the Hon MEC Babalo Madikizela.

He further said, “The first step in integrating people living with disabilities is having the ability to effectively communicate with the disabled so as to have a better understanding of their needs. This can be achieved through basic sign language training and continued dialogue with the relevant stakeholders to deal with the challenges faced by the disabled”

The Special Programmes Unit (SPU) conducted a Sign Language training to equip frontline office employees with basic sign language communication skills from all six (6) Regions of the department and Head Office that act as intermediaries between the public and the department. This will help to ensure sufficient and effective communication between the frontline staff and people living with disabilities.

The department has a set target of 2% in terms of Employee Equity report for people with disabilities. Currently the department is at 1%. The department has put in place plans in order to bridge the gap:

  1. Approach National and Provincial organisations of people with disabilities for database
  2. Do more Disability Disclosure Campaigns
  3. Crafting of adverts to indicate areas of underrepresentation and send advert to relevant institutions such as regional offices, library notice boards and institutions of persons with disabilities.

The department also visited Cheshire Home, a disability centre that provides Shelter and care to 20 destitute children with mental and physical disabilities aged between 6 (six) and 18 years in Mount Fletcher, Joe Gqabi Region.

The centre was in a desperate need for major renovations and maintenance work that the department provided through the Joe Gqabi Region Accelerated Professional and Trade Competency Development (APTCoD) learners and the intervention of the Women’s forum.

Some of the work done include painting, carpentry, fixing broken kitchen cupboards, wardrobes, plumbing, gardening, fencing and handing over of trash bins to the centre. The department also donated additional support material such as a television set and a Jojo tank.

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