The unemployment crisis in South Africa has hit catastrophic proportions, specifically in the area of Designated Groups. There are many people, particularly persons with disabilities that are facing unemployment in South Africa, as a result of socio-economic circumstances, lack of adequate education or skills, and the absence of access to technology such as the internet to source opportunities or apply for employment. The situation is further compounded by barriers which could easily be overcome if there was a consensus of employing persons with disabilities making good business sense. It is, therefore, imperative that organisations use the tools available and invest their Skills Development 6% Leviable Amount (annual payroll), in a meaningful and sustainable manner for the future benefit of their organisation and persons with disabilities alike.
In an effort to assist the process of integrating persons with disabilities within the workplace ‘A Toolkit for the Private Sector: Promoting the Right to Work of Persons with Disabilities’, was launched by the South African Human Rights Commission. This design of the Toolkit was developed through a collaborative process, in order to bring together a large body of information, guidelines, legislation and links to best practices and resources.
Advocate Bokankatla Joseph Malatji, the Commissioner of the South African Human Rights Commission, at the launch of the Toolkit, had the following message for South African employers.
“As many people may know, I was born with a disability. Being blind brings with it many limitations, but I have learned that it is possible to rise above the limitations and not let a disability get in the way of life, progress and success. I did it and I encourage all people with disabilities to consider how they can turn their disabilities into abilities – because it is our abilities that matter, not our disabilities.Most importantly, I believe that we all have a part to play in raising the awareness of disability as an important human rights issue.”