Minister Fritz addresses launch of The Open Circle
[NOTE TO EDITORS: The following is an extract of the keynote address delivered by Minister Albert Fritz at the launch of The Open Circle on Friday 06 March 2015, in Maitland, Cape Town. Photos are available on request.]
Chairperson of The Open Circle – Cheryl Baratt,
The management and staff of this facility,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning to you all,
For far too long people with intellectual disabilities have been sidelined. This must end. Working in partnerships, we can ensure every person living with a disability is accorded the very same rights we enjoy, and are assisted and empowered to lead fulfilling lives and pursue their happiness.
I believe this can be achieved if we adopt a whole-of-society approach involving all spheres of government, including building partnerships with the private sector, NGOs, and individuals. This is what ‘Better Together’ means.
The Open Circle represents the very best of what dedicated people partnering with government can achieve. This partnership includes the Provincial Departments of Social Development, Health, and Public Works.
The Western Cape Department of Social Development continues to work very hard to improve the efficiency and reach of social development services in this province, especially to people with disabilities.
As such, our department is leading the WC Premier’s special project in partnership with the NGO sector to identify and assist children with disabilities not currently accessing services.
In addition, as of last financial year the department took the lead in giving substance to the court ruling that children with severe and profound intellectual disabilities must have access to care and education. This is no small undertaking, and it is likely to require over R50m in investment by the province in meeting the needs of these most vulnerable members of our society. However we are committed to achieving this.
Our efforts as a department are not limited to the extension of welfare to people with disabilities. We believe opportunities for development and inclusion in the economy is also important, especially for disabled youth. Our Youth Cafés play a critical role in this regard.
We have already launched the first youth café in Rocklands, Mitchell Plain and at the Vangate Mall last year. The next youth cafés will be opening in this year in Atlantis, George and Nyanga Junction, and ofcourse, they will be accessible to people with disabilities. Youth Cafes offer enabling opportunities such as training, broadband internet access, and entrepreneurial skills.
Let me once again congratulate The Open Circle Team and wish you well. The years ahead will require your continued hard work and commitment, and as a provincial government we are determined to play our part and deliver. If we work in a whole-of-society manner, we can achieve success “Better Together”.
Spokesperson for Albert Fritz, Minister of Social Development
Western Cape Government
7th floor, 14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8000
Tel : (021) 483 9217
Cell : 083 280 9199
Email : Sihle.Ngobese@westerncape.gov.za