Minister welcomes the start of National Disability Rights Awareness Month | Western Cape Government

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Minister welcomes the start of National Disability Rights Awareness Month

2 November 2020

The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) along with the rest of South Africa commemorates National Disability Rights Awareness Month annually between 3 November and 3 December.

For this year's Disability Right's Awareness Month, the following sub-themes are intended to focus conversations on priority areas identified by the disability sector, which also link to the seven priorities of government:

Week 1: Children and young persons with disabilities empowered to chart their destiny through access to quality lifelong learning
Week 2: A built environment accessible to all persons with disabilities
Week 3: Persons with disabilities as equal players in building inclusive economies
Week 4: Children and women with disabilities – feeling and being safe as equal citizens in their communities

The provincial DSD provides funding to more than 220 Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs), which includes residential care facilities for adults and children with disabilities, day-care centres for both children and adults with disabilities, protective workshops as well as social service organisations.

For the 2020/21 financial year,  R196.46 million has been budgeted for developmental social welfare services to persons with disabilities, their families and/ or caregivers. This reflects a nearly 400% increase in our budget for persons with disabilities over the past 10 years (R50.85 million was budgeted for Disabilities at DSD in the 2009/10 financial year).

During the previous financial year, more than 91 181people with disabilities (per our verified data for 2019/20) accessed our social welfare services. 

Although there is no single definition of disability that has achieved consensus, all rights-based definitions share common elements which include:

1. presence of impairment,

2. internal and external limitations or barriers that hinder full and equal participation

3. Loss or lack of access to opportunities due to environmental barriers and/or negative perceptions and attitudes of society


The Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez said, “We will continue to put the needs of persons with disabilities at the centre of all the work we do. Promoting and establishing an inclusive society remains a key priority of the Department and is crucial to building a dignified life for all our citizens in the Province.” 

Through our Disability Mainstreaming Strategy, the Department continues advocating, striving for and ensuring that the disability element is inherent in every programme or project implemented by the Department.

The Department is also working in partnership with the NGO sector on:

· Advocacy on access to services:

· Shift on Policy Development: issues of disability being recognised and taken into account; and

· Progress made on the availability of Mainstream ECDs and access to services in Special Day Care Centres.


Some recent achievements of our Program for Persons with Disabilities Programme include:

· The approval of a disability mainstreaming strategy;

· The training of social workers on Mental Disability and a Uniform Referral Pathway for holistic assessment and appropriate referral of persons with disabilities;

· The establishment of Parent support structures in partnership with the Disabled Children Action Group (an NPO run and managed by the parents of children with disabilities), and some local municipalities;

· The expansion of Peer Support Programme services in and across the Province; and

· Capacity building on norms and standards and improved monitoring and reporting processes, which has resulted in increased NPO compliance.

In building a society that is truly ‘Better Together’, the provision of integrated programmes and services to Persons with Disabilities and their families/ caregivers must be regarded as a key pillar.

For more information contact:

Any persons interested in finding out more information about the services we offer those persons with disabilities can make contact with our department by calling, 0800 220 250, to be directed to your nearest local DSD office, or by emailing

Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949