DSD observes International Day of Persons with Disabilities | Western Cape Government


DSD observes International Day of Persons with Disabilities

3 December 2020

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is observed on the 3 December to promote the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of social life.

The theme adopted by the United Nations (UN) this year is “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 World”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over one billion people - about 15% of the global population - experience some form of disability.

The Western Cape Minister for Social Development, Sharna Fernandez said, “We all have to take collective responsibility to establish a safer and disability-inclusive society, especially considering that persons with disabilities are at a greater risk of violence, abuse and various forms of discrimination.”

Minister Fernandez added, “All of us have a role to play in educating our family members, peers and others who we might not know, about the barriers and challenges faced by many persons with disabilities.

I also wish to appeal to all communities to help us in safeguarding the rights and promoting the needs of persons with disabilities- 365 Days of the year.”

Today, the Department will be participating in various activities that include among others;

  • Workshop on disability mainstreaming for managers and supervisors in collaboration with the Department of Transport and Provincial Treasury.   

The main aim of the workshop is to raise awareness and promote action for the rights of persons with disabilities.

  • A National DSD Webinar focusing on empowerment & mainstreaming of services Persons with Disabilities.

The Department with the support of it Non-Profit Organization (NPO) partners, renders services to over 91 000 people living with disabilities (as per our verified data of 2019/20) in the Western Cape, and funds  220 NGOs which render key services in addition to departmental services. 

Services rendered by the Department and its NPO partners include:

  • Disability awareness and educational programmes,
  • Developmental supportive and therapeutic services (social work interventions): counselling, support group programmes, daycare programmes for adults and children with disabilities,
  • Support programmes for families/caregivers,
  • Protective workshops services and residential care services.

Residential care services:

The Development provides funding to 39 residential care facilities that offer specialized care options for 1673 people with disabilities. Of the 39 funded residential facilities - 5 facilities provide specialized care for children with severe to profound intellectual disabilities. 

Residential care facilities are established communities that offer various levels of care, support and guidance for residents. These facilities encourage their residents to grow and live a life of value. Furthermore, all residents are encouraged to decide what they wish to accomplish but are done so under the supervision of dedicated staff and their respective family members.

The Department has budgeted R50. 089 million for the current financial years towards these respective facilities.

Social Work Services:

  • Awareness and educational programmes on disability issues.
  • Provision of social work services: counselling services, trauma debriefings.
  • Peer support programmes.
  • Family/parental support programmes.
  • Empowerment programmes for persons with disabilities: Life skills programmes, programmes enhancing positive self-image, self-perception.

Protective Workshop Services; that include working with NPOs. The Department funds several workshops for people with disabilities. In light of the current Covid19 pandemic- the department developed and implemented service continuity plans in case the workforce is reduced, or new workers are recruited in consultation with people with disability, their families and other local disability and caregiver agencies. 

Daycare centres (for both children and adults): Centres are managed by NPOs to provide day-time supervised care, stimulation, structured programmes and activities. 

The Department also subsidises the salaries of carers and programme implementers, and the safe transportation of children with severe and profound intellectual disability at 44-day care centres.

"Albeit that the current COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges, we still have an opportunity now, to build on the learnings from these last few months, and adapt existing new systems that are more responsive to the needs of persons with disabilities,” concluded Minister Fernandez. 

For more information contact:

For the contact details on residential care facilitates run by the Department’s partners, please see the link below:  


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

For more information about our other services, please refer to the Western Cape Department’s Website below:


Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949

Email: Joshua.chigome@westerncape.gov.za­