Ndp disability Disaggregation Document

DISABILITY AND THE NDP Disability and the Goal of Poverty Eradication

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  1. Disability and the Goal of Poverty Eradication

This policy paper will not analyse all the arguments for and against the ‘omission’ of disability in the NDP. However, it is worth noting that the task of mainstreaming disability becomes substantially difficult if there are no adequate strategies and resources for disability inclusion.

For instance, many people with disabilities argue that the exclusion of disability in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) meant that these objectives were destined for failure right from the start as they could not be achieved with the exclusion of more than 10% of the population who were people with disabilities at the time. This percentage has since increased to 15% (WHO) and will increase by 2030, partly as a result of planned improvements in healthcare that will result in an increase in older people and increased life expectation of persons with disabilities.
Many activists, leaders and experts in the field of disability agree that disability considerations must be mainstreamed and included in all sectors of society, socio-economy and government. The effectiveness of mainstreaming and inclusion strategies should be measured by the extent to which people with disabilities enjoy human rights, including the benefits of economic growth. They should have good well-being and have access to service delivery on an equal basis with other population groups. Policy and planning for disability and its consequences is essential as the fallout as result of inaction on this count is evident.
Inclusion is about being appreciated, valued and respected in the social, economic, political and cultural life of the community; being recognized for the abilities and talents one does have; being given the same opportunities and encouragement to develop and grow into the kind of person one chooses; and, developing trusted relationships and friendships to develop to the best of one’s ability and create the kind of life that one values (CACL and II16, 2003).
In practical terms inclusion is:

  • targeted at the ways in which communities, systems and societies are organized;

  • about transforming communities, systems and societies to be diversity-sensitive;

  • a sustainable vehicle for achieving human rights.

While the core elements, themes and objectives of the NDP include aspirations of people with disabilities, there is a need to explicitly formulate and mainstream targets that will ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded from benefiting from the outcomes of the NDP. There is also a need to address disability-specific obligations as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to which South Africa is a signatory.

The NDP addresses the issue of poverty eradication as a key outcome of the plan. Persons with disabilities are among the most disadvantaged people in South Africa and the world. People with disabilities are over-represented amongst the poorest of the poor. The relationship between disability and poverty has often been referred to as a vicious circle with disability causing poverty and vice versa.
Poverty is not simply a matter of incomes that are too low to meet basic subsistence needs. It is above all, a symptom of imbedded structural imbalances, which manifest themselves in all domains of human existence. As such, poverty is highly correlated with social exclusion, marginalisation, vulnerability, powerlessness, isolation and other economic, political, social and cultural dimensions of deprivation (Yeo, (2005:21)).
Poverty results from limited or no access to basic infrastructure and services, and is further compounded by people’s lack of access to land, credit, technology, supportive institutions, and productive assets or resources needed to ensure sustainable livelihoods. All these attributes also relate to disability.
Thus by prioritising eradication of poverty, the NDP provides an opportunity to ensure that people with disabilities also benefit from economic growth on an equitable basis with other population groups.

  1. Disability and the Goal of Reducing Inequality

Historically, society has tended to isolate and segregate individuals with disabilities. Discrimination against individuals with disabilities persists in such critical areas as employment, housing, public accommodations, education, transportation, communication, recreation, institutionalization, health services, voting and access to public services.

The continuing existence of unfair or unnecessary discrimination and prejudice denies people with disabilities the opportunity to compete on an equal basis with others and to pursue opportunities such as those in the NDP. The costs to the country are high when one takes into account expenses related to dependency and non-productivity.
Equality is at the heart of the disability movement’s human rights philosophy and the CRPD. The latter defines “discrimination on the basis of disability” as any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal basis with others, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. It includes all forms of discrimination, including denial of reasonable accommodation (CRPD Article 2).
This definition is supported by Article 5 on the CRPD on equality and non-discrimination, which among other things commits States to:

  1. Recognize that all persons are equal before and under the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law.

  2. Prohibit all discrimination on the basis of disability and guarantee to people with disabilities equal and effective legal protection against discrimination on all grounds.

  3. Take all appropriate steps to ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided.

These values are echoed in South Africa’s Constitution. Thus by targeting a reduction in inequality, the NDP provides a unique opportunity to respond to the needs of people with disabilities in line with the Constitution, CRPD and the different policies/ legislation currently in place in South Africa.

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