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South Africa – Disability

South Africa is a country located at the southern tip of the African continent. The country has a population of over 60 million people, with an estimated 7.5% of the population living with a disability. In recent years, the South African government has made efforts to improve disability rights, but challenges such as discrimination and limited access to resources remain.

Attitudes to disability

In South Africa, attitudes to disability have traditionally been negative. Many people with disabilities have experienced stigmatization and discrimination in their daily lives, including in the workplace and in educational settings. People with disabilities have also been subject to physical and emotional abuse and have limited access to basic services such as healthcare and education.

However, in recent years, there has been a growing movement to change attitudes towards people with disabilities. Disability rights organizations have been established, and advocacy campaigns have been launched to raise awareness of disability issues and promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in all areas of society.

Discrimination and legislation issues

Despite efforts to promote disability rights, discrimination against people with disabilities remains a significant problem in South Africa. The country’s laws and policies provide some protections for people with disabilities, but implementation is often poor, and enforcement is weak.

The Constitution of South Africa, adopted in 1996, includes provisions protecting the rights of people with disabilities. In 2010, the government passed the Integrated National Disability Strategy (INDS), which aims to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in all areas of society. The INDS includes provisions for accessible infrastructure, healthcare, education, and employment.

However, despite these legal protections, people with disabilities still face discrimination in many areas of life. For example, many buildings and public spaces are not accessible to people with disabilities, and employers often discriminate against job applicants with disabilities. People with disabilities also have limited access to healthcare services, particularly in rural areas.


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Public transport and building access

Public transport in South Africa is generally not accessible to people with disabilities. Most buses and taxis do not have wheelchair ramps or other accommodations, and trains are not always accessible. This makes it difficult for people with disabilities to travel independently and participate fully in society.

Building access for people with disabilities is also limited in South Africa. Although the government has made efforts to improve accessibility, many buildings, including public buildings and schools, are still not accessible to people with disabilities. This limits the ability of people with disabilities to participate fully in community life and access basic services.

Lobbying/advocacy groups

There are several organizations in South Africa that advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. These include:

  • Disabled People South Africa (DPSA): DPSA is a national organization that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities in South Africa. The organization provides information and resources to people with disabilities, and campaigns for improved disability rights.
  • The National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA): NCPPDSA is a national organization that advocates for the rights of people with physical disabilities in South Africa. The organization provides support and resources to people with disabilities and campaigns for improved accessibility and inclusion.
  • The South African Disability Alliance (SADA): SADA is a national umbrella organization for disability rights groups in South Africa. The organization advocates for the rights of people with disabilities and works to promote inclusion and accessibility.

Contact details for these organizations can be found on their respective websites.

Overall, disabled individuals in South Africa face significant challenges when it comes to access to education, employment, and public services. Discrimination and negative attitudes towards disabled individuals are still prevalent, and legislative protections are not always effectively enforced. However, there are a number of advocacy groups and support organizations working to promote disability rights and improve the lives of disabled individuals in South Africa. Efforts are also being made to improve accessibility and address discrimination, although progress has been slow in many areas.


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