Women, youth and people with disabilities suffered marginalization and exclusion under apartheid. Against this backdrop, the redress and mainstreaming of the rights of women, youth and people with disabilities has been at the center of government’s policies and programs since the inception of democracy in 1994.

Given the role of the Gauteng Premier, Mr. David Makhura, as the head of provincial government and his office as the political nerve centre, the office of the premier has a central role to play in championing Gender, Youth and Disability (GEYODI) rights, not just in the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) but in the Gauteng City Region (GCR) more broadly.

The GEYODI Division forms part of the Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Branch in the Gauteng Planning Division. GEYODI is responsible for driving provincial GEYODI policy, programs and mainstreaming service delivery to improve the lives of targeted groups. Key activities include advocacy and campaigns as well as cementing partnerships with civil society bodies.

Disability Rights Awareness Month, from 3 November to 3 December this year, will emphasize the need to give expression to the rights of people with disabilities. This year’s theme is “Celebrating 20 years of the rights of persons with disabilities in our Democracy! Together we move Gauteng forward through radical socio-economic transformation.” The month’s activities will culminate in a major event to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December. The program boasts music, sports and other cultural performances by persons with disabilities. Direct service delivery will be featured, including mobile clinics and services from Home Affairs, SASSA and SAPS.

The month will kick off with the national launch of Disability Rights Awareness Month on 3 November in Gauteng. A number of GPG disability rights program are planned for the month, including an event on radical economic transformation for people with disabilities. All Departments have also been requested to procure goods and services from enterprises owned by people with disabilities to improve their economic empowerment.

Discussions will be held with the representatives of the disability rights sector to review policies and priorities.

The month’s activities aim to promote the advancement of disability rights, to profile key interventions to empower people with disabilities and strengthen access to services and opportunities for people with disabilities.

Progress had also been made in making the Office of the Premier more accessible to staff members with disabilities, I believe progress had been made in making the building more accessible - this includes assistive devices.