National Disability Summit

Rolling Inspiration is the only glossy, lifestyle magazine on the African continent for people with mobility impairments. Thursday, 15 March 2012, we received an emailed invitation to attend the National Disability Summit that was commencing the very next day!

Hosted by the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Ms Lulu Xingwana, and the Deputy Minister, Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, the summit was to be a platform of engagement and consultation among stakeholders on priority issues relating to people with disabilities with the following aims:

  • Reaching consensus on the 2012-14 National DisabilityAgenda
  • Reaching consensus on the approach to the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD)
  • Consult further on the framework of the National Disability Policy;
  • Updating delegates on status of the First CountryReport on the UNCRPD
  • Establishment of a resource/capacity base for the mainstreaming of disability considerations in Southern Africa.

As Ms Bogopane-Zulu is sight impaired the summi tbegan with those present introducing themselves and their organisations. Although well attended by municipal and department employees, there was only a handful of disability organisations present, and no one from the South AfricanDisability Association, SADA.

Clarification on the absence of SADA and other organisations was requested from the floor and the Deputy Minister responded by saying that the missing organisations felt they had not received enough notice of the summit. However she had informed the top five organisations, it was Disabled People South Africa, the South African National Council for the Blind, the Deaf Federation of South Africa, Mental Health South Africa and the Association for Persons with Physical disabilities, on the Monday two weeks prior to the summit and that it had previously been agreed with the organisations that two weeksnotice was sufficient.

SADA Chairperson, Mr Muzi Nkosi, provided RollingInspiration with SADA's reasons for non-participation in the summit:

It was previously agreed with the Ministry that a task team would handle the process towards the proposed summit. The task team has never met and, although SADA was informed of the date of the summit they were not provided with the agenda of issues to be discussed. As SADA did not receive any documentation with regard to the summit they were unable to preparefor the summit.

The majority of the SADA leadership had prior commitments on the scheduled dates and were unable to attend.

SADA requested that the summit be postponed as,"We strongly feel that the summit is ill advised and shall be illegitimate and in contravention of the UNCRPD without the participation of the SADA."

SADA never received a response to their correspondence and the summit went ahead without them.