South Africa


  • Maria Nantege[1]

 

1 Population Indicators

1.1 What is the total population of South Africa?

According to the 2011 census, the total population of South Africa was 51,770,560.[2] The 2018 mid-year population estimates the total population of South Africa to be 57,730,000.[3]

1.2 Describe the methodology used to obtain the statistical data on the prevalence of disability in South Africa. What criteria are used to determine who falls within the class of persons with disabilities in South Africa?

The national Census is used to obtain data on the prevalence of disability in South Africa:

  • In the 2011 census, used a set of disability questions developed by the Washington group, which measured the type and degree of difficulties experienced by people in South Africa.[4]
  • The questions on disability were replaced by General health and functioning questions.[5] Due to change in question, 2011 results are not comparable with previous Censuses 1996 and 2001.
  • Due to misreporting on general health and functioning questions for children younger than five years, data on this variable is only profiled for persons five years and older.[6]

1.3 What is the total number and percentage of people, women and children with disabilities in South Africa?

According to the 2011 Census, 2 870 130 (approximately 3 million people, therefore 6 per cent of the South African population) were reported to be living with a disability:[7]

  • Women living with disabilities in South Africa amount to 8.5 per cent of the total number (1 682 071 women with disability).
  • 8 per cent of the total number of the total population, were children living with disabilities between the ages of 5 to 9 years old, 4.1 per cent between the ages of 10 to 14 years old and 2.5 per cent between the ages of 15 to 19 years old.

1.4 What is the most prevalent forms of disability and/or peculiarities to disability in South Africa?

According to the 2011 Census of the degree of difficulty was based on six functional domains. The following was recorded:[8]

  • Seeing – 11 per cent
  • Hearing – 3.6 per cent
  • Communicating – 2 per cent
  • Walking – 3.5 per cent
  • Remembering – 4.2 per cent
  • Self-care – 3.4 per cent

2 South Africa’s international obligation

2.1 What is the status of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) in South Africa? Did South Sudan country sign and ratify the CRPD? Provide the date(s).

See 2013 report

2.2     If South Africa has signed and ratified the CRPD, when is/was its country report due? Which government department is responsible for submission of the report? Did South Africa submit its report? If so, and if the report has been considered, indicate if there was a domestic effect of this reporting process. If not, what reasons does the relevant government department give for the delay?

South Africa submitted its initial country report on the rights of persons with Disabilities on 26 November 2014 after it was published on 24 November 2015.[9] The committee on the rights of persons with disabilities adopted concluding observations and recommendations on the initial report of South Africa during its twentieth session on 27 August – 21 September 2018.[10]

2.3     If South Africa has submitted the report in 2.2 and if the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has reviewed the report, indicate if the committee made any concluding observations and recommendations to South Africa’s report. Was there a domestic effect in South Africa on disability issues due to the reporting process?

2.4 While reporting under various other United Nation’s instruments, or under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, or African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, did South Africa also report specifically on the rights of persons with disabilities in its most recent reports? If so, were relevant “Concluding Observations” adopted? If relevant, were these observations given effect to? Was mention made of disability rights in your state’s UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR)? If so, what was the effect of these observations/ recommendations?

See 2013 report

What of other instruments? Regional instruments if any?

The African Protocol on the Rights of persons with Disabilities (African Protocol) was adopted by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in February 2016.[11] The African Protocol was approved by heads of state on 31 January 2018.[12] As per the date this report was written, South Africa is yet to sign and ratify it.

2.5 Was there any domestic effect on South Africa’s country’s legal system after ratifying the international or regional instrument in 2.3 above? Does the international or regional instrument that had been ratified require South Africa’s legislature to incorporate it into the legal system before the instrument can have force in South Africa’s domestic law? Have the courts of South Africa ever considered this question? If so, cite the case(s).

See 2013 report

2.6     With reference to 2.4 above, has the United Nation’s CRPD or any other ratified international instrument been domesticated? Provide details.

See 2013 report

3 Constitution

3.1     Does the Constitution of South Sudan country contain provisions that directly address disability? If so, list the provisions and explain how each provision addresses disability.

See 2013 report

3.2     Does the Constitution of South Sudan contain provisions that indirectly address disability? If so, list the provisions and explain how each provision indirectly addresses disability.

See 2013 report

4 Legislation

4.1     Does South Africa have legislation that directly addresses issues relating to disability? If so, list the legislation and explain how the legislation addresses disability.

 See 2013 report

4.2     Does South Africa have legislation that indirectly addresses issues relating to disability? If so, list the main legislation and explain how the legislation relates to disability.

See 2013 report

5 Decisions of courts and tribunals

5.1 Have the courts (or tribunals) in South Africa ever decided on an issue(s) relating to disability? If so, list the cases and provide a summary for each of the cases with the facts, the decision(s) and the reasoning.

See 2013 report

6 Policies and programmes

6.1     Does South Africa have policies or programmes that directly address disability? If so, list each policy and explain how the policy addresses disability.

6.1.1 National Disability Strategy

6.1.1.1 White paper on the rights of persons with disabilities (approved on 9 Dec 2015);[13]

  • The Department of Social Development launched the white paper on the rights of persons with Disabilities (WPRPD) in 2016 which provides clarity on the various issues including the development of standard operating procedures for mainstreaming disability; sets out the norms and standards in terms of which discriminatory barriers should be removed; and it broadly outlines stakeholder responsibilities.

6.1.1.2 White paper on the rights of persons with disabilities: implementation matrix, 2015-2030

6.1.2 Reasonable Accommodation (Public Service)

6.1.2.1 Policy on reasonable accommodation and assistive devices for employees with disabilities in the public service (department of public service and administration 2014). Below are the objectives;[14]

  • To facilitate the implementation of a programme for the provision of reasonable accommodation measures which includes the provision of amenities and assistive devices to employees with disabilities which will in turn enable them to fully participate in the activities of departments.
  • To provide guidelines on the acquisition and disposal of assistive devices.
  • To provide guidelines on the provision of transportation by departments to and from work.
  • To provide guidelines on the personal assistants and caregivers by and for employees with disabilities.
  • To provide sign language interpretation services, where there is need

6.1.3 Services

6.1.3.1 Framework and strategy for disability and rehabilitation services in South Africa 2015-2020 (Department of health);[15]

  • This policy outlines comprehensive and integrated disability and rehabilitation services within the broader health and developmental context to facilitate improved access at all levels of health care.

6.1.4 Education

6.1.4.1 Policy on screening, identification, assessment and support (Department of basic education);[16]

  • The purpose of this policy is to provide a framework for the standardisation of the procedures to identify, assess and provide programmes for all learners who require additional support to enhance their participation and inclusion in school.
  • This policy aims to improve access to equality education for vulnerable learners and those who experience barriers to learning.
  • It mainly focuses on managing and supporting teaching and learning processes for learners who experience barriers to learning within the framework of the National curriculum statement grades R-12.

6.1.4.2 Strategic disability policy framework for the post-school education and training system 2016;[17]

  • It proposes to create an inclusive post-school education and training system for persons with disabilities (PSET), guide PSET institutions in the creation of an enabling environment for persons with disabilities; and provide the Department of Higher Education and Training with a monitoring and evaluation instrument to ensure that disability compliance is mainstreamed in all PSET institutions.
  • It also aims to realise the goals of the White Paper on the rights of Persons with disabilities in PSET institutions and ensure the mainstreaming of persons with disabilities in the PSET system.

6.2     Does South Africa have policies and programmes that indirectly address disability? If so, list each policy and describe how the policy indirectly addresses disability.

See 2013 report

7 Disability bodies

7.1     Other than the ordinary courts or tribunals, does South Africa have any official body that specifically addresses violation of the rights of people with disabilities? If so, describe the body, its functions and its powers.

See 2013 report

7.2     Other than the ordinary courts or tribunals, does South Africa have any official body that though not established to specifically address violation of the rights of people with disabilities, can nonetheless do so? If so, describe the body, its functions and its powers.

Persons with disabilities whose rights have been violated currently have access to recourse through a number of existing mechanisms, including: [18]

  • The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), which can, among others, investigate, report and secure appropriate redress where human rights have been violated;
  • The Public Protector, which can, among others, investigate complaints on the conduct of a government official which interferes with the enjoyment of economic and social rights;
  • The Public Service Commission, which can, among others, investigate complaints against public administration practices;

 

8. National Human Rights Institutions (Human Rights Commission or Ombudsman or Public Protector)

8.1 Does South Africa have a Human Rights Commission or an Ombudsman or Public Protector? If so, does its remit include the promotion and protection of the rights of people with disabilities? If your answer is yes, also indicate whether the Human Rights Commission or the Ombudsman or Public Protector of South Africa has ever addressed issues relating to the rights of persons with disabilities.

See 2013 report

South Africa has the South African High Commission and the Public Protector.

In 2018, the public protector intervened on behalf of a Kwazulu-Natal mother of a child with a disability after she was allocated a house by the eThekwini municipality located on the first floor and without wheelchair access for her child.[19] The mother was allocated this house despite her applying for a Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) house under special conditions. She could not occupy the house and as a result was told to wait since 2013.[20]

The public protector contacted he municipality about the delay, the mother was allocated a new accessible house and confirmed occupation in May 2018.

9 Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPOs) and other Civil Society Organisations

9.1 Do you have organizations that represent and advocate for the rights and welfare of persons with disabilities in South Africa? If so, list each organization and describe its activities.

See 2013 report

9.2 In the countries in South Africa’s region are DPOs organized or coordinated at national and/or regional level?

See 2013 report

9.3 If South Africa has ratified the CRPD, how has it ensured the involvement of DPOs in the implementation process?

See 2013 report

9.4 What types of actions have DPOs themselves taken to ensure that they are fully embedded in the process of implementation?

See 2013 report

9.5 What, if any, are the barriers DPOs have faced in engaging with implementation?

See 2013 report

9.6 Are there specific instances that provide ‘best-practice models’ for ensuring proper involvement of DPOs?

See 2013 report

9.7 Are there any specific outcomes regarding successful implementation and/or improved recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities that resulted from the engagement of DPOs in the implementation process?

See 2013 report

9.8 Has your research shown areas for capacity building and support (particularly in relation to research) for DPOs with respect to their engagement with the implementation process?

See 2013 report

9.9  Are there recommendations that come out of your research as to how DPOs might be more comprehensively empowered to take a leading role in the implementation processes of international or regional instruments?

See 2013 report

9.10   Are there specific research institutes in South Africa that work on the rights of persons with disabilities and that have facilitated the involvement of DPOs in the process, including in research?

See 2013 report

10 Government departments

10.1     Does South Africa have a government department or departments that is/are specifically responsible for promoting and protecting the rights and welfare of persons with disabilities? If so, describe the activities of the department(s).

The department of Social Development is responsible for driving the government’s equity, equality and empowerment agenda in terms of protecting and promoting the rights and welfare of persons with disabilities.

11 Main human rights concerns for people with disabilities in South Africa

11.1     What are the contemporary challenges of persons with disabilities in South Africa?

See 2013 report

11.2     How does South Africa respond to the needs of persons with disabilities with regard to the areas listed below?

Please respond in the following order:

  • Access and accommodation
  • Access to social security
  • Access to public buildings
  • Access to public transport
  • Access to education
  • Access to vocational training
  • Access to employment
  • Access to recreation and sport
  • Access to justice

See 2013 report and question 6 above

11.3     Does South Africa provide for disability grants or other income support measures for persons with disabilities?

According to the 2019 Budget, there was an increase in Social Grants.

  • State old age (over 75): increased from R1 715 to R1 800
  • War veterans: from R1 715 to R1 800
  • Disability: from R1 695 to R1 780
  • Foster care: from R960 to R1 000
  • Care dependency: from R1 695 to R1 780
  • Child support: from R405 to R425

11.4     Do people with disabilities have a right to participation in political life (political representation and leadership) in South Africa?

Yes

See 2013 report

The Universal Ballot Template (UBT), was developed by the Electoral Commission (IEC) and the National Council for the Blind (SANCB).[21] This voting aid will assist persons with disabilities and special needs to have an independent and secret vote during elections.[22] The UBT can be used by, Blind and partially-sighted people, low-vision users, people with low literacy, and people with motor and nervous conditions which do not allow for a steady hand.[23]

11.5     Specific categories experiencing particular issues/ vulnerability

See 2013 report

11.5.1. Persons living with albinism.

Persons with albinism have been targeted in ritual attack and trafficking due to myths that their body parts can bring good luck and wealth when used in witchcraft practices. In addition to this, they continue to face prejudice and stigmatization due to their skin pigmentation.

12 Future perspective

12.1     Are there any specific measures with regard to persons with disabilities being debated or considered in South Africa at the moment?

12.1.1 Inclusive Education

  • Just like preceding years, the government is yet to implement key aspects of the 2001 national policy to provide inclusive education for all children with disabilities and to furthermore adopt legislation to guarantee the right to inclusive education.[24]

12.2     What legal reforms would you like to see in South Africa? Why?

List of future measures and reforms:

12.2.1. The draft National Framework for self-representation for persons with Disabilities is currently being consulted with disability organizations.[25] This will provide the basis for a regulatory framework to establish consistency in consultations with representative organizations of persons with disabilities cross all three domains of government.

12.2.2. A draft of the Hate Speech and Hate Crimes Bill that is currently before the parliament for deliberation contains specific provisions for hate speech and hate crimes committed against persons with albinism. A number of multi-sectoral ongoing public awareness and education campaigns on the rights of persons with albinism are being conducted in at least four provinces.[26]

12.2.3. The national Framework on Reasonable Accommodation for persons with disabilities was finalized and is currently awaiting cabinet approval by April 2019.[27]

12.2.4. The enactment of chapter 5 of the PEPUDA Act, 2000 was included in the 2018/2019 legislative programme.[28]

12.2.5. In 2016 a Practice Court Services Model for persons with Disabilities was developed through consultation with various stakeholders and inclusive of disability organisations.[29] The aim of this model is to remove barriers to the court system for persons with disabilities. As a result of this, work has started on the development of a code of Practice under the PEPUDA Act, 2000 (Act No. 4 of 2000) which responds to Articles 13.1 and 9 of the UNCRPD.[30]

12.2.6. The existing Gender policy, Disability and Youth Development Frameworks for Local Government are under a review process which will include building a disability dimension into the Gender and Youth Development Frameworks, and engendering the Disability Framework.[31]

12.2.7. South Africa in partnership with the British Council is currently developing inclusive education and disability mainstreaming modules for teacher training courses offered at universities around the country.[32]

12.2.8. A national framework on Universal Access and Design is currently before cabinet for consideration as an outflow of Pillar 1 of the White Paper on the Rights of persons with Disabilities.[33]

12.2.9. The South African Government is currently institutionalizing inclusion of the rights of persons with albinism mainly addressing harmful cultural beliefs and traditions in all social cohesion and moral regeneration focused campaigns.[34]

12.2.10. The South African Government in partnership with the Southern Africa Development Community is leading a campaign with the aim of adopting a SADC Protocol on the rights of persons with albinism.[35]

12.2.11. The Electoral Laws Amendment Bill is currently being processed for cabinet consideration.[36] The proposal is that Section 8(2) and (d) of the Act be repealed.[37]

12.2.12. The Intellectual Property Policy and the Copyright Act of 1978 are currently being amended and cognisance was given to incorporate aspects of the Marrakesh Treaty.[38]

 

 

 

[1] BA LLB LLM (UP), Research Assistant, Centre for Human Rights

[2] Statistics South Africa Census 2011 http://www.statssa.gov.za

[3] Statistics South Africa Mid year population estimates (2018)

http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/P0302/P03022018.pdf (accessed 15 November 2018).

[4] Statistics South Africa Census 2011 http://www.statssa.gov.za

[5] As above

[6] Statistics South Africa Census 2011 http://www.statssa.gov.za

[7] As above

[8] As above

[9] South Africa’s Initial Country Report on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/crpd/pages/crpdindex.aspx (accessed on 15 January 2019)

[10] Concluding observations on the initial Country Report

https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/crpd/pages/crpdindex.aspx (accessed 15 January 2019)

[11] African states affirm the rights of persons with disabilities in a new landmark Protocol https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvent/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22661&LangID=E (accessed 20 December 2018).

[12] As above

 

[13] White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities https://www.gov.za/documents/white-paper-rights-persons-disabilities-official-publication-and-gazetting-white-paper (accessed 20 December 2018).

[14] Policy on reasonable accommodation and assistive devices for employees with disabilities in the public service http://www.dpsa.gov.za/dpsa2g/documents/ee/2015289_1_2_3_08_2005_Policy.pdf (accessed 20 December 2018)

[15] Framework and strategy for disability and rehabilitation services in South Africa 2015-2020 http://ilifalabantwana.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Framework-25-may_1_3.docx  (accessed 20 December)

[16] Policy on screening, identification, assessment and support https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/Specialised-ed/documents/SIAS-2014.pdf (accessed 20 December)

[17] Strategic disability policy framework for the post-school education and training system http://www.dhet.gov.za/SiteAssets/Gazettes/Approved%20Strategic%20Disability%20Policy%20Framework%20Layout220518.pdf (accessed 20 December 2018)

[18] White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities https://www.gov.za/documents/white-paper-rights-persons-disabilities-official-publication-and-gazetting-white-paper (accessed 20 December 2018).

[19] Public Protector Annual Report 2017/2018 http://www.pprotector.org.

[20] As above

[21] Voting aid for voters with disabilities and special needs https://www.elections.org.za/content/For-Voters/Voting-aid-for-voters-with disabilities-and-special-needs/ (accessed 2 May 2019)

[22]  As above

[23] As above

[24] https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/south-africa (accessed 4 May 2019)

[25] Replies of South Africa  to the list of issues in relation to the initial Report, 3 https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/crpd/pages/crpdindex.aspx

[26] Replies of South Africa  to the list of issues in relation to the initial Report, 4 https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/crpd/pages/crpdindex.aspx (accessed 10 January 2019)

[27] Replies of South Africa  to the list of issues in relation to the initial Report, 5 https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/crpd/pages/crpdindex.aspx (accessed 10 January 2019)

[28] As above

[29] As above

[30] As above

[31] As above

[32] Replies of South Africa  to the list of issues in relation to the initial Report,10 https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/crpd/pages/crpdindex.aspx (accessed 10 January 2019)

[33] Replies of South Africa  to the list of issues in relation to the initial Report, 10 https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/crpd/pages/crpdindex.aspx (accessed 10 January 2019)

[34] Replies of South Africa  to the list of issues in relation to the initial Report, 13 https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/crpd/pages/crpdindex.aspx (accessed 10 January 2019)

[35] As above

[36] Replies of South Africa  to the list of issues in relation to the initial Report, 14 https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/crpd/pages/crpdindex.aspx (accessed 10 January 2019)

[37] As above

[38] Replies of South Africa  to the list of issues in relation to the initial Report, 29 https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/crpd/pages/crpdindex.aspx (accessed 10 January 2019)