The Department of Social Development will on Friday, April 29, host a community Imbizo to look into the abuse and neglect of people with disabilities in Beaufort West, Western Cape Province.

Beaufort West, which falls within the Central Karoo District Municipality, has an estimated population of just under 50 000. It incorporates the areas of Central Town, Paradise Valley, Newlands, Prince Valley and Mandlenkosi, among others.

According to recent engagements between the department and residents of Beaufort West, there is widespread abuse and neglect of people with disabilities in the area.

Community members have also raised concerns about limited access for people with disabilities in some public facilities as well as lack of opportunities on skills development programmes for people with disabilities.

This Imbizo will be held to promote government’s core principles on disability as outlined in the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that was approved by Cabinet as an essential instrument towards improving the lives of persons with disabilities.

Statistics South Africa estimates that there are over 2 Million people with disabilities in South Africa, constituting 7.5 percent of the overall population. Of these, 222 333 people with disabilities are said to be living in the Western Cape Province.

Government and the disability sector have adopted a framework for implementing the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities thereby heralding a new era of activism in promoting, protecting and upholding the rights of all persons with disabilities in South Africa. The Beaufort West Imbizo forms part of this drive.

Source: Department of Social Development