The South African government will ensure that the country’s post-coronavirus recovery will include people with disabilities in all facets of the country’s economic development, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.Addressing the nation in his weekly written message, Ramaphosa pledged that both the public and private sectors would legally be required to include the country’s disabled citizens in all endeavours.
“This is precisely how we need to approach the issue of disability as we rebuild our country and our society in the wake of the coronavirus,” he said.
Noting that while the Covid-19 pandemic had caused great hardship for all South Africans, the impact was particularly severe for many persons with disabilities, he said.
“We have said that we do not want to merely return our economy to where it was before the crisis, but to build a more inclusive and transformed economy,” Ramaphosa said.
He added that the newly formed Presidential Working Group on Disability had at its recent virtual meeting brought together several sectoral organisations and government agencies to guide the realisation of the social and economic rights of persons with disabilities.
South Africa is currently developing an Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan to guide the country’s post-pandemic rebuilding efforts, he said.
The plan would see to it government emphasised that businesses owned and run by persons with disabilities need to play a significant role in the infrastructure build programme, Ramaphosa said.
The 2020 International Day of Persons with Disabilities was commemorated on 3 December under the theme “Building Back Better”.