Thank you very much, hon Minister. The problem is underperformance and it is not acceptable, because it is the people with disabilities who suffer the consequences, and to blame it on the shortage of human resources is not an adequate excuse, because another programme that has fewer people actually performed better!
The main problem is that we haven't got enough passion for and commitment to the plight of people with disabilities. I say this because here in my hand I have a letter that was written to your office in May 2012 bemoaning the plight of the community and I have never got a response from you, hon Minister.
The reality is that while this department diligently attends African Union and UN conferences, which you have highlighted, and which is evident in the increase in your department's travel expenditure which has tripled from R3,3 million to R9,9 million, the ratification of the conventions has yet to translate into meaningful change in the lives of ordinary people with disabilities. Just this morning we heard that only 0,4% of people with disabilities are employed in government! This is totally unacceptable.
Considering the absence of legislation which has been in the pipeline for years, what will this underperforming programme do differently in future to ensure that South Africans with disabilities are able to access their fundamental social and economic rights? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Speaker, first of all I have already stated that the department is working on the National Disability Rights Policy, which will ensure that accessibility is made universal and that the rights of persons with disabilities are respected.
I have also referred to the universal access design framework, which will ensure that we work with various departments to ensure that when they design buildings, including schools, they take into consideration the issue of access for persons with disabilities. We are also working very closely with the Department of Public Service and Administration.
We are looking at the performance assessments or contracts of heads of departments. In November 2012 Cabinet took the decision that part of the key performance areas for heads of departments and accounting officers had to be ensuring that they worked on the 50% target for women in the senior management service and on the 2% target for persons with disabilities in the workforce. We believe that in the coming year we will be working with the Department of Public Service and Administration to ensure that these policies and programmes are implemented. Thank you.