Thank you, Deputy Speaker. Minister, with regard to the consultations that took place for people with disabilities nationally and in provinces, and those that included civilian organisations for people with disabilities, are we at the stage where we can say what the outcomes of those consultations were? Were reasonable conditions for people with disabilities created so that these people could participate? Lastly, in regard to your good projects for rural women in agriculture, are these rural agricultural self-employment projects, which have involved Japanese companies supplying irrigation schemes, good projects for self-employment and sustainability, and do they involve people with disabilities? I hope that you are not excluding them there. Thank you. [Applause.] The MINISTER OF WOMEN, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Hon Deputy Speaker, most of those consultations were to assist the department in developing policies and programmes.
Firstly, the hon Kekane asked about reasonable conditions for people to participate in. Members know that most of our people with disabilities need personal assistance, sign language interpreters and accessible accommodation. All this had to be taken into consideration in regard to venues and accommodation and also in ensuring that we engaged people who would be able to interpret for deaf people. Hon members, that has budgetary implications, because if you are wheelchair-bound, you need someone to accompany you to the meeting. We had to take that into consideration.
In regard to the outcomes of these consultations, the most important thing to benefit people with disabilities is the National Disability Rights Policy that is under discussion right now. We have worked very closely with the Department of Public Service and Administration in developing a reasonable accommodation policy for civil servants and that is almost in its final stages. We believe that it will benefit people with disabilities, because it will ensure that they have the instruments they require in their workplaces, as well as accommodation and access.
We have also been working with the Department of Social Development through these consultations and the disability sector, in which we have been able to develop the universal access to early childhood development programme of action that is being implemented now in 2013.