People with disabilities demand better jobs

“We only get hired to answer phones”

Photo of people in a stadium

People with disabilities need better jobs, speakers told a gathering in Port Alfred this week. Photo: Buziwe Nocuze

By Buziwe Nocuze

9 March 2017

People with disabilities don’t want food parcels but jobs, Thandile Butana from the SA National Council for the Blind said at a gathering in Port Alfred this week.

“Our government still has a long way to go when it comes to people living with disabilities. They think giving us food parcels is helping us. The truth is we don’t want food parcels but jobs,” she said. “We only get hired to answer phones, no matter how qualified we are.”

People with disabilities from around the Eastern Cape gathered at Mamiki Gidana stadium on 6 March for the event hosted by Konwaba Training Institute. The institute is offering the visually impaired training in reading braille.

Nwabisa Dlakavu from Bizana, whose sight is impaired, said government should open up opportunities for people with disabilities. “I finished my teaching degree last year and I am hoping to get a job, regardless of my situation [disability].”

Konwaba chief executive Nandipha Bhali said people with disabilities did not get the respect they deserved.

Portia Sihawu from the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development, said people with disabilities had rights which must be respected. “Locking someone in the house just because he or she is disabled is not right,” she said. She urged people not to label each other.

TV actress Charmaine Mtinta, known for her roles in several TV series including Yizo Yizo, Generations and Matatiele, said people with disabilities would be invited to audition for her new film Zula in Port Alfred.