Disabled 'get raw deal on jobs front'
EMPLOYERS must create suitable jobs for disabled people. Disabled people have over the years been marginalised in South Africa and experts now believe that opportunities have to be created for them to be employed in suitable environments.
John Botha, director of the Productivity Management Institute (PMI), that is part of the Adcorp Group, says disabled citizens are under-represented and disadvantaged in the workplace.
The PMI offers qualifications, skills programmes and learnerships in the fields of operations, production and supply chain management.
Botha says public and private sector employers should re-visit their true definition of diversity and move beyond race and gender to embrace disability as well.
"South Africa is still failing to achieve the 2percent employment target of people with disabilities.
"Furthermore, once in the workplace, disabled people, especially those at semi-skilled and unskilled levels, typically have limited opportunities to higher levels or senior management positions.
"They (employers) have not carved jobs for disabled people. What employers do is they take a standard job and impose it on a disabled person," Botha says.
He says there is need to change the working environment to meet the needs of disabled people.
"If there is an emergency at a factory, you will need to have a red light, which will indicate to those who cannot hear that they should vacate the area, not just the siren."
He says the true extent of disability in South Africa remains unknown.
Botha's comments come in the wake of the code of good practice on the key aspects of disability in the workplace, recently published by the Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities for public comment.
Botha says the private and public sector employers were handling disabled employees or prospective employees in the same way as they were doing with the able-bodied.
"They have not been innovative and therefore have not been successful. A far more open-minded approach is needed to achieve the 2 percent employment target and to open up more opportunities for disabled South Africans."