Hendrietta is visually impaired (blind), married with three girls, two of whom are visually impaired. She is a disability rights, gender, children, youth and HIV & AIDS activist. She is also a policy analyst and developer, a trainer, researcher on disability, development and HIV and AIDS and a writer on disability with a number of publications under her name. She is one of only two disabled Cabinet Members of the South African Government.
She holds certificates in:
• Introduction to microcomputer,
• Practical Journalism,
• Organizational Development,
• Policy analysis and Development,
• Direct Marketing,
• Sector Management; Action Research,
• Parliamentary Leadership and Inter-Governmental Relations from various institutions
She also holds Diplomas in:
• Word Processing from Optima College,
• Diploma in Public Relations, from Technikon Pretoria,
• Postgraduate studies in Communications from the University of Pretoria
• Diploma in Leadership Communication from Rhodes University
• Diploma in Business and Government Studies from Woburn Business School
She holds the following Degrees:
• Bachelor of Business Administration from University of Central Nicaragua
• MBA from University of Azteca University
• Honorary Doctorate from Azteca University
• In January 1996 she was employed by the Disabled People South Africa (DPSA) as the national co-ordinator for Disabled Women’s Development Programme. She is a founder of disabled women achiever award and co-founder of Disabled Youth South Africa.
• She was re-elected for a second term and served as a member of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development between 2004 and 2009.
• In May 2009, she was re-elected for a third term to Parliament and appointed as Deputy Minister for Public Works. In October 2011 she was appointed the Deputy Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, a position she currently holds.
• In May 2014, she was once again appointed to serve a fourth term as a Member of Parliament, as Deputy Minister of the Department of Social Development.
During her term as a Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister, she championed various ground breaking initiatives and activities which include, but not limited to:
• She was the Chairperson of the Inter - Parliamentary Union (IPU) Advisory Group on HIV and AIDS, UNAIDS review committee and the Co-Chair the UN Agenda for Women and Girls on HIV and AIDS.
• She led the South Africa Architecture industry to Japan in 2011 to receive the baton to host the World Architecture Congress in 2014 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
• She pioneered the Alternative Construction Technology Programme, and ensured that rural women are the beneficiaries thereof. She facilitated the establishment of a Women Cooperative that was trained in this Technology that now builds houses using this technology.
• In October 2012 she hosted on behalf of South African government, the High Level Task Force Mission for Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV for Eastern and Southern Africa, the first Regional Mission since the establishment of the Task Force.
• She provided leadership in the drafting and depositing of the country’s UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ Country Report, which has been outstanding since 2009.
• Since 2011, she has ensured that the Disability Rights Agenda is rebranded and is prominent.
• The leadership she provided since becoming the Deputy Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities has led to the introduction of a Policy on Disability Rights in the Higher Education and Training Sector that will set norms and standards for universal access and disability integration.
• In September 2012, she led the Country Delegation to the UN 5th Conference of State Parties in New York.
Member of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa
In June 1999 she joined the South African Parliament as a Member of the National Assembly and served on a number of committees including serving as a Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring Committee on the Improvement of Quality of Life and Status of Youth, Children and Disabled Persons. She was re-elected for a second term to Parliament National Assembly in April 2004. She served on the Portfolio Committee on Social Development.
She has also served on the following parliamentary committees as a Member of the National Legislature;
• Appointment of the National Auditor General
• Filling of vacancies of the Gender Commission
• Appointment of the National Public Protector
• Appointment of the National Public Prosecutor
• Appointment of the National Youth Commission
She served on the South African National Aids council representing the disability sector
Her responsibilities include amongst others;
o Develop interventions strategies that are disability specific
o Coordinate HIV and AIDS related programmes
o Advice government on relevant programmes to be implemented on HIV and AIDS and Disability
She was a consultant for Soul City – an educational TV programme focusing of social issues:
o Ensured that Soul City includes disability in their programmes.
o Edited scripts with disability specific characters for both Soul City and Soul Buddyz
o Supervised the correct portrayal of disabled characters during shooting onset
She participated in the following organizations / projects, amongst others representing disability issues;
• NEDLAC; National Economic Labour Council; ensure full
representation of disabled people
• SAQA; South African Qualifications Authority; ensure that the standards set are relevant to disabled people
o SAFOD; Southern African Federation for Disabled People; represents disabled women
• PAFOD; Pan Africa Federation of the Disabled People;
represents disabled women
• Young Women’s Academy Movement for Young Professionals
• SAFCD South African Federal Council on disability
• DPSA Disabled People of South Africa
• DICAG Disabled Children’s Action Group; movement for parents of disabled children
Regional and International Representation
She represented, led and made presentations on behalf of South Africa in a number of regional and international fora’s.
• International Leadership Forum for Women with Disabilities (Washington DC),
• Disabled People International Fifth World Assembly (Mexico City),
• SADC Violence Against Women Conference, (Durban RSA),
• Conference on Witchcraft Violence (Thohoyandou Venda RSA),
• Disabled Women’s Empowerment Forum (Swaziland),
• Disabled People and Human Rights (Botswana),
• Disabled People and Social Development (Zimbabwe),
• Disabled People and the Media (Zimbabwe),
• The South Africa Constitution and Job Market (London)
• Enhancing accessible transport for people with disabilities (London)
• The impact on HIV & AIDS on women with disabilities (Tanzania)
• Resource person for the ILO to develop the African Decade Action plan (Ethiopia)
• Blind women and HIV & AIDS (Pretoria RSA)
• One of the drafters of the South African Employment Equity Act, Basic Conditions of Employment Disability Sections
• Made inputs to the development of a disability specific legislation (Sweden)
• She has led the South African Parliamentary Delegation to the United Nation Review of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (New York)
• Trained the Public Service of South Africa at a National Level on the interpretation and implementation of disability policy’s and legislation
• Led the Parliamentary Delegation to the World Summit on Children at the United Nations (New York)
• She is part of the team that is in the process of negotiating the convention on the rights and dignity of disabled people in the United Nations.(New York)
• Part of a team of disabled researchers to evaluate the European Union Parliamentary disability policies and Programmes (Brussels)
• Represented South Africa in evaluating Belgium’s Social Security System (Belgium)
• She has been profiled on a number of national print and electronic media
• She serves on the World Blind Union sub-committee on Constitutional review
• One of the reviewers of the European Union disability programmes in Africa
• Disability rights the South African Situation in (Belgium)
• Part of the team at the Inter-parliamentary Union to reviews ‘parliament as promoter and protector of Human rights’ (Geneva)
• The developer and implementer of the National Disability and HIV and AIDS program in South Africa
• Study on low cost technologies for people with disabilities. (EKURHULENI METRO)
• Consultant for the Policy Project (Futures Group) regional programme working in Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland RHAP
• The Impact of HIV and AIDS on the disability sector World Bank (Washington DC)
• African Decade Its Origins and mid-Decade evaluation (Annan Jordan)
• Disabled people and broadcasting ICASA conference (Johannesburg)
• The impact of HIV and AIDS on disabled people Abuja (Nigeria)
• She is the founder of the Eskom Disabled Women Achiever Award (EDWAA)
• Co-founder of disabled youth South Africa
• She was a National finalist for Soul City Health and Development Worker Award in 1998
• Recipient of Tributes Awards, an Award of Excellence for Disabled Women in all sectors of society in August 2010
• Top Women Awards – Excellence in Business and Public Service in 2009
• Certificate of Appreciation for support towards the QuadPara Association of South Africa in 2010
• Recognition of Service awarded by the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa
• Certificate of Appreciation awarded by Vanhwana va EPCSA at its Inaugural Conference in 2012
• Brothers for Life Ambassador Certificate awarded in 2012
• Certificate of Appreciation for support towards MNet Cares goals for providing support to vulnerable sectors of society, awarded in 2012
• She was a board member of the Mmabatho Foundation for Women Development, a Foundation that champions the protection and promotion of rights of women and girls from rural areas and who are needy.
• She is a member of the Global Power Network, a Global Network that champions the protection and promotion of the rights of women and girls.
The Deputy Minister’s track record speaks for itself and is evident in the media coverage she has received over the past four years as a champion in changing people’s lives for the better.