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Minister: Susan Shabangu
Deputy Minister: Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu
Deputy Minister
iconDSD Customer Care Charter iconStudy Report on Children's access to Social Insurance Benefits
STATEMENT BY MS. HENDRIETTA IPELENG BOGOPANE-ZULU DEPUTY MINISTER FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA TO THE 11TH SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE OF STATES PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Mr President, I would like to thank you and members of the Bureau for the excellent work done in preparation for this Conference. 

The annual Conference of States Parties, together with the richness of the debates in the side events, continue to inspire the South African delegation to work harder and smarter in finding innovative ways to accelerate implementation of the Convention.

We believe this year’s theme of “Leaving no one behind through the full implementation of the CRPD” will once again provide an invaluable platform for delegates to inspire one another to accelerate the pace of implementation of the Convention at national level.

South Africa is this year celebrating 100 Years of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu, both. Centenary Year provides an opportunity for South Africa to pause, reflect and re-commit to the values, wisdom and commitment displayed by these stalwarts of the South African liberation struggle.

We are reminded of the words of Nelson Mandela in 2004, when he said -

“It is for us to adapt our understanding of a common humanity; to learn of the richness of how human life is diverse; to recognise the presence of disability in our human midst as an enrichment of our diversity”.

Mr President,

The South African government deeply appreciates the overwhelming support for our Security Council candidature and we will use our membership to advance the interests of Africa, in particular aiming to achieve the priorities of the African Union Agenda 2063 where we commit to urgently silence the guns that cause so many disabilities by 2020.

The adoption of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa by the Heads of State at the 30th African Union Summit in January 2018, heralds a new era for persons with disabilities on the Continent. Article 12 of the Protocol, guiding national action to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, forced-displacements, humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters, together with measures to reduce economic vulnerability that compounds the quality of life of persons with disabilities and their families, will inform our participation on the Security Council.

I am happy to report that we have taken the first steps towards ratification of the AU Protocol, which will be domesticated together with the CRPD in the next few years.

Mr President,

The country has finalised National Frameworks on Universal Access and Design, as well as Reasonable Accommodation Support for Persons with Disabilities respectively. These frameworks will guide the development of new legislation, the review of existing and putting in place minimum norms and standards for these two critical areas of work.

The finalisation of the National Framework on Self-Representation by Persons with Disabilities this year will be an important step towards institutionalising the generally practised principle of self-representation.

Disability disaggregated data as an instrument for disability equitable planning, programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation within a shrinking fiscal environment, remains a national priority. Work continues on maturing our Disability Inequality Index, this will be the first year we are adding financial data.

Public private partnerships, whether through regulatory measures or Corporate Social Investment, remain a significant instrument for accelerated implementation of the CRPD. One such partnership with the MTN SA Foundation, has resulted in the roll-out of disability accessible multi-media ICT centres in over 40 special schools, community youth centres thereby improving educational outcomes for children with disabilities.

Chairperson,

During the 10th Session, we reported on the Life Esidimeni Tragedy, the arbitration process has been concluded, and the strength of our Constitution in promoting the rights of all South Africans was affirmed when the arbitrator awarded, among others significant Constitutional damages to the survivors of this tragedy as well as families of the deceased. We are reviewing the limitations placed on persons with psychosocial disabilities through a review of the electoral legislation and related processes as one of corrective measures.

We remain confident that our justice system is capable of ensuring recourse for persons with disabilities when injustice occurs.

Mr President,

A great injustice was done in 2016 when the outcomes of the elections for the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities dealt a serious blow to our collective commitment to gender equality. We trust that in future all Member States will take gender parity seriously when presenting candidates.

It was with extreme excitement that we received the news of the election of Ana Pelaez to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women last week.

We trust that this significant development in mainstreaming self-representation of women with disabilities in the gender echelons will have a domino effect into our respective countries, with more vigorous attention being paid to equal participation by women with disabilities at national level.

The regrettable upsurge in recent months in human rights violations against persons with albinism in South Africa has forced us to relook at the measures in place to protect and promote their rights. I can gratefully report that the force of the law has been quick to respond to abductions, murders and theft of human remains as and where it occurred, as such awareness campaigns have been increased. We acknowledge the existence of the Regional Action Plan on Albinism in Africa for the period 2017 to 2021.

We support the calls made during the 9th and 10th Sessions of the Conference of States Parties for a review of current arrangements and focus of the Annual Conference. We believe that the time has come to transform the current agenda into one with clear outcomes for the UN system in general, and other treaty bodies and instruments such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular.

Mr President, in conclusion, in the words of Justice J Ackerman in a1996 South African Constitutional Court judgement -

'Human dignity cannot be fully valued or respected unless individuals are able to develop their 'humanness' to the full extent of its potential. Each human being is uniquely talented. Part of the dignity of every human being is the fact and awareness of this uniqueness. An individual's human dignity cannot be fully respected or valued unless the individual is permitted to develop his or her talents optimally.'

I thank you.