“Disability” bites back at Employment Equity
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CAPE TOWN – The 17th Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) report which was released in May 2017 but does not cater for disabled individuals.

Employment Equity is an Act which has been implemented in 1998 to achieve equal opportunity in the workplace.

The Act is meant to eliminate any sort of bias or discrimination in relation to gender, race, ability or disability.

However, employment for disabled individuals goes unnoticed in the 17th CEE report.

The report mentions disability in twice, reporting that 1,2% of workforce at Top Management level is disabled compared to 98,8% who are not disabled.

“The Employment Equity Act states that at least 3% of the workforce should be employees with disabilities. The national disability prevalence rate in South Africa is around 7,5%, but it could be higher because of under-reporting”, says Tendai Khumalo, MD of Qunu Workforce,  a Workforce Holdings company, which provides disability solutions for corporates and government”.

“Disability is not inability”, says Khumalo who became a paraplegic in 2003 after undergoing a spinal biopsy, after which a blood clot damaged the nerves in his spine.

There are far too few opportunities for disabled individuals in the workplace, despite the EE Act.

The Act is merely on paper, says Khumalo who further notes that ramps and modified parking bays are not successful indicators of embracing disability.

“A paradigm shift is needed regarding the job roles typically ear-marked for persons with disabilities. There is a tendency to link contact centre jobs, admin roles and menial back-office jobs to people with disabilities with no career path and defined growth plans”, says Khumalo.

Khumalo’s commitment to increased opportunity for disabled individuals is reflected by his work, Qunu Workforce which assists businesses to source, hire and train people with disabilities, transforming their lives and adding value to the business including improving the company’s B-BBEE scorecard.

This article was first published on iol.co.za