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Coega’s leads the way in empowering people with disabilities

Coega’s leads the way in empowering people with disabilities

The Coega Development Corporation (CDC), through its corporate social investment (CSI) programmes, continues to lead the way in celebrating and observing the rights of people with disabilities, a feat the organisation celebrated today as international day of persons with disabilities.

As one of the CDC’s flagship programmes – dedicated to empowering people living with disabilities – it has made substantive headway in improving the socio-economic status of hundreds of disabled people.

“Our two main CSI programmes, the Driver Training Programme and Disability Affirmation Programme, are proving to be catalytic for people with disabilities, particularly in the development of their skills and therefore their employability,” said Thandi Rayi, CDC CSI manager.

In June 2013 the CDC embarked on its Disability Affirmation Programme aimed at integrating people with disabilities into the work place. Although slow with initial intake of people with disabilities at first, the programme has gained momentum and is performing well, the CDC confirmed.

The organisation currently employs in excess of 20 people with disabilities across various areas of the organisation. The CDC has also trained 21 people with disabilities and has facilitated employment opportunities for disabled people on various CDC projects.

“It’s imperative that our stakeholders and suppliers are also encouraged to employ people with disabilities. We are walking the walk and encourage others to do so. Collectively this ensures that skills development is pushed to the forefront of employment and that we meet government’s mandates to ensure that 2% of the workforce comprise people with disabilities,” added Rayi.

Sakhekile Zweni, CDC Diversity Officer joined the organisation early last year and has played a prominent role in profiling work place diversification at the CDC.

“The organisation made leaps and bounds to ensure that the work environment is in accordance with acceptable standards for people with disabilities. My contribution is one of many efforts collectively undertaken by a team of dedicated individuals,” said Zweni.

According to Statistics South Africa’s Census 2011, the national disability prevalence rate is 7.5%. Disability is more prevalent among females compared to males (8.3% and 6.5% respectively). A total of 10% of people with disabilities live in the Eastern Cape.

“Our approach takes on the national challenge to incorporate people with disabilities in the workplace; they have a valuable role to play in the economy of our province and are critical for the country’s growth. Our socio-economic mandate does not only consider the able bodied, but all persons including those with disabilities, women, and the youth,” said Dr. Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC head marketing and communications.

Furthermore, the CDC’s pioneering Driver Training Programme also accommodates people with disabilities, and they are one of the prime target groups to benefit from the programme in addition to the youth, unemployed, and domestic workers.

The organisation has trained over 60 people with disabilities on the driver training simulators, an important step towards obtaining a driver’s licence, with 182 people obtaining their learner’s licenses and 36 passing their driver’s licenses.

“The CDC has ardently pushed for disabled people to be equipped with driver’s licences, so they can become masters of their own destiny and travel freely to and from work. We are incredibly proud of the integrated skills development on offer at the CDC for people with disabilities,” Dr. Vilakazi added.


CAPTION: WORKPLACE OPPORTUNITY: In June 2013 the CDC embarked on its Disability Affirmation Programme aimed at integrating people with disabilities into the work place. Pictured here are some of the initial employees on the programme. IMAGE SUPPLIED