August 2004

Executive Summary

The submission from DICAG and other organisations from the child disability sector is based on two pillars – the Integrated National Disability Strategy and the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act. It is these that guide the vision of "A Society for All", a society in which children with disabilities and chronic illnesses can enjoy equal opportunities and services that benefit other children in South Africa. However, children with disabilities continue to be dis-proportionally under-represented as beneficiaries of a range of social services including health, Early Childhood Development, education and social security. Thus the cycle of poverty and their exclusion from participation in community life is perpetuated.

The assumption that children with disabilities will benefit from programmes targeted at the general population of children is false because disabled children do not have equal access to resources and opportunities. Specific measures therefore are necessary to ensure their full inclusion and participation. The submission recommends that in dealing with children with disabilities, the government adopts a twin-track approach, which includes both integrating disability as a cross-cutting issue into the programmes of all departments, as well as disability-specific initiatives aimed at promoting the rights of children with disabilities.

Among the key concerns with the Children’s Bill are the following:



The Children's Bill presents an opportunity to develop legislation that translates policy into services and opportunities for children with disabilities and chronic illnesses. We cannot dream of a "Society for All Children" or profess to the nation and the international community that we are progressively ensuring and working towards the improvement of quality of life of our children, unless we make specific provisions for all children to be included.


For more information contact members of the disability sub-committee of the Children's Bill Working Group: Sandra Ambrose (083 242 0017), Nonceba Meyiwa (073 273 1126), July Nkutha (082 819 4991) or Sue Philpott (073 5507 123)