“South Africa, like most countries, needs every skilled worker to contribute towards the prosperity of the country. Persons with disabilities have an important role to play to make a positive contribution in the workplace. It is generally found that a person with a disability develops into a well-adjusted, productive worker in an atmosphere of acceptance, co-operation and goodwill. Far more people with disabilities should be given the opportunity to enter the workforce. Disability is a human rights and development issue, meaning that people with disabilities should enjoy equal rights and responsibilities to other people.” 

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Technological advances have removed many obstacles for disabled people in their aspirations to pursue the careers of their choice.

Many visually, hearing and physically impaired persons excel in the field of computer technology. Blind and partially sighted lawyers are now a reality due to computer developments. Various blind physiotherapists have their own, very successful, practices in this country. There are blind lecturers, music teachers and marketing consultants to name but a few careers. Visually impaired persons can also do manual jobs such as making bricks and tiles.

Deaf and hard of hearing people are often successful in noisy jobs, such as panel beating, which may have a negative effect on hearing people. Careers as different as forestry, graphic art, medical technology and banking are also successfully pursued by hearing impaired people.

People with physical disabilities are successful in many careers including teaching, social work, business management and many others. Stephen Hawking is one of the greatest scientists the world has ever known, yet he is quadriplegic and can only speak with the aid of a computer. He freely admits that he has reached the top in his field because of and not in spite of his disability. 

Many barriers, such as widespread ignorance and stereotypes, have caused people with disabilities to be unfairly discriminated against in society and in employment. For these reasons, people with disabilities are a designated group in terms of the Employment Equity Act, 1998. The purpose of this Act is to remove unfair discrimination and to promote equity in the workplace. This Act protects people with disabilities and others against unfair discrimination and, as a previously disadvantaged group, disabled people are eligible to benefit from affirmative action programmes.

The Minister of Labour has also approved a Code of Good Practice on the Employment of People with Disabilities in terms of the Employment Equity Act. The Code is a guide for employers and workers to encourage equal opportunities and fair treatment of people with disabilities. It also helps to create awareness of the contributions that people with disabilities can make in the workplace.

Latest News/Events:

It is a bitter-sweet moment. The end of a year always is. As I write this, I am acutely aware that this is my last opportunity to address the entire membership and still call it 2018. After all the successes IPDM had over the last 11 months, I’m tempted to give you a blow-by-blow of the occasions that I think made it our best year yet. I’m not going to. Rather than highlight the ways IPDM has flourished, I want to reminisce about how we came to flourish. I want to tell you about the amazing people behind the organisation whose tireless dedication put IPDM in the position she is today.

Perhaps our best event of the year was the Annual General Meeting. As you will see later on, this event was the perfect blend of business and pleasure. No-one particularly likes the administrative elements of these meetings: financial reports, agendas, and elections. Quite honestly, I understand why anyone would find them tiresome. The fact that we were able t0 get all the boring administrative tasks out of the way while having a great deal of fun together says a lot about the organisation. IPDM is able to cut through the drudgery and still orchestrate an event that had people talking about it days later (in a good way to boot). Being in the NPO sector and governed by various pieces of complex legislation, it is easy to forget the reason IPDM exists: to aid South Africa’s disabled Community. The continued meaningful and heartfelt engagement at Capacity Building Meetings and, most importantly, at the AGM, reminds me that we have not lost sight of that. We are still focused on achieving a truly accessible society despite the seemingly-insurmountable odds we face.

As our name suggests, our primary emphasis is on employment and economic stability for the members of our Community. To think of us within the economic sphere or ‘Economic Arm’ of the Sector, though, misses the ways in which IPDM reaches beyond the economics of disability. We’re far more interested in helping the people.

Seeing the way the people at IPDM engage with not only the economic but social issues that face the community shows me time and again why I took the role of Chairperson last October. Not only do many of our members, affiliates, and staff strive to achieve their goals, they do it in spite of their busy schedules and, often, their own difficulties. Part of me wishes this entire Newsletter could be a moment for me to engage with its readers. Alas, to do that would detract from the amazing work you do in the name of or associated with IPDM and I can’t do that. If you keep reading, you will see what I mean. I am routinely proud of this old and diverse company. Seeing the way we interact and work towards our collective goal, I have no doubt that the organisation will continue to succeed – who knows, perhaps this time next year I will be saying how 2019 is our ‘best year ever.’

Just as I am confident this organisation will continue long after I step down, I must take a moment to acknowledge key individuals who have made my 2018 successful but will not be around in 2019 and I welcome the individuals stepping into their shoes.

In the last year, the Board has said goodbye to members and welcomed new ones. As Cheryl Harper, Fierosa van Rooi, Natalie Johnson, and Cleone Jordan left IPDM, the executive and administrative spheres of the organisation have faced many challenges. The fact that we recovered from these blows is due in no small part to the expertise and dedication of the Board, their confidence in me, and the people who staff the operational side of the organisation. I would not be able to do what I do without them. As the year draws to a close, with our last event on 29 November, I welcome Underé Deglon, Rida Desai, Chad Lintnaar, and Marcelino Julies to the Board.
Now that I’ve said my piece, please keep reading.

It is a bitter-sweet moment. The end of a year always is. As I write this, I am acutely aware that this is my last opportunity to address the entire membership and still call it 2018. After all the successes IPDM had over the last 11 months, I’m tempted to give you a blow-by-blow of the occasions that I think made it our best year yet. I’m not going to. Rather than highlight the ways IPDM has flourished, I want to reminisce about how we came to flourish. I want to tell you about the amazing people behind the organisation whose tireless dedication put IPDM in the position she is today.
Perhaps our best event of the year was the Annual General Meeting. As you will see later on, this event was the perfect blend of business and pleasure. No-one particularly likes the administrative elements of these meetings: financial reports, agendas, and elections. Quite honestly, I understand why anyone would find them tiresome. The fact that we were able t0 get all the boring administrative tasks out of the way while having a great deal of fun together says a lot about the organisation. IPDM is able to cut through the drudgery and still orchestrate an event that had people talking about it days later (in a good way to boot). Being in the NPO sector and governed by various pieces of complex legislation, it is easy to forget the reason IPDM exists: to aid South Africa’s disabled Community. The continued meaningful and heartfelt engagement at Capacity Building Meetings and, most importantly, at the AGM, reminds me that we have not lost sight of that. We are still focused on achieving a truly accessible society despite the seemingly-insurmountable odds we face.

As our name suggests, our primary emphasis is on employment and economic stability for the members of our Community. To think of us within the economic sphere or ‘Economic Arm’ of the Sector, though, misses the ways in which IPDM reaches beyond the economics of disability. We’re far more interested in helping the people.

Seeing the way the people at IPDM engage with not only the economic but social issues that face the community shows me time and again why I took the role of Chairperson last October. Not only do many of our members, affiliates, and staff strive to achieve their goals, they do it in spite of their busy schedules and, often, their own difficulties. Part of me wishes this entire Newsletter could be a moment for me to engage with its readers. Alas, to do that would detract from the amazing work you do in the name of or associated with IPDM and I can’t do that. If you keep reading, you will see what I mean. I am routinely proud of this old and diverse company. Seeing the way we interact and work towards our collective goal, I have no doubt that the organisation will continue to succeed – who knows, perhaps this time next year I will be saying how 2019 is our ‘best year ever.’
Just as I am confident this organisation will continue long after I step down, I must take a moment to acknowledge key individuals who have made my 2018 successful but will not be around in 2019 and I welcome the individuals stepping into their shoes.

In the last year, the Board has said goodbye to members and welcomed new ones. As Cheryl Harper, Fierosa van Rooi, Natalie Johnson, and Cleone Jordan left IPDM, the executive and administrative spheres of the organisation have faced many challenges. The fact that we recovered from these blows is due in no small part to the expertise and dedication of the Board, their confidence in me, and the people who staff the operational side of the organisation. I would not be able to do what I do without them. As the year draws to a close, with our last event on 29 November, I welcome Underé Deglon, Rida Desai, Chad Lintnaar, and Marcelino Julies to the Board.
Now that I’ve said my piece, please keep reading.