The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.
“The constitution continues to affirm that no person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more of the grounds mentioned above.
We have striven to give legislative and regulatory content to these founding precepts in our nation-building constitution. We have in the past decade progressed, slow as it may have been towards living together in the acknowledgement of the equality and right to dignity of all human beings.
We have tried to give special emphasis to the rights of people living with disability. It is easy to think of equality demands with reference to race, colour, religion and gender, and to forget, or to relegate to secondary importance, the vast discrimination against disabled persons.
We cannot claim to reached anywhere near to where a society should be in terms of practical equality of the disabled. We continue to try. We realize that legislation and regulations are not sufficient or the end of the long walk to equality and non-discrimination. Education, raising of awareness, conscientisation, eradication of stigmatisation: these are key elements in achieving non-discrimination against the disabled in practice and in their daily lives.
A democracy is an order of social equality and non-discrimination. Our compatriots who are disabled challenge us in a very special way to manifest in real life those values of democracy.
It is not a question of patronising philanthropy towards disabled people. They do not need the patronage of the non-disabled. It is not for them to adapt to the dominant and dominating world of the so called non-disabled. It is for us to adapt our understanding of 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.” ~ Nelson Mandela