By Angela Newman
All things being equal, the workforce should reflect the employable part of the population. Employing people with disabilities is not only the right thing to do, but is also a good thing to do, or vice versa. However, not everyone does what is right and good and so the government stepped in in the form of, inter alia, the Constitution, the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998 (EE Act) and the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act 53 of 2003 (BBBEE Act).
This legislation encourages certain businesses to employ people who have disabilities and sets targets for businesses for the employment of black people with disabilities. Businesses that comply are rewarded with broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) points. The more BBBEE points a business has, the higher their BBBEE rating, and the more enticing that business is as a service provider or supplier, because this in turn enables the procurer to secure more BBBEE points.
Who are persons with disabilities?
As set out in the Integrated National Disability Strategy White Paper (1997) (www.info.gov.za, accessed 26-8-2013) (White Paper, 1997), which uses the definition set in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 159, a person with disabilities is: ‘An individual whose prospects of securing and retaining suitable employment are substantially reduced as a result of physical or mental impairment’ (ILO: No 159 – Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) Convention (1983), part 1, art 1, www.ilo.org, accessed 26-8-2013).
The overarching legislation in this regard is, however, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2007 (to which South Africa is a signatory). The preamble states that: ‘Recognising that disability is an evolving concept and that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders…
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