(Published - 10 December 2019)
The University of the Western Cape (UWC) observed International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3 with an event to raise awareness about the complexities and challenges faced by those with disabilities.
UWC strongly believes that people with disabilities should fulfil their role in society and participate on an equal basis with others. UWC’s Policy on “Staff with Disabilities” draws from the “Code of Good Practice on the Employment of People with Disabilities” which forms part of the Employment Equity Act. The Human Resources Department, which organised the event, reiterated its commitment to focus on the ability and not the disability of staff and students.
The programme was opened by the Human Resources Executive Director, Meko Ernest Magida, who spoke about inclusivity and equality for people with disabilities. The newly nominated Employment Equity Forum representative for staff with disabilities, Dr Bruce May, spoke about gaps in policies and processes which may create possible barriers for staff with disabilities. Yulanda Gombard, a survivor of the Kloofnek School Bus accident, was invited as a motivational speaker. Gombard sustained spinal injuries and is confined to a wheelchair. She left the audience inspired by her life journey. Other speakers included the National Programme Manager of Disabled People South Africa, Gillian Moses; Carmen Loubser from the Centre for Student Support Services, and Richard Anthony from the Differently Abled Student Association. Stakeholders such as the University of the Western Cape Employees Union represented by Michelle Jacobs and the SRC represented by Sasha-Lee Douglas, also emphasised the need to allocate more resources to addressing the concerns of staff and students with disabilities.
UWC employee, and The Voice South Africa contestant, Anslin Gysman, performed a special musical tribute at the event, which was open to the whole university community. The Human Resources Department extends its gratitude to those who participated in this important occasion.