In Hala 2, Lady Frere in ward 3 hundreds gathered to observe the celebrations of women and the International day for persons with disabilities. Emalahleni Local Municipality, Department of Social Development and Special Programmes and the Department of Health with other sector departments made the day possible.

Honarable Mayor Nomveliso Nyukwana said when welcoming guests, persons with disabilities must be taken care of everyday. As the municipality we are working well with all our stakeholders as on issues like the Integrated Development Plan Roadshows we consult with them.

“Government is there to deliver on your needs, in all our ceremonies we must talk about the wellness of our people, this must be done daily”, said mayor. “We started with ploughing contributing R100’s as members but it was not easy at all. We opted for poultry and we were advised by the Department of Agriculture on how to do it. We grew chickens for six weeks and thereafter they are grown chickens that we can sell to individuals in our communities”, said Mrs Nontombi Nowitness Ntetha of Inkwenkwezi Poultry Project.

“As we were not funded we decided to approach the Department of Social Development and Special Programmes, registration documents were required and we manage to submit them. In 2011 we were funded by sum of about R170 000.00 which was meant for building the poultry structure. In 2012 we were given the same amount as in 2011”, she said.

“We appreciate a moment like this to come and share with you our ups and downs. We are thankful to the municipality and the Department of Agriculture and Social Development for their support”, said Mrs Ntetha.

Mrs Mkwambi of Masibebanye Sewing project said the project started in 2003 when they commence their idea using old material like buttons and beads to make the attire. In 2006 they started with the traditional attire as they received funding from the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture.

“We went to the Emalahleni Local Municipality to see the Mayor, there we were referred to Integrated Planning and Economic Development section which linked us with funders in Gauteng. As a result we were supported by those funders with two factory machines for clothing manufacturing. Now we require a market as we are aiming to develop the modern garments”, said Mkwambi. “The municipality gave us a lot of support, we are very grateful of that” she said.

The programme director of the day Ms Noxolo Gonono, chairperson of Emalahleni Disability Forum said, as persons with disability now they are free as they are getting the necessary support to government.

Mrs Nancy Sihlwayi MEC for Department of Social Development and Special Programmes said the disability sector must call on government to assist them to enter into businesses of their own choice. “This is the month for persons with disabilities, 16 Days of activism falls within this month. As government we have identified people that are left out of service delivery and freedom”, said MEC.

On the dialogue which was done here by the affected groups I picked up two issues that is pregnancy of a person with disability which seem to be an embarrassment in our communities and secondly child headed homes where there are people with disability they depend on the social grant, said Sihlwayi. “We appeal to people with disability to educate us on their needs. We are not in government on our will, there are leaders who were committed in fighting for the democratic government we have today. We are here to celebrate twenty years of freedom. We acknowledge the gains of freedom”, she said.

“Family unit and parenting is key for proper growth of a child. Dysfunctional families are the causative effect of the problems encountered by our youth”, said MEC. “We are mandated to integrate people with disability in all our programmes. You must be organised so that we are able to integrate your programmes. In our budget we are compelled to budget for the needs of people with disabilities. As the department that is assisting people who are needy we do things checking on the situation on the ground”, said Sihlwayi.

“As the department we are head hunting people with disability who have skills on various areas. On bursaries there are few people with disability who are applicants. We have youth camps programme for children who are living on the street; some of them are taken care of by their grandparents. We don’t want complaints but we need proposals on what need to be done. You must make your own submission so that we do not think for you as we don’t know your situation better than you”, said Nancy Sihlwayi.

“As members of the community you are staying with people living under difficult circumstances and you do not notice. When your child is moody you do not intervene”, said MEC. On the day one hundred families were given food parcels, 15 wheelchair that were contributed by the Department of Health and the Department of Social Development were handed over to the beneficiaries as well as one hundred sanitary towels were given to various schools and to the disability forum.