The Stats SA report in terms of disability detailed a statistical evidence relating to the prevalence of disability and characteristics of persons with disabilities at both individual and household levels. It is thus important as the local municipality in the District of John Taolo Gaetsewe one of the second biggest in terms of the population in the Province to reflect on this issues as highlighted in the statistical report. It is practical to state that in the past there was a great marginalization of the persons with disabilities in our society based on many societal believes characterized by culture and many other influence. I am certain that with the organization like Maphalane Disabled Children’s Trust that committed itself to change this picture for the better in the best interest of our people with disability. This initiative have ensured that what was previously painted negatively will be eroded and be placed at the centre of our human kind that represents; hope, love, inspiration and care.
The report further states that the national disability prevalence rate is 7.5% in South Africa and as a result it becomes difficult for the people with disability to access education and employment opportunities. As the municipality we are thankful for the role played by this trust in ensuring that our affected people in this instance remain prioritized regardless of their circumstances. In the past few years the Gamagara Local Municipality in collaborated efforts with Maphalane Disabled Children’s Trust we roll out a very successful program in our wards from Olifantshoek to Deben in our attempt to make a meaning contribution in changing the lives of our people with disability for the better. Our partnership did not only end there, we continued to engage on other relevant programs that seeks to address some of these challenges confronted by our people.
We remain optimistic that the organization such as MDCT remains the only strategic resource center in the Province to work with local government in changing the lives of our people. These are the organizations that needed to be supported by all stakeholders to ensure sustainability as they carry the interest of our disabled at heart. Our primary focus as the municipality is to provide basic services to all our people but yet we are challenged as at times we are unable to reach out to all our people including the disabled.
We are indeed grateful and wish to express our gratitude for being afforded with an opportunity to work with Maphalane Disabled Children’s Trust in the past. The municipality is looking forward to work with you again in the future as we continue to build a better society and a united Country moving forward.
I am humbled by what was once said by the Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Former Statesman, President Mandela at the opening of the First Annual South African Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp when he said “Disabled children are equally entitled to an exciting and brilliant future”.
We wish you well in your future endeavor of exciting and brilliant future for our disabled regardless of the gender, color or creed, may God be with you!