OR Tambo Debate Series – Disability Inclusive Development

About This Project

The 9th instalment of the OR Tambo Debate Series focussed on disability inclusive development. The panel, Justice Zak Yacoob, Dr Vuyo Mahlati and Mr Eddie Ndopu along with position paper presenter Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane – Zulu and the Regional Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Jacqueline Nzoyihera were introduced and welcomed by the facilitator of the event, Mr. Msingati Siphuka.


In her welcome address, Ms Nzoyihera described Oliver Tambo’s position on humanity and inclusion, his leadership and resilience as inspiration not only for her, but for an entire nation. Describing South Africa’s constitution what motivated other countries around the world to look at reforms that fight against discrimination and the combating of hate crimes, she went on to elaborate that the country has been a pioneer in the advancing of inclusion of people with disabilities. Citing the South African Disability Rights Charter and the Integrated National Disability Strategy, which were implemented in 1992 and 1997 respectively, she illustrated how South Africa has always been ahead of other countries and bodies such as the United Nations General Assembly, which only adopted the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2006, 14 years after South Africa had started.


Drawing on her own experiences, Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu who was born in a rural village, and is visually impaired, described inclusive development as beginning at home. When talking the theorising of inclusive development, she emphasised the importance of being cognisant of the kind of indicators that are being set, what kind of results are expected and whether these are in line with disability inclusive results they are seeking. In her address, Dr Mahlati elaborated that the advances in the inclusion for people with disabilities are because of the actions of people with disabilities themselves. She cited Friday Mavuso and Maria Rantho, themselves disabled, as revolutionaries in the disability movement, having fought for better treatment and inclusion – acting and fighting for what they wanted and not just accepting what was being handed to them. She described the self-help movement as one of the best ways to do away with the welfare approach and liberating one’s self first. Justice Yacoob went on to agree with Dr Mahlati that more action is needed. He berated the constant theorising, and emphasised that theories must be put into action. He attributed the suffering that the vast majority of people with disabilities still incur to non-action and constant theorising. Mr Ndopu, criticizing the current theories on inclusive development, explained that perhaps disability should be reimagined as a methodology and instrument, rather than an identity. He elaborated that disability provides a framework for which development can be imagined from a whole new perspective. He explained that while some of the best technological advances inform their innovations through looking at disability, this cannot be seen in public policy.


Comments from the audience echoed the same message – political inclusion needs to be re-theorised. There was also agreement that pollical willingness in the issue of inclusion needs to be more visible, with disability not being treated passively. Issues such as employment for the sake of increasing numbers and not empowerment, the exorbitant prices of mobility aids, and the treatment of transformation as a “special project” were cited, by the audience, as hinderances to inclusion.




Here is the link to the video of the event


WP Real Media Library is not installed/inactive!

30th November 2017


University of the Witwatersrand – Chalsty Teaching and Conference Centre

2017, OR Tambo Debate Series, Projects