[blindza] WESTERN CAPE NETWORK ON DISABILITY - General meeting

To - BLINDZA <blindza@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>; Disability List 
<disability@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>; AACSA List <AACSA@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>; NAP - Blind 
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Dear Lists, 
Always good to hear from WCND. 
No apologies for cross posting as they appear to be one of the few networks on 
disability in South Africa and I hope that their work may inspire other 
provinces to do the same .
Regards, 
Tony Webb, 
The.Sponge Project, Port Elizabeth.
+27-41-368 3707, Mobile +27-82-290 3764, 
tony.webb@xxxxxxxxxxxx,    http://thespongeproject.yolasite.com

WESTERN  CAPE  NETWORK  ON  DISABILITY

MINUTES OF GENERAL MEETING OF NETWORK HELD AT PROTEA SPORTS CLUB, RETREAT, ON 
TUESDAY 20 MARCH 2012, AT 10 AM

 

PRESENT:  Vincent Daniels (in the Chair), Vice-chairperson Hillary Lane, 
Treasurer Doug Davidson, Vivienne van der Merwe (Administrator/Secretary) - in 
total 73 Members/Stakeholders, as per attendance list;

APOLOGIES:  21 Members/Stakeholders, including WC Premier Helen Zille and MP 
Helen Lamoela;  from the City, Mayor Patricia de Lille and Councillor Beverley 
Cortje-Alcock

 

1.  WELCOME:

Steve de Lange, Manager of Protea Sports Club, welcomed everyone to the Club, 
commenting that the Club was very much connected to persons with disabilities 
having been started 50 years ago by a psychiatrist who had wanted to introduce 
persons with disabilities to archery.   A variety of other sports were now also 
being enjoyed, including wheelchair dancing and wheelchair rugby.  

 

Chairperson Vincent Daniels also extended a warm welcome to everyone present, 
especially Guest Speaker Virginia Petersen of SASSA, Champion for Disability 
Thandi Mpambo Sibhukwana and MP Denise Robinson.   He asked people to remember 
those who had recently died - previous Network Board Member Anlo van Heerden 
who did so much to help the blind, especially deafblind, Jean Bald - a stalwart 
of IPDM, and DPSA's Lennox Bonile who lost his son in a shooting accident.  
Uplifting thoughts also needed to be directed to Dawn Hare of Ocean View APD, 
who had recently suffered severe whiplash in an accident.   Finally, he called 
on those present to introduce themselves and their organizations.

 

2.  CANDLELIGHTING CEREMONY TO COMMEMORATE WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY AND HUMAN 
RIGHTS DAY:

Tineke Boshoff, Down Syndrome Association WC Liaison Officer, came forward with 
Jody Adams, a  young man with Down Syndrome, who lit the Candle.   Full details 
of Down Syndrome and World Down Syndrome Day being available on Internet, 
Tineke concentrated instead on sharing her experience of living with a child 
with Down Syndrome.   She described how her life had changed and taken a 
different route.  Children with DS were really special little individuals but 
lived on a different planet, not caring what you looked like, only how you 
reacted to them, only wanting to be accepted.  She told the story of a group of 
athletes who had trained very hard for Special Olympics but when they started 
their race, one fell.   The others immediately stopped, turned around and ran 
back to help him up;  then everyone started off again - together.  This was 
typical of those with Down Syndrome and Intellectual Disability.   They helped 
each other.   Jody who only speaks English but sings in Afrikaans, then 
enriched proceedings with a song, to tumultuous applause.

 

Farahneez Hassiem of Disabled People SA then reminded everyone that Human 
Rights Day would be celebrated the following day.  Persons with disabilities 
all had a common interest - they wanted to enjoy respect and dignity, human 
rights to which they were entitled.  DPSA was a people's organization which  
totally believed in self-representation ie nothing about us without us.  DPSA 
and Network were on a mission and needed support.   A few years ago, there had 
been great excitement when the Disability Sector had been invited to join the 
City in working on a City Disability Plan, but implementation had not happened. 
 Now the Plan had been taken up again and the support of everyone present was 
needed.   This time not just a policy was required but tangible outcomes - a 
plan of action to achieve results with a view to improving the lives of people 
with disabilities.   

 

Vice-chairperson Hillary Lane followed with a few words about the uncaring 
attitudes still being experienced  by persons with disabilities.   As a society 
still in the early stages of democracy, it was necessary to continually inform 
people about persons with disabilities because non-disabled did not understand 
the problems still being experienced by disabled.

 

Champion for Disability Thandi Mpambo Sibhukwana called on the Almighty to 
enlighten people's minds with respect to persons with disabilities.   People 
still did not understand how things worked in Government.   Everyone had the 
right to know and she urged MP Denise Robinson to take up issues of concern in 
Parliament.  She had been attending a Disability Summit with the Minister and 
Deputy Minister of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, and vowed to 
champion the aspirations of persons with disabilities in the Province but 
funding was needed.   She appealed to Denise to try and open doors. 

 

Chairperson thanked all the speakers for their inspiring messages.  

 

3.  MINUTES:

Minutes of the previous General Meeting held at Stellenbosch on 14 June 2011, 
were confirmed (proposed by Hillary Lane, seconded by Sannie Crous, and agreed) 
.

 

4.  GUEST SPEAKER:  MS VIRGINIA PETERSEN, CEO, SA SOCIAL SECURITY AGENCY:

Virginia Petersen, well-known to everyone from her days with APD, the Dept of 
Social Development, and later as Director-General of the Premier's Office, then 
took the floor.  She congratulated Network on good work done over the past 15 
years but stressed the need to continue to fight for all issues still needing 
attention in terms of the Disability Plan.  She then explained the changes that 
would be introduced into the Social Pension System, changes that would result 
in a great saving of costs (only one contractor for the entire country), remove 
corruption and simplify the lives of pensioners who would be able to draw their 
pensions with a smartcard at any pay point in the country.  Pay points would 
also be more varied including shops, like Checkers for example.  Pensions would 
however only be paid to the person entitled to receive the pension - no third 
parties would be tolerated.   Those unable to personally collect their pensions 
from paypoints would in future enjoy the benefit of street delivery.  In order 
to commence with the new system, pensioners as from 1 April, when collecting 
their pensions, would exchange their current All Pay card (or whatever type of 
card they were using) for a SASSA card.   For this card, one finger on each 
hand would be fingerprinted.   This card would be used until re-registration 
had been completed.   Re-registration would take place between 1 June and end 
December.  Re-registration would comprise fingerprinting, voice-recording and 
photographing to ensure correct identification of the person entitled to the 
pension.  For children, footprints would be used.   A smartcard would then be 
issued.   For the time being, until the new system got going, pensioners 
receiving their pensions via banks, would not be affected, likewise 
institutions.  SASSA would in due course make arrangements to visit 
institutions for pensioners' re-registration.  Persons holding Power of 
Attorney in respect of pensioners, would also have to be re-registered.  It was 
envisaged that the new contractor would operate the system for five years, 
after which time SASSA would take over payment of pensions themselves.   
Further questions could be forwarded to Vivienne for passing on to her, or she 
could be contacted direct on SASSA's toll free no:  0800-60-10-11 or CPS:  
0800-60-01-60 /email: VirginiaP@xxxxxxxxxxxx /cell: 082-550-4951.

 

Finally she assured everyone that a communication process would be rolled out 
in the Press, starting in Gauteng at end of March.   When the time came, those 
receiving their pensions via banks, would be notified by letter, also those 
with powers of attorney.   Those who could not leave their homes to 
re-register, would be visited at home.

Chairperson thanked Virginia for coming personally to bring her message to the 
Disability Sector, on whose behalf he expressed sincere appreciation of her 
efforts to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.

 

5.  BRIEF REPORTS:

5.1  DISABILITY SUMMIT (Western Cape):  Ruth Nugent (Epilepsy WC & Network 
Board Member) reported briefly on the Disability Summit held on 1 December 2011 
in which Network members, DPSA and the Dept of the Premier had collaborated.  A 
report had already been circulated.   Basically, the Disablity Summit had been 
intended to move policies that had not yet been implemented.  A Task Team 
comprising representatives of DPSA, Network and Government Departments had been 
set up and would be broadened.   A set of outcomes had been identified but 
resolutions could not be taken forward unless it was understood what had gone 
before.  A Disability framework had been developed.   Government Department 
representatives were to look at what strategies had been devised and what had 
been achieved;  the Disability Sector were to do the same; and then both would 
look at the gaps.   The NGO sector would play a leading role.   She promised to 
provide more details shortly.   Avril Hoepner (IPDM) reminded that disunity in 
the sector had in the past caused lack of progress.   Network needed to ensure 
unity for success.  She congratulated Network on a good job. 

 

5.2  RURAL OUTREACH - LOTTERY-FUNDED PROJECT:

Ruth advised that she had been working with Rural Outreach Project Co-ordinator 
Patsy Anthony, who wanted to revive Disability Forums in the rural areas eg 
Atlantis, but rural forums did not always have access to resources so Network 
would feed back needs to the relevant bodies eg in respect of deaf, raise their 
needs with DeafSA WC.   Patsy was also working in Malmesbury, in the process of 
getting questionnaires filled in so as to look at needs in that district.

 

5.3  CITY DISABILITY POLICY:

Vice-chairperson Hillary Lane reported that Network had been involved for a 
number of years with a proposed City Disability Policy, and had recently met 
with the City's lawyer to make sure that everything was legally correct.   
Before finalizing the policy, however, it had been decided to meet with the 
City Manager to discuss implementation and how the Disability Sector could best 
hold the City accountable.  Members would be kept informed.   

 

5.4  INSTITUTE FOR PROMOTION OF DISABLED MANPOWER (Network's Economic 
Empowerment arm):

Vic McKinney of IPDM recommended that everyone read the report that had been 
circulated as it contained a lot of interesting information about IPDM 
activities during the past year.   Any questions could be directed to him via 
email:  sky@xxxxxxxxxxxx   He admitted that he had initially been pretty 
sceptical in terms of SETA's but a lot had been happening and a lot of 
mechanisms were now in place to promote employment of disabled.   Government 
could however only do so much.   Disabled must also come to the party!

 

5.5  DIAL-A-RIDE:  

Chairperson reported no further progress regarding the new DAR Contract since 
circulating latest developments reported at Network's Board meeting end 
February.   They were presumably still processing appeals/complaints regarding 
the proposed new contract.   A few concerns had been raised with regard to how 
new drivers would cope and whether training would be provided.   Network was in 
the process of looking into the matter.  

 

 

6.  ANY OTHER RELEVANT BUSINESS:

Chairperson reminded members that 2012 was an election year.   A new Board 
would be elected at the AGM in September.   Although Network had some dedicated 
Board members, there were some vacancies and new blood was needed.   He 
therefore urged people to speak to their organizations and other organizations 
in their particular Disability Sector, and consider who could best represent 
the Sector - ideally member organizations in each sector should get together to 
elect their four representatives to the Network Board. 

 

7.  APPRECIATION AND CLOSURE:

Chairperson thanked everyone for attending and participating in the meeting - 
some like Petronella Linders had come from far;  he thanked organizations for 
allowing so many of their staff to attend;     special thanks to all the 
speakers, especially Guest Speaker Virginia Petersen who came from Pretoria 
with a message for the Disability Sector;  and Jody Adams who sang so 
beautifully.   He also expressed appreciation to all who had helped  - Steve de 
Lange of Protea Sports Club for providing the venue, and staff to prepare the 
hall and clean up afterwards;  the ladies of Adam's Farm Home who provided the 
delicious snacks;  Frikkie Crous who provided the sound and Sannie Crous who 
helped him, and also helped Vivienne with preparations and registration.    To 
everyone a big thank-you!

 

Finally, he would really like to hear from members whether they considered 
General Meetings worthwhile attending - just a few lines in an email to:  
vincent@xxxxxxxxxxxx     

   


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