Mbombela — The South African government must be seen to be supporting people living with disabilities instead of just talking about it, says Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana.
Xingwana was speaking during the National Disability and Gifted Stars Awards held in White River, Mpumalanga, on Monday.
"Our programmes and the way we implement them must reflect a government that is committed to creating a better life for people with disabilities. We are aware that our impact will not be assessed in terms of our verbal commitments," said Xingwana.
"We must be judged by our practical actions and the extent to which these change the lives of disabled people for the better."
The minister said that government was committed to creating equal opportunities for those living with disabilities.
"People with disabilities can play a critical role in transforming our society if given the opportunity to do so," she said.
The awards seek to showcase achievements and contributions by people with disabilities to their communities as well as people who have contributed to the disability sector.
Xingwana said the department will continue to highlight challenges that prevent the disabled from participating as equal citizens in mainstream society.
She said her department expects government institutions to meet the 2% target for the employment of people living with disabilities.
At the moment, less than 1% of the state workforce comprises those with disabilities.
One of the award recipients, Michaela Mycroft, cried when she received a National Young Leader Award, which included a cheque.
"I am very humbled by the honour. I will further my studies at the University of Cape Town next year," she said.