Visiting SA Deputy Minister of Social Development Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu (right) and Zim’s Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Cde Petronella Kagonye

African countries should mainstream disability and facilitate the empowerment of people with disabilities. 

Visiting South African Deputy Minister of Social Development Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu who is in the country on a four day bilateral visit said empowerment is the only way out of dependence for those with disability.

The South African Deputy Minister said providing opportunities for persons with disabilities remains critical to the development of any nation considering that poverty has a tendency of establishing itself strongly among them as they continue to be one of the most marginalised groups in society.

Ms Bogopane-Zulu called upon African countries to mainstream disability and facilitate empowerment of people with disabilities so that they contribute to socio-economic development of their countries.

 “In our country agreement with Japan on empowerment of persons with disabilities we added SADC countries that we will be able to come together and support each other in mainstreaming disability,” she said.

In response, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Cde Petronella Kagonye said Zimbabwe is committed to empower persons with disabilities as their issues are considered at the highest level of governance.

She also commended the South African government for repatriating eight Zimbabwean children who were found unaccompanied and undocumented.

 “The move was in favour of children’s interests as stipulated in the Children’s Act. Even if it was us as Zimbabwe we would have taken the same route to protect the children,” Cde Kagonye said.

The South African Deputy Minister is expected to visit a number of disability institutions and meet with organisations that represent people with disabilities to see how they can share ideas on strengthening them.