Public Works gives disabled people hope


10 April 2013

The South African Active Disabled People’s Association (Saadpa) in Thulamahashe near Bushbuckridge, a project under the government’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), has created over 500 jobs for disabled people in Mpumalanga province.

The association’s chairman, John Nxumalo, told SAnews last week that the project, established in 2003, had proven that people living with disability can contribute positively towards the economy.

“People with disability are often neglected and often abused by some of their family members, hence we established the project in a bid to address the plight of the disabled in our community,” said Nxumalo, a wheelchair user who was disabled in a car accident.

Members of the project do beadwork, pottery, sewing, weaving, carpentry, woofing, curving as well as farming. Some of the products are exported to markets in the US.

The project has won numerous awards, including the EPWP Kamoso Awards, the Premier’s Awards as well as the Community Builder of the Year Awards.

“I am very much optimistic that Saadpa will grow and become independent thus creating more jobs for people in the village,” Nxumalo said.

One of the project workers, Nora Gumede, said the stipend that she received monthly had given her hope.

“We are getting a monthly stipend as part of EPWP which has changed my life completely, because nobody wanted to employ us. I can now buy food and clothes for my kids and siblings,” Gumede said

Provincial Public Works, Roads and Transport Department spokesman David Nkambule told SAnews that the province had reported a total of 49 014 job opportunities created under the public works programme for the 2012/2013 financial year.