Yesterday, I received confirmation from the Public Protector, Adv. Thuli Madonsela, that she will be launching a preliminary investigation into the DA’s compliant that the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities’ (DWCPD) is failing to deliver on its mandate to promote the realisation and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.
Earlier this year, the DA made a submission requesting an investigation into the skewed spending priorities of the DWCPD and its apparent disregard of its responsibilities in creating an environment in which people with disabilities could live valuable lives.
Approximately 5% of the population is disabled. People with disabilities are often the most disadvantaged, marginalised members of our society, with limited access to buildings, information, independence, opportunity, choice and control over their own lives. This group needs supporters in the national government who are serious about their plight. Minister Lulu Xingwana’s department has, however, not been an effective advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
The HRC has subsequently informed us that our compliant would be best dealt with by the Public Protector’s office, as the DWCPD failure to spend its budgets and deliver tangible outcomes in its programme for people with disabilities amounts to maladministration rather than a direct violation of human rights.
In our submission, we presented evidence of the poor financial and administrative management of the DWCPD, including:
According to the Constitution, the Public Protector has the power to investigate conduct in state affairs or in the public administration that is alleged or suspected to be improper or to result in any impropriety or prejudice.
Whilst we maintain that the rights of people with disabilities are jeopardised by the DWCPD’s poor track record we support the decision to investigate this matter as a possible incidence of maladministration.
We hope that the Public Protector’s investigation brings light to the inefficiencies within the DWCPD and the limited benefit that vulnerable communities have enjoyed from the programmes of this department. Those responsible for the department’s dismal performance should be held to account.