Employment of people with disabilites in the hospitality sector, Cape Town, South Africa : a multiple case study

Smit, Shannon (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2012-03)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Several legislative documents that promote the inclusion and economic integration of persons with disabilities have been introduced over the previous two decades in South Africa. However, it is still estimated that as many as 99% of persons with disabilities are unemployed (Dube, 2005). Employment equity quotas for persons with disabilities have not been met in either the public or the private sector (CEE Report, 2007).The reasons for this remain largely unexplored in many sectors including the hospitality sector. The hospitality sector - the focus of this study - makes a significant economic contribution to the country and is the largest most diverse labour force sector in South Africa (THETA, 2009). The aim of the study is to examine the employment of persons with disabilities in three hotels in the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town. A descriptive, qualitative case study methodology was implemented for the study. Three purposively sampled hotels in Cape Town`s Victoria and Alfred Waterfront provided the study setting. Participants included managers from these hotels as well as employees with and without disabilities from each of the hotels. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and content analysis was conducted to identify emerging issues according to themes. Findings indicate a medically oriented perception of disability with a focus on physical impairments. A lack of knowledge and guidance in policy documents and from the Department of Labour perpetuate these perceptions. Participants were aware of employment equity policy, but saw it as being orientated to race and gender and did not apply it to persons with disabilities. Application was also not enforced through monitoring by the Department of Labour. Barriers to employment include discrimination and stereotyping, the physical nature and type of jobs, physical access barriers, a lack of education and skills as well as a lack of applications from persons with disabilities. Facilitators included improved Black Economic Empowerment scoring, a motivational aspect, the variety of jobs available and guests and employees with disabilities. Findings on the provision of reasonable accommodation focused mainly on the accommodation of guests and examined physical and structural aspects of the environment. One of the conclusions of the study was that legislation governing the employment of persons with disabilities was poorly implemented in the hotels examined by this study. It is recommended that hotels contract a disability consultant to run disability awareness campaigns within the hotels. In addition, the Department of Labour must monitor policy implementation with regard to persons with disabilities. Disabled people`s organisations should create a platform for communication with government departments responsible for social policy and legislation in an effort to promote and encourage the debate on disability definitions and to act as a watchdog over the implementation of policy.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Wetgewing met die doel om ekonomiese integrasie van persone met gestremdhede te bevorder is in die laaste twee dekades in Suid Afrika aanvaar. Ten spyte daarvan word daar beraam dat soveel soos 99% van persone met gestremdhede in Suid Afrika werkloos is (Dube, 2005). Nie die staat of die privaatsektor kon nog daarin slaag om die twee present kwota te bereik nie (CEE Verslag, 2007). Die redes daarvoor is tot `n groot mate onbekend in veskeie sektore, insluitende die gasvryheidheidsektor, waar hierdie studie gedoen is. Die gasvryheidsektor maak `n beduidende bydrae tot die Suid Afrikaanse ekonomie en het van die grootste en mees diverse arbeidsmagte in Suid Afrika (THETA, 2009). Die doel van die studie was om die situasie aangaande werk en persone met gestremdhede in drie hotelle in die Victoria en Alfred Waterfront, Kaapstad, te beskryf. `n Beskrywende, kwalitatiewe, geval studie metodologie is geimplimenteer. Drie studie hotelle is doelbewus geselekteer. Bestuurders sowel as werknemers met en sonder gestremdhede uit die drie hotelle het aan die studie deelgeneem. Data is ingesamel deur middel van semi gestruktureerde onderhoude. Ontluikende temas is geidentifiseer tydens analise van data. Deelnemers se persepsies van gestremdheid het gefokes op fisiese en mediese probleme. `n Gebrek aan kennis en te min leiding uit beleidsdokumente en van die Department van Arbeid het die persepsie versterk. Deelnemers was bekend met gelyke indiensnemingsbeleid, maar dit is net ten opsigte van ras en geslag in die studie hotelle toegepas. Toepassing van beleid is nie gemonitor deur die Department van Arbeid nie. Aanstelling van persone met gestremdhede is bemoeilik deur diskriminasie, stereotipering, die fisiese aard van die werk, die tipe werk, `n ontoeganklike fisiese omgewing, `n tekort aan opleiding en onderrig by persone met gestremdhede en geen aansoeke van persone met gestremdhede. Fasiliteerders het Swart Ekonomiese Bemagtigings punte, die verskeidenheid van werk, die motiverings aspek sowel as gaste en bestaande werknemers met gestremdhede ingesluit. Redelike Akkommodasie het meestal op gaste gefokus and was beperk tot fisiese en strukturele omgewings aspekte. Daar is tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat wetgewing met betrekking tot aanstelling van persone met gestremdhede swak geimplimenteer was in die studie hotelle. Daar word aanbeveel dat die hotelle `n konsultant aanstel om `n interne bewustheidsveldtog van stapel te stuur. Die Department van Arbeid moet implementering van beleid met betrekking tot persone met gestremdhede monitor. Organisasies vir mense met gestremdhede moet `n platform skep vir kommunikasie met die regering ten opsigte van beleids implimentering en om die debat rondom sosiale insluiting en definisies van gestremheid te bevorder.

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