Perceived needs of disability grant recipients in a semi-rural South African area

Frieg A. ; Hendry J.A. (2001)

Article

While it is true that the restructuring of social welfare policies is one of the many pressing challenges of post-apartheid South Africa, it is unlikely that the most urgent need of this study population, i.e. an increase in the amount paid as disability grant, will be met in the short term. The White Paper on Social Welfare (Government Gazette, No. 1108 of 1997), which was drafted after widespread negotiations with many stakeholders, emphasises that welfare programmes should promote optimal social functioning, but that the system was founded on racial inequity, which resulted in social disintegration and consequent social problems. The document acknowledges that resources are limited and therefore people's expectations, including those of persons with disabilities, cannot fully be met in the short term. The demands on the state are enormous and human rights activists maintain that no citizen should be deprived of living above acceptable standards. This study also supports the view that the community, including persons with disabilities, local governmental and non-governmental organisations should initiate campaigns to raise awareness of disability in the community and promote support-group activities for persons with disabilities and/or their families. These findings therefore, further reinforce government's recommendation to engage in community-based rehabilitation strategies within a primary health care approach.

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