Roundtable to enhance government services for children with severe to profound intellectual disability

“The fact that the Roundtable is taking place during Disability Rights Awareness Month, which is commemorated annually from 03 November to 03 December, is an indication that the Department is taking matters relating to inclusivity seriously,” said Dr Mamiki Maboya, DDG for Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring. The Roundtable on enhancing government services for Children/learners with Severe to Profound Intellectual Disability (CSPID) took place at the DBE in Pretoria on 26 November 2018. The purpose of the Roundtable was to reflect on progress made in respect of the Western Cape court order of 2010 (Case Number 18678/2007), and to identify mechanisms for addressing challenges whilst strengthening the provision of services for CSPID. The Roundtable was attended by participants from the DBE, PEDs, the Departments of Transport and Social Development (Western Cape) and the Western Cape Forum for Intellectual Disability.

Dr Moses Simelane, Chief Director for Curriculum Implementation and Monitoring, presented a report on the progress made by government departments in the implementation of the court order for the efficient coordination of services for CSPID. Dr Simelane reported that significant progress, starting with the joint preliminary audit which was conducted in 393 special care centres to analyse the situation, had been made in the implementation of the court order.

Delegates, in four commissions, agreed that it is important to enhance inter-departmental collaboration, coordination and accountability for efficient integrated service delivery. The commissions on the review of legislation and policies to strengthen service provisioning for C/LSPID, recommended that there was a need to formulate an interdepartmental task team to review all relevant policies and legislation. These include, amongst others, the South African Schools Act (SASA) and the Learner Transport Policy. In respect of providing services beyond the court order, the commission looking at this aspect, recommended that the Conditional Grant be elevated from a Schedule 5 to a Schedule 4 grant for it to be strengthened as a mechanism to supplement allocations from the PEDs. However, the Roundtable advised against such a move, given the challenges that the sector was experiencing with Schedule 4 conditional grants. The commission on the future role of special care centres recommended that the space of special care centres must be regulated and transformed to expand service delivery options for young people with disabilities.

Going forward, the report of the day’s proceedings will be shared with all stakeholders representing the relevant departments. Task Teams will be established, in line with the four themes discussed, to refine and focus the work into an implementable plan of action, which must be in place before the end of January 2019. An Intergovernmental meeting will then be held to discuss and adopt the plan by March 2019 for presentation to Cabinet for final approval. The departments involved are: Transport, Health, Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Public Works, Social Development and Basic Education.

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