#EEDTAwards Encourage Empowering People With Disabilities In The Workplace by Marius Meyer

SABPP launches Employment Equity, Diversity and Transformation Awards at KZN Conference
April 10, 2018
The SABPP HR Professional Practice Standard on Employment Equity, Diversity (Inclusion) Management: An assessment tool for practical application and audits by Sakkie van Greunen, Marius Meyer and Annetjie Moore
April 11, 2018

The 2018 SABPP Employment Equity, Diversity and Transformation (#EEDTAwards) include a category promoting the employment and advancement of people with disabilities in the workplace.  We are looking forward to see some great examples of innovative practice in empowering people with disabilities in the workplace.  In particular, while we are looking for any good management actions, we are specifically interested in what HR Managers are doing as champions of persons with disabilities at work.

HR Managers play a key role in driving employment equity in the workplace. The development and submission of employment equity plans are managed by HR Managers after they have received inputs from their employment equity committees.  Over the last two decades, significant emphasis was placed on race and gender, with mixed results achieved. Some companies have made good progress, while others have struggled to change their workforce profiles in meeting their employment equity targets.  While the Employment Equity Act includes people with disabilities as one of the designated groups, the area of disability has been neglected.

In essence, HR Managers should ensure that people with disabilities are empowered in the workplace.  The following actions are key opportunities for HR Managers in empowering people with disabilities:

  • Ensure that disability is part of employment equity plans, including the removal of barriers and setting of targets.
  • Develop a workplace disability strategy for the organisation.
  • Involve people with disabilities in making recommendations on how a more inclusive work environment should be created.
  • Create awareness about disability throughout the organisation.
  • Ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided for people with disabilities.
  • Align HR practices to be more inclusive towards people with disabilities, e.g. recruitment, selection, diversity awareness training, performance management, employee wellness, and learning and development.
  • Monitor and evaluate progress towards achieving employment equity targets.


Association for People with Disabilities: www.apdjhb.co.za

Blind SA: www.blindsa.org.za


Department of Labour: www.labour.gov.za

Disabled People South Africa: www.dpsa.org.za

Disability Resources and links: www.disabilitysa.co.za

Diversity Employment Solutions: www.dwde.co.za


Epilepsy South Africa: www.epilepsy.org.za

Higher and Further Education Disability Services Association: www.hedsa.org.za

National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities: www.ncppdsa.org.za

National Institute for the Deaf: www.nid.org.za

SA Federation for Mental Health: www.safmh.org.za

South African Disability Alliance: www.sadaorg.za

South African Employers for Disability: www.sae4d.co.za

South African Human Rights Commission: www.sahrc.org.za

South African National Council for the Blind: www.sancb.org.za

South African National Deaf Association: www.sanda.org,za


In the light of the above discussion, it is clear that HR Managers can take several positive steps in creating an inclusive environment for people with disabilities.  I would like to encourage HR professionals to become active change agents in empowering people with disabilities in the workplace.  In 2017 the South African Human Rights Commission launched a Disability Toolkit as a reference guide for employers.  Building on this publication, the inaugural SABPP Employment Equity, Diversity and Transformation Awards are intended to further encourage companies to accelerate the implementation of employment equity in the workplace.  One of the awards is for an employer who has achieved excellence in empowering people with disabilities in the workplace.

Marius Meyer is CEO of the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP).  For more information about the #EEDTAwards, including the disability award visit www.sabppawards.co.zaor follow SABPP on twitter @SABPP1 #EEDTAwards