A recruitment company has slammed companies for their poor record when it comes to employing disabled people.
Org Geldenhuys, a director of Abacus Recruitment, says he is disappointed with the attitude of corporate South Africa when it comes to employing disabled people.
"In terms of the government's employment equity act (no 55 of 1998) we all know that there is a move towards empowering black South Africans, but there is also a push to try and employ a certain percentage of disabled people," he explains.
Te Act was revised in 2006, with industry generally having to provide posts for disabled people equal to 2% of their workforce if their company boasts more than 50 staff members, or a turnover of more than R5-million.
Abacus Recruitment has formed a new division that will focus on seeking to Place disabled candidates in employment positions.
"Since we launched this division to try and find employment for disabled people we have received a lot of reticence from companies," says Geldenhuys. "They are not impolite, but there are just no policies in place – there are no posts available – and it looks like there is a mindset against employing disabled people. It is disheartening, to say the least."
Heloise Conradie, an occupational therapist who works with the new division as a consultant, says companies seem to have the misguided perception that disabled people cannot add value to a company.
"It's essential for persons with a disability to engage in a vocational rehabilitation program to prepare them for the workplace but after rehabilitation they need a change to prove their skills and abilities in the industry.
"We market our clients' skills and not their disabilities. Yes, some adaptations is needed to function in the workplace, when that is in place, the person with a disability can function and compete in the the open labour market.
"But there is unfortunately still a mindset out there. Companies think that disabled people are liabilities, but there are many functions they can perform."