Parliament: PWDs call for 2% representation in public service employment

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Writes Muchimba Faro
Unpacking the Persons With Disabilities Bill (H.B. 2, 2023) before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, at the New Parliament Building recently, Dr Christina Peta,  the Director of Disability Affairs in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare said the Bill seeks to compel the Public Sector to have two percent of their employees being people with disabilities (PWDs).
The Government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, seeks to amend the Disabled Persons Act (1992) to align it with the 2013 Constitution. To see to it that the social, political and economic welfare of PWDs is improved, and no one is left behind, according to the President’s mantra, the Bill will address a plethora of these issues, among them the creation of employment and equity in the public sector.
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Honourable Dorothy Mashonganyika from Mashonaland Central Province, welcomed Mr Simon Masanga – Permanent Secretary, Mr Tirivavi – Registrar and Dr Peta from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
Another major issue to be addressed by the proposed law is the dissolution of the Board to give way for the establishment of the Commission for Persons with Disabilities. The Commission will have 15 to 16 members of whom seven would be PWDs themselves appointed by the Minister after secondment from various organisations of PwDs. The other six members will be drawn from government ministries, especially the Ministries of Local Government; Health; Finance; and Education. The Director of Disability Affairs will be an ex-officio member. Lastly, one or two members will be co-opted into the commission after consultation with the Minister.
Reacting to Dr Peta’s submissions, Honourable Dexter Mangaliso from Zvimba South asked what measures are in place to ensure that PWDs are skilled and ready for 2% employment, two years after the enactment of the Bill into law.
The Ministry highlighted that several programmes through social welfare are being undertaken, like the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) from primary schools through secondary education. The government also enrols many students in colleges, polytechnics and universities.
The Portfolio Committee will soon go around the country, holding public consultations to solicit citizens’ views on the Bill.