South Africa

This page features the news on disability from South Africa in the Debrief Library. See also news from other countries.


Accessibility and Design

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Brief audio on How accessible is South Africa? (May, EWN)

Assistive Technology

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The effects of cognitive effort on academic performance of learners with cochlear implants. “The study highlights that cognitive effort of learners with cochlear implants influenced their capabilities to multitask and retain information”. (Oct, African Journal on Disability)


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How did South Africans with disabilities experience COVID-19? Results of an online survey: “people with disabilities in South Africa experienced many negative impacts of the pandemic. Strategies to control the virus largely ignored attending to human rights and socioeconomic well-being of this marginalised group.” (Feb, African Journal of Disability)

How the pandemic lockdown affected mental health (Aug, the Conversation)


Disabled people moved because of Covid are living in filthy conditions (Oct, Ground Up)

Experiences of Organisations of (or That Serve) Persons with Disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic and National Lockdown. “The findings demonstrate that the South African government failed to ensure targeted support to organisations of persons with disabilities. A remarkable feature of the organisations we interviewed for this small study was their agility in responding creatively to the challenges they faced, despite the difficulties.” (Oct, Environmental Research and Public Health)

Civil Society and Community

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Disability and Islam: PhD examines unconscious exclusion, burden of responsibility. (Mar, UCT News.)

Climate Crisis and Environment

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How load shedding impacts people living with disabilities (Jun)

Communication and Language

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Ending the book famine: Copyright guide launched for blind and visually impaired. (Jan, Gadget)

Sign Languages

South African Sign Language set to become official language (May, Disability Insider)


Concourt rules that Copyright Act is unconstitutional. “Blind and visually impaired people, prevented from converting written material to braille or other accessible formats without the permission of copyright holders, can now do so following a ruling by the Constitutional Court.” (Sep, GroundUp)

Culture, Entertainment and Media

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Athenkosi Kwinana breaks the stigma about Persons Living with Albinism (PLWA) through art (Feb, Biz Community)

Data and Research

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Monitoring disability inclusion: Setting a baseline for South Africa (May, African Journal of Disability)

Economics and Social Protection

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Social Protection

‘People don’t understand what we go through!’: Caregiver views on South Africa’s care dependency grant. (Feb, African Journal of Disability)

Former Sassa officials jailed for disability grant fraud. “The court heard that the pair had recruited unemployed people from the area, who were not disabled, to apply for disability grants.” (Feb, News24)

Challenges of caregivers providing care to children with disabilities at non-governmental organisations in Tshwane townships. (Jul, African Journal on Disability)

The support needs of families raising children with intellectual disability. (Jun, African Journal on Disability)

Education and Childhood

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Accessibility to education for persons with disability ”Shocking statistics reveal how people living with disabilities in South Africa are denied a right to education.” (Jan, Soweto Urban)

Dire shortage of school places for autistic children “There are currently 133 children on the waiting list at Quest School for Learners with Autism, the only public specialist school in Gqeberha” (Feb, GroundUp)

Towards interventions on school dropouts for disabled learners amidst and post-COVID-19 pandemic. Calls for a “a systematic multi-stakeholder local community-based intervention approach”. (Jun)

Too many disabled children still fall through schooling gaps. Article points to a wild range of estimates of children with disabilities out of school: from 40,000 to 600,000. (Apr, Mail and Guardian)

Inclusive education in South Africa: path dependencies and emergences. “Addressing barriers to inclusive education seems to be less about clearing successive hurdles in a steeplechase race and more about understanding the complex ecology of education systems, and the various actors and socio-cultural, historical and economic processes that constitute these systems.” (Apr, International Journal of Inclusive Education)

Higher Education

The subjective experiences of students with invisible disabilities at a historically disadvantaged university. (Jun, African Journal on Disability)

3 ways in which universities can be more inclusive to disabled individuals during an emergency.

Employment, Business and Work

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In search of a landing place for persons with disabilities: A critique of South Africa’s skills development programme. One of which is that “focusing exclusively on providing hard skills fails to account for complex challenges faced by persons with disabilities”. (Mar, Int Journal of Discrimination and the Law)

A labour lawyer argues that very little has been done to ensure that people with disabilities have employment opportunities. (Dec, IOL)

The matrix of linguistic exclusions impeding career construction for D/deaf learners: “experiences at home, school and in social contexts combined, impact negatively the process of career construction and its prospects.” (Jun, African Journal on Disability)

Inclusive development: clearing up misconceptions on disability in the workplace (Jun, Engineering News)

How education, training and development support the wellness of employees with disabilities. (Apr, African Journal of Disability)


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Non-use of healthcare services among persons with mobility impairments in Cofimvaba. Challenges includes “inaccessible roads, geographic inaccessibility, financial accessibility and indirect cost of care, having little or not many health problems, physical infrastructure difficulties within facilities, and attitudinal barriers.” (Jan, African Journal of Disability)


A review of the framework and strategy for disability and rehabilitation services (Dec, African Journal on Disability)

Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees

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A group evicts more than 200 people from a privately owned derelict building “which has been home to over 400 occupants — mostly migrants. Many are people living with disabilities and are wheelchair [users], while others are visually impaired.” (Dec, Daily Maverick)

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Thirteen years after a disabled child spent a night in a filthy cell, court slashes damages payout. (Apr, Ground Up)

Mental Health

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A retrospective study exploring how South African newspapers framed Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders over an 11-year period (2004–2014). (Oct, BMC Psychiatry)

Large mental health study finds 20-30% of students at risk (Nov, Mail and Guardian)

Policy and Rights

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Government committed to supporting people with disabilities opening remarks at the meeting of the Presidential Working Group on Disability. (Mar, SA News)

Key considerations for an inclusive framework for youth with disabilities in post-apartheid South Africa. (Nov, African Journal on Disability)

Cabinet approves Framework on Disability Rights Awareness Campaigns (May, SA News)

South African Autism community says 'government has overlooked us for long enough' (Feb, News 24)

Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights

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People with intellectual disability have a right to sexuality – but their families have concerns. (Aug, the Conversation)

Sexual abuse of children with intellectual disabilities stems from poor education, false beliefs and poor safety structures. Article gives distressing examples of violence, incest, rape and abduction. (Apr, Sunday Times)