Casual Day beneficiary uproar

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IOL st digi Casual Day THE STAR People against Suits and Ties came together in support of Casual Day. Photo: Sizwe Ndingane

Johanensburg - Casual Day, which is on Friday and raises money for organisations that support the physically and mentally challenged, is embroiled in a political spat.

The Casual Day movement sells stickers that allow the owners to wear casual clothes to work in support of the disability sector.

But Disabled People South Africa (DPSA) had to be removed from being a beneficiary of the movement after they allegedly pledged their solidarity with the ANC ahead of the May elections.

The organisation has retaliated, accusing Casual Day of “disability washing” and not being “the struggle of a disabled person, by a disabled person”.

DPSA spokesman Olwethu Sipuka said: “You can’t say you are running a disability project and you are not disabled people.”

He said they had refused to take money from Casual Day this year as they disagreed with the lack of transformation in the organisation.

Therina Wentzel, national director of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in SA, which co-ordinates Casual Day, said DPSA were bitter at no longer receiving money from the event.

DPSA had received more than R6 million since 1997, she noted.

Wentzel said Casual Day staff had three disabled members of 26 permanent and casual staff.

“Before the elections, they said they would be aligned with the ANC. As much as they were previously involved in political activities, they had now publicly stated this was their aim.”

Casual Day’s sponsors would not sponsor a politically aligned event, and a clause was added to the agreements reaffirming that involved organisations were apolitical, Wentzel added.

When DPSA refused to remove a statement aligning themselves to the ANC, they were forbidden from rejoining Casual Day.

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