(In the Pic - President Jacob Zuma, addressing Parliament). State of the Nation Address, National Assembly, Parliament of the republic of South Africa, Cape Town. 17/06/2014, Elmond Jiyane, GCIS

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma attempted to ally fears on Tuesday night that he was not taking the plight of the disabled seriously.

He said the government would finalise the National Disability Rights Policy, which included the National Disability Rights Framework.

“The policy and the framework will guide government action to promote a more inclusive society and to promote the involvement of people with disabilities in decision-making processes,” Zuma said during his State of the Nation Address on Tuesday night.

The Disabled People of South Africa, which staged a protest ahead of Zuma’s speech, want him bring back the Department of Women, Children and People Living with Disabilities. Zuma moved disability to the Department of Social Development when he announced his new cabinet.

“Disability is not about social grants. Once you pigeonhole disability into social development you are merely saying the only thing disabled people deserve are social grants,” DPSA spokesperson Olwethu Sipuka said during a protest last week.

Zuma said the government would also work with the sector to identify key areas in which the government should fulfil South Africa’s role as signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its optional protocols.

Political Bureau