JOHANNESBURG - Visually impaired people in South Africa are being deprived access to millions of publications due to delays in approving the Copyright Amendment Bill, rights group Blind SA has said.
Data shows that blind people have access to only about five percent of all publications globally, and to alleviate this the Marrakesh Treaty was adopted in 2013 to facilitate access to published works by the visually impaired.
Nearly six years later, over 60 countries have ratified the treaty including nine African countries, but South Africa is not among them, noted Christo de Klerk, chairman of the Braille committee at Blind SA.
"Our government’s position on this matter is that the Copyright Amendment Bill first has to be signed before the Marrakesh Treaty can be ratified," De Klerk said in a statement.
"Unfortunately, this has been delayed for years because of a continuous bickering about the bill," he added.