EAST LONDON - The Eastern Cape was dubbed "the province of shame" on Wednesday because of the poor protection it offered to pupils with disabilities.
Lidia Pretorius, the social development chief director for the rights of people with disabilities, said at a special schools indaba that there was an eighty to 90% chance of sexual violation, abuse and neglect of pupils at special needs' schools with boarding facilities.
"In most provinces where we have a complaint it gets attention and we get feedback. In the Eastern Cape, it has gotten to the point where we have stopped referring parents to the department; we advise them to write to the MEC and the Human Rights Commission due to lack of response in the system," said Pretorius.
Special needs' schools were far from communities and many parents did not have the means to interact regularly with their disabled children, she said.
"Parents don't have means to visit and have regular contact with their children and that creates an environment for abuse. The moment the parents are very far from school, their oversight in terms of parental involvement is not there as it is at 'normal' schools where there are governing bodies," said Pretorius.