Statistician General Pali Lehohla releases GHS 2013 results at Tshedimosetso House in Pretoria, Wednesday, 18 June 2014. Picture: GCIS/SAPA

Pretoria - The mining industry could play a role in the high levels of disability in the Free State, Northern Cape, North West, and Eastern Cape, statistician general Pali Lehohla said on Tuesday.

“In fact it is these provinces, Free State, Northern Cape, and North West that dominate in terms of disability,” Lehohla said, presenting Statistics SA's 'Profile of persons with disabilities in South Africa report' in Pretoria.

“Of course, here is the Eastern Cape. You could in that regard think about the mining industry in South Africa.”

Lehohla referred to these provinces as “sending regions” as they contributed significant numbers of people to the mining labour force.

“We will not know what is happening in Lesotho and Mozambique in terms of disability, but there is a storyline being built around disability in relation to the mining industry and sending areas,” he said.

Earlier, Lehohla said 7.5 percent of South Africa's population, representing 2.9 million people, reported having a disability. The findings were based on data from the 2011 census.

The Free State and Northern Cape had the highest proportion of disabled people, at 11.1 percent and 11 percent respectively.

This was followed by the North West (10 percent), Eastern Cape (9.6 percent), KwaZulu-Natal (8.4 percent), Mpumalanga (seven percent), and Limpopo (6.9 percent).

The Western Cape (5.4 percent) and Gauteng (5.3 percent) had the lowest proportion of disabled people.

Across population groups, 7.8 percent of blacks, 6.2 percent coloured and Indian/Asian people, 6.5 percent whites, and 5.6 percent of those classified as “other” reported having a disability.

Nationally, 9.3 percent of people reported having a mild seeing disability and 1.7 percent a severe seeing disability.

According to the report, 2.9 percent of South Africans reported having a mild hearing problem and 0.7 percent a severe hearing problem.

A total of 1.1 percent of people reported having a mild communication disability, while 0.4 percent said they had severe communication problems.

Sapa