Original Research

Barriers to the employability of people with disabilities in the South African public service

Warren P. Charles, Liiza Gie, Rhodrick N. Musakuro
African Journal of Disability | Vol 12 | a1178 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v12i0.1178 | © 2023 Warren P. Charles, Liiza Gie, Rhodrick N. Musakuro | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 November 2022 | Published: 17 July 2023

About the author(s)

Warren P. Charles, Department of Human Resource Management, Faculty of Business and Management Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
Liiza Gie, Department of Human Resource Management, Faculty of Business and Management Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
Rhodrick N. Musakuro, Department of Human Resource Management, Faculty of Business and Management Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa

Abstract

Background: South African public sector efforts to employ people with disabilities (PWDs) in the post-apartheid have been less successful, resulting in a poor transformation record during the past 27 years (1994-2021) due to the failure to integrate PWDs into mainstream employment in government departments.

Objective: The objective of this article is to identify and highlight some of the barriers to the employability of PWDs in the South African public service.

Method: The research was framed as a case study within the transformative research paradigm. A typical department in the Western Cape provincial government was selected for the study. In-depth interviews were conducted with selected top managers within the Western Cape provincial government. Convenience sampling technique of the purposive sampling method was adopted to select targeted respondents (n = 10). Thematic analysis was employed to condense the data collected into a small number of significant themes. Atlas.ti version 7 was also used to enhance the analysis.

Results: The study found, among others, that there are conceptual, infrastructural, managerial and organisational factors affecting the employability of PWDs in mainstream public service.

Conclusion: The study concludes that barriers to the socio-economic progression of PWDs, including infrastructural and psychosocial factors, continue to prevail and cause the socio-economic marginalisation of PWDs.

Contribution: The study contributes towards efforts aimed at the inclusion of PWDs in the workplace by offering both internal and society-wide actions. Internally, successful inclusion of PWDs involves eliminating barriers, removing bureaucracy, initiating management development for disability matters, introducing appropriate talent development measures, and implementing collaborative management of PWDs. External or society-wide measures include campaigns to demystify disability and change attitudes, engage society structures, and improve societal knowledge of disability.


Keywords

disability; barriers; employment; provincial government; labour market; public service.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

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