Hon Chairperson, the SAHRC's report into the lack of safety and security measures in schools for children with disabilities in the North West province made damning findings against the Department of Basic Education in the North West province and its head of department, the Minister of Basic Education, the North West School for the Deaf and the member of the executive council for education, for failing to provide safe and secure schools for the advancement of the rights of school children with disabilities.
The cruel treatment of people with disabilities was correctly put by the intellectual giant, Dikgang Moseneke, in the Life Esidimeni arbitration award, as he said: The right not to be treated in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way is a self-standing right in the Constitution. It is related to the right to dignity but its reach travels further. It does not only require that people be treated in a respectful and dignified manner and in accordance with their human worth but also targets proactive and systematic acts that are not only unkind but also hateful and directed at bodily and psychological hurt and harassment.
When we ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007 we were committed to its founding provisions, in particular those in article 14, which requires states parties to take all necessary measures to ensure the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children.
Our hearts were shattered when in 2010 and 2015 respectively, two incidents, both at Christiana School for the Blind and the Hor Volkskool Potchefstroom in the North West province, claimed the lives of disabled learners. In its report, the SAHRC made the following findings against all the respondents cited in this presentation. The risk of physical abuse, particularly sexual abuse, was a consistent theme identified in the submissions by hearing participants, which highlighted the state's systematic and consistent failure to ensure that teachers and staff are checked against registers made in the Children's Act and the Sexual Offences Act as required by law, prior to being hired to work directly with some of South Africa's most vulnerable learners.
At this committee we correctly made recommendations that, for quality education to proceed ... [Inaudible.] ... special schools must be benchmarked against international standards on safety and security. However, we support the report. Thank you very much.
Declarations of vote: continued