Make Your Vote Count

In the run up to the 2024 election year, Ari Seirlis poses a few questions for voters to consider

Ari Seirlis
By Ari Seirlis
3 Min Read

In the run up to the 2024 election year, Ari Seirlis poses a few questions for voters to consider

Let’s look ahead. The next national election is near. I guess in May 2024. This article might seem too soon for its agenda, but it’s not. The time is now to assess. Ask yourselves a few questions.

Has the present government given you the rights that you believe, as a person with a disability, you deserve? What I mean by that is not whether the legislation is in place, but whether the implementation of the legislation, the policing of legislation and the freedom that the legislation should be giving you has happened.

Do you feel we live our lives on an equal footing? Has the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities been implemented and do you feel the benefit? Has universal design been implemented to allow you to access opportunities in all structures?

These are critical questions to ask ourselves 30 years since the new democracy. Evaluate your answer. Has the ANC done for you, as a person with a disability, what you expected? If yes, then continue to support them.

If not, then choose another party to vote for under the following criteria:

  • Do they have a person with a disability or more than one on the candidate list?
  • Have they included references to the disability rights in their manifesto?
  • Do they speak about the rights of people with disabilities when addressing public forums looking for support?
  • Have political parties formally engaged the disability sector, shown their manifesto and indicated that they understand the significance of the White Paper on the Rights of People with Disabilities?

I’ve said this before and it’s worth saying again. Is this not the right time to start a Disability Party? I personally think so. But that would need to have the support of all people with disabilities and a big wallet. That time will come, I’m sure, if we are not granted the wishes and promises made by politicians.

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Ari Seirlis is the former CEO of the QuadPara Association of South Africa and, presently, a member of the Presidential Working Group on Disability. He is a wheelchair user and disability activist.
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