THE PROTECTION OF THE RIGHT TO EMPLOYMENT OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN AFRICA: LESSONS FROM ZIMBABWE

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Author: 
Serges Djoyou Kamga
Journal Citation: 
ZRoLJ
Media Neutral Citation: 
[2017] ZRoLJ 05
Publication Date: 
28 February 2017

 

THE PROTECTION OF THE RIGHT TO EMPLOYMENT OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN AFRICA: LESSONS FROM ZIMBABWE

Serges Djoyou Kamga1

 

Introduction

Over the past few years, Zimbabwe has been portrayed as a lawless country, a place “characterised by institutional failures” where the rule of law simply does not exist2  and therefore a hopeless country especially for the most vulnerable such as persons with disabilities (PWDs). However, on 1 March 2016, the High Court of Bulawayo rendered an important judgement in the Zimbabwe National League of the Blind v Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) and Ors3 case. This judgement dealt with the right of employment of persons who are visually impaired and is important for it sets a direction on the protection of the right to employment for PWDs.

The aim of this paper is to unpack this decision and examine how the right to employment of PWDs should be protected under international human rights law. To this end, the article will deconstruct the concept of equality, non-discrimination, and reasonable accommodation, which are keys in securing the inclusion of PWDs in society in general and at the work place in particular. In understanding the implications of this decision, the article relies on local and foreign jurisprudence on equality, non-discrimination and reasonable accommodation and their significance in securing the right to employment for PWDs.

The article is divided into five parts including this introduction. The second part will present the international and African regional regimes of the right to employment of PWDs. The third part presents the facts and decision of the Court; the fourth part of the article will analyse this decision in line with international human rights standards related to the rights of persons with disabilities and the final part will provide concluding remarks.

 

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1 Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, UNISA email: dkamgsa@unisa.ac.za

2  Arthur Gwagwa “Zimbabwe, Human Rights, Rule of Law & Democracy 2013”, Report of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum, 2013, page omitted.

3  Zimbabwe National League of the Blind v Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) and Others, High Court of Zimbabwe, Case no 1326/15.