Master’s Research Unpacks Needs of Differently Abled Employees
Research by Master’s in Public Administration graduate, Mr Jerome Thokozani Mkhize, concentrated on the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the national issue of addressing the needs of differently abled employees.
The research was titled: The Assessment of Organisational Inclusion in the Employment of Differently Abled People (DAP) – A Case Study of the South African Social Security Agency in KwaZulu Natal.
The study, supervised by Professor Fayth Ruffin and Dr Sybert Mutereko examines how DAP are accommodated in the economic mainstream.
‘The important finding from this study was that SASSA in KwaZulu-Natal has policies in place but indications are that not all disabled employees are aware of or understand them,’ said Mkhize. ‘Some departments are not explicit when providing annual employment equity reports regarding DAP and I wanted to find out why.’
As a former manager at KwaMashu’s SASSA local office, Mkhize has first-hand experience of the challenges faced by ‘differently abled’ employees and their families.
‘I was appointed as the eThekwini Metro North Central sub-regional Chairperson for Operation Sukuma Sakhe between 2007 and 2011 and that project exposed me further to the challenges experienced by differently abled people and their families,’ said Mkhize.
The study was presented at the UKZN’s 5th Business Management Conference in 2018 and Mkhize and his supervisors are now working on developing it into journal articles.
‘Mkhize excelled in this study,’ said Ruffin. ‘He took full ownership of his research in an innovative manner. Both examiners indicated that the dissertation should be accepted without revisions or corrections, which is very exciting. For him, his dissertation research involved more than obtaining a qualification.
‘I hope that this research will contribute towards the empowerment and employment of DAP so that they can be self-sustainable and support their families as well. I hope to establish a platform to be the voice for these people and proceed with my academic life until departments are also empowered and more is done and the issues of DAP are addressed,’ said Mkhize.
Words: Thandiwe Jumo
Photograph: Rogan Ward