An Investigation into the employment of persons with disability (PWD) in the KwaZulu Natal (KZN) construction industry.
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South Africa has a history of oppression and the legacy of the apartheid regime still sounds on today in the form of discrimination. The movement away from this image has been embarked upon since reaching change in 1994 when apartheid was overturned.The implementation of equity policies in South Africa have been inhibited by negative issues surrounding employing Persons with Disabilities (PWD). Despite the current skills shortage in the KwaZulu Natal (KZN) construction industry, adequestly skilled PWD are still overlooked and underreprested. This dissertation aimed to examine the attitudes, perceptions and knowledge of potential employers, labourers and PWD as well as the implementation of equity policies in the KZN construction industry to determine why PWD were so underrepresented, through the quantitative survey of 50 construction firms, 30 Labourers and 25 job-seeking PWD who were purposively selected from a defined database. The close-ended questionnaire was used as the surveying instrument. There was a 70% response rate. The data were analysed with the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 24. Even though government legislature was in place regarding equity policies, it was revealed there was still difficult to apply these policies and despite PWD being suitably qualified to perform certain functions on site, they were not being considered. Reasons opined included the negative attitudes of potential employers regarding PWD, lack of knowledge of potential employers regarding employment of PWD, physical barriers to the participation by PWD and unwillingness to actively accommodate PWD. There was a general concensus that given the opportunity, adequetly skilled PWD could potentially play a positive role in alleviating the skills shortage in the KZN construction industry. For this to happen, there needs to be greater awareness by potential employing contractor‘s about the capabilities of PWD, the actual cost of reasonable accomodation in the execution of on-site fuctions and the implementation of more effective company-compliance management at a provincial level.