South African Employers for Disability (SAE4D)




Who are we?

South African Employers for Disability (SAE4D) is a body constituted by employers who are committed to addressing issues confronting the integration of people with disabilities in the workplace.

We have joined together as a group to share our experiences, develop best practices, confront and tackle prejudices that act as barriers to the integration of people with disabilities in the workplace, and form a common understanding of the challenges and solutions required to fully develop the potential of people with disabilities to contribute meaningfully to society and business.

Our Mission

The SAE4D acknowledges that:

  • People with disabilities are largely an untapped sector in the labour market.
  • People with disabilities have immense potential to contribute meaningfully to our society and our businesses.
  • Such potential needs to be converted into positive action where people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to contribute and be rewarded for their inherent worth.
  • Its own role is to help guide employers create an enabling environment in which people with disabilities suffer no discrimination in the workplace and are integrated into the workforce.
  • The key to its mission is based on an open dialogue with those affected – employers, people with disabilities and those that represent them.

Our Philosophy

SAE4D is committed to cultivating a culture of inclusiveness in the workplace for South Africans living with disabilities. As employers we offer a platform in which the voices of people with disabilities is heard and where action is taken to incorporate the disabled as equal citizens in the workplace.

As the SAE4D we do this not because the Constitution and the Employment Equity Act enshrines the right of people with disabilities to equal opportunity; we do this because people with disabilities enrich the fabric of our society, our communities, our businesses and our families – we do this because as employers we believe people with disabilites have inherent worth and ability that has gone unsung for too long in the workplace.

Core Group

The operations of the SAE4D is overseen by the Core Group or executive committee comprising representatives from members of the SAE4D. The purpose of the Core Group is to manage the projects of the SAE4D, administer the funds of the SAE4D for the benefit of the organisation and to provide guidance and support to the members of the SAE4D.  

Members of the Core Group receive no remuneration for the time dedicated to the work of the group. The Core Group meets at least monthly and arranges meetings of the full board which generally take place between two and four times a year. The current chairman of the Core Group is Mr Jerry Gule (Total South Africa).
View Core Group Member Profiles





Statement of Principles: Education and Children with Disabilities

Ratified and Adopted by the SAE4D, August 2014

The education system is the bedrock of any sophisticated and developing economy. The successful integration of people with disabilities in the workplace cannot magically happen without considering whether our education system allows for the equal treatment of all children, able or not. 

It is SAE4D’s belief that our education system ignores the plight of children with disabilities and this is the single biggest hindrance to enabling the successful integration of people with disabilities both in the workplace and in society at large. 

Our education system:

  • Fails to recognise the equality of all children, able and disabled;
  • does not consider the inherent worth of children with disabilities nor their innate ability to be positive contributors to society;
  • is still a legacy of discrimination which is too easily accepted and too quickly ignored;
  • does not take into account the needs of children with disabilities;
  • fails to provide reasonable accommodation for the specific needs of children with disabilities;
  • is a manifestation of wider society’s blinkered approach to dealing with people with disabilities;
  • has failed and continues to fail children with disabilities.


The SAE4D:

  • recognises the inherent worth of all children, able or disabled;
  • calls for an inclusive education system where able and disabled learn, play and grow side by side and where reasonable accommodation is an accepted doctrine underlying the principles of equality, dignity and fairness;
  • calls on government, school boards, civil society and parents to create an enabling environment that allows for the successful integration of children with disabilities, and for the development of a policy framework that recognizes the physical and mental impediments children with disabilities have but does not see them as  insurmountable obstacles and instead as challenges which together can be overcome;
  • respects the need for special needs schools but that this should not be the default option or automatic choice for children with disabilities; special needs schools should be reserved only for those children with disabilities who, after careful medical, psychological and educational evaluation, cannot be placed in mainstream schools;
  • recognizes that the biggest disability society faces is its own mental blockages when dealing with children and people with disabilities;
  • believes that children who grow up with children with disabilities will also grow up recognizing the value, the equality and the abilities of children with disabilities and that this recognition will translate into benefits for the workplace when they are adults;
  • believes the equal and inclusive education system will create the pipeline for young adults with disabilities to enter colleges, technikons and universities which will then lead them to become positive, active and equal contributors in the workplace and in society.

Statement of Principles: Transportation challenges for people with disabilities

Ratified and Adopted by the SAE4D, August 2014

The SAE4D is committed to the creation of inclusive workplaces for people with disabilities.  All employees require access to transportation and for many South Africans this is often a logistical and financial challenge.  This is an even bigger challenge for people with disabilities when the transportation system itself either does not adequately cater for their needs or is prohibitively more expensive to use compared to what able-bodied employees face. 

Able-bodied employees can, with little thought, walk to a bus terminal or a train station or use a mini-bus taxi, or a combination of these.  How does a blind person walk a kilometre or two or more to access the transport, or a person in a wheelchair?  What if, as is so often the case, the taxi is not wheelchair friendly or will not permit a wheelchair into the vehicle or will charge double for the extra space taken?  What if there is a flight of stairs to get to the train or a step-up to get on to the train?  When a person with a disability gets dropped off using a mode of public transport how does she manage the final distance to the workplace?  Does the person with a disability have to make special transport arrangements which result in more costs than would be incurred had he used normal modes of public transport?  Are the pavements level, unobstructed with on and off-ramps on either side of the road?  Do pavements even exist?

The SAE4D believes in an integrated and inclusive public transportation system that is based on the following broad principles:

  • Access for people with disabilities to all modes of public transport: taxis, buses, trains, seacraft and airlines;
  • Pavements on both sides of the road need to be level, unobstructed, safe and with proper on and off ramps;
  • A public policy framework, and if need be legislation, to create affirmative obligations on all public transport providers to enable access to public transport for the range of disabilities which people with disabilities have;
  • The prohibition of any barrier and discrimination to using public transport and the affirmative commitment of all public transport employees to ensure access to the system;
  • The creation of access to public utilities such as restrooms at all central points or nodes of the transportation system for people with disability;
  • Consideration of how employees with disability get from the final public transportation drop-off to their final destination, whether going to and from the workplace or their homes;
  • Tax allowances for employees with disability who have to make additional arrangements at additional cost to access the public transport systems;
  • Tax allowances for employers who provide additional benefits to employees to ease their burden when accessing public transport to get to and from workplaces and their homes.  Such additional benefits may be in terms of additional compensation/stipend or other types of benefits designed to assist the employees with transportation challenges;
  • Sensitisation awareness for public transport employees so they become proficient in dealing with disability access issues.

The obliteration of obstacles (financial, logistical and physical) to accessing the public transportation system is a central tenet of ensuring people with disabilities take their rightful and equal place in society and the workplace.  The principles espoused herein have the additional benefit of assisting the aged, children and parents/carers with babies and small children.

South African Employers for Disability (SAE4D)