2.9 million South Africans are disabled: Stats SA

09 September 2014 - 16:00 By Sapa
GO FIGURE: Statistician-general Pali Lehohla
GO FIGURE: Statistician-general Pali Lehohla
Image: Business Times

A change in definitions has meant disabled people now make up 7.5 percent of South Africa's population, from two percent in 2001, statistician general Pali Lehohla said.

"From two percent to 7.5 percent just because of definitions," Lehohla said, presenting Statistics SA's 'Profile of persons with disabilities in South Africa report' in Pretoria.

The 7.6 percent represents 2.9 million people.

"In [census] 2001, we had two percent disabled and that was comparable to census '96."

Disability is defined as loss or elimination of opportunities to take part in the life of the community equitably due to physical, sensory, psychological, developmental, learning, neurological or other impairments. These may be permanent, temporary or episodic.

The Free State and Northern Cape had the highest proportion of disabled people, at 11.1 percent and 11 percent respectively.

This was followed by the North West (10 percent), Eastern Cape (9.6 percent), KwaZulu-Natal (8.4 percent), Mpumalanga (seven percent), and Limpopo (6.9 percent).

The Western Cape (5.4 percent) and Gauteng (5.3 percent) had the lowest proportion of disabled people.

The findings were based on data from the 2011 census.