Ambassador for people with disabilities inaugurated

Councillor Dirk Swart, deputy executive mayor, Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM), left, and Dr Helena von Schilcht, executive mayor, CWDM, right, with Councillor Willem Matthys (Thys) Blom, centre, at his inauguration as the Honorary Ambassador for Persons with Disabilities.

The Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM) is committed to the inclusion and protection of people with disabilities, and on Wednesday August 2, inaugurated Councillor Willem Matthys (Thys) Blom as their Honorary Ambassador for Persons with Disabilities in Worcester, to continuously work for the empowerment of the disabled, to eliminate prejudice, social isolation and discrimination and to purposefully inform the public with relevant knowledge in this regard.

On Tuesday April 25, the CWDM council took the formal decision of the designation of Mr Blom as the honorary ambassador in the area of the CWDM, following inputs from the public after the public participation process.

According to Dr Helena von Schlicht, executive mayor of CWDM, “the council is convinced that Councillor Thys Blom can make an important contribution to promoting the issues of disabled people in the region, a contribution that will permit the disabled to lead a meaningful life with respect, equality, dignity and fairness.”

Mr Blom, native to the Cape Winelands, born in Paarl and raised in Rawsonville, was diagnosed with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy at the age of 18, and has dedicated his life to the empowerment of the disabled by being chairperson, advisor or coordinator to various organisations focused on the disabled.

Speaking about the way forward, Mr Blom said, it is important to focus on the ability and not on the disability of an individual.

“Together we will raise conversations on disability to help educate our communities, thus ensuring an ongoing growth in partnerships and ensuring a better future for all,” he said.

“This inauguration is making history in the Western Cape for human rights. The White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will now have a drive force. When it becomes legislation by 2030, the CWDM will be on par and the rest of South Africa will follow their success story.”

Enrolling an ambassador for persons with disabilities, who himself knows the extreme discomfort of not having the freedom to go where you please, CWDM as a sphere of local government believe that the district is taking the lead in this important domain.