Reflecting on the 70 years of service

Reflecting on the 70 years of service, we at the WCCPA honour and acknowledge the exceptional contributions made by our forerunners and all those who played a role in reaching this significant milestone. This calls for a collective celebration of a special milestone that heralds a process of reflection of all our achievements and difficult moments that contributed to shaping the WCCPA to what it is today. It is certainly admirable to note the many years of support, guidance and service that the WCCPA has provided to one of the most vulnerable groups and their families in our society. Historically, the system of apartheid made little or in some instances no provision for “non -whites”.

Establishing all these centres, protective workshops and a residential facility was an attempt by the WCCPA to address the unmet need of provision for children and adults with Cerebral Palsy and multiple disabilities. Besides the need for services, systemic gaps were addressed in response to the
unequal and unjust systems that many families and their children were experiencing. The WCCPA also made provision for families to be supported in safe spaces and platforms thus ensuring that both parents and their children’s rights were addressed and upheld. Many of the centres moved on to
become fully fledged public schools for learners with special needs.

The model of “being cared for by families” was transformed to more diverse community-based models. Voices of persons with Cerebral Palsy and additional disabilities found spaces where they could be heard. Change, no matter how difficult, remained constant, and it welcomed the emergence of new generations with new trajectories and innovation. The 70 years captures the spirit of the WCCPA’s on-going commitment to establishing services for persons with CP and multiple disabilities. It brought people together and built networks of opportunities to exchange ideas, created dialogues and importantly formed meaningful relationships. Through the years, the WCCPA, gained new insights into the dynamics of development and how our roles, as an NPO were understood.

Over the years, the area of governance and its practises required ongoing review and remodelling of strategies on a range of governance issues. Promoting accountability and transparency became ever important. Many organisations including the WCCPA, faced many changes in regulatory and compliance requirements, that continue to constantly present themselves as patterns of change. 1994, symbolised the dawning of a new phase of developments and marked the beginning of a complex redress and transformation phase. With much enthusiasm and hope we embraced change and repositioned our organisation. There was a coherent approach to ensure that the Board of Management and all its structures became more representative encapsulating the motto “nothing about us without us”. Going forward, the WCCPA had to adopt new ways of delivering services that would align with the new plans that the state structures and departments rolled out. Disability was now presented as a collective as opposed to separate identities. The WCCPA became a part of
integrated disability networks and forums. Embracing a transformative process required re-orientation of past practises and values, a paradigm shift in mindset and thinking. Here, good leadership was

crucial to the process of change. Much optimism prevailed as we hoped for better opportunities in inclusive spaces that would evolve into “a better life for all”.
Participation in research projects, feasibility studies and surveys informed much evidence-based publications and further exposed the inequalities that communities experienced and the huge disparities in service models and funding.

With strong advocacy, collaboration and networking with other NGO’s it became more urgent to engage government departments and other agencies and make them understand what the need of persons with disabilities presented. Government procurement of services from the NGOs was noted as a necessary step, yet we remained sceptical since we were aware that government would place greater demands, The WCCPA was one of the role-players to action government to honour the rights of children with severe to profound intellectual disabilities.

As digital technology broadened, the WCCPA had to create different spaces and platforms to meet the fast and ever-changing demands of alternate ways of operating. The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, unfolded many uncertainties but tested our abilities to survive and sustain. These were hard times for all. It was important to ensure that staff, the families and the children and adults with disabilities were supported in ways that made a difference and eased the heightened distress, fear and multitude of emotions.

All the above-mentioned reflections cannot ignore the changes in funding trends which tended to display notable skewed patterns in distribution of funds, which inevitably impacted negatively on all our services. POPIA was not new to the NPO sector but further broadened. This forced the WCCPA to undergo a reviewing process of their information systems and place greater security measures in place.

Looking ahead at the future, we can only continue to cultivate a shared vision through mobilisation and meaningful engagement with all our stakeholders. Over the seven decades of service, our good intentions have led to our search in finding new solutions and creating opportunities. The WCCPA takes cognisance of the ever-changing experiences and context of persons with disabilities. Collectively, we continued to optimise our impact through our support and services. Fuelled by a commitment to improve people’s lives, allows us as the WCCPA to remain steadfast in our vision where all persons with Cerebral Palsy are afforded the same opportunities, possibilities, respect and dignity as promulgated in the South African Constitution.



Western Cape Cerebral Palsy Association
Standard Bank
Mowbray Branch
Account number: 071 383 484
Branch code: 024 909