HotSpot News

More generous allowances for disabled learners

Budget 2006 saw the learner ship tax allowance extended for a further five years and changes made to assist employers of disabled learners. In his budget document Trevor Manuel stated, “In 2002, government introduced the learner ship tax allowance to encourage on-the job training and to enhance skills development. This allowance, set to expire in October 2006, has boosted the number of learner ships.
“In support of the extension of the National Skills Development Strategy, it is proposed that this allowance be extended to October 2011. “The maximum initial allowances will increase from R17 500 to R20 000 per year for existing employees and from R25 000 to R30 000 for new employees.

Similarly, the maximum allowance upon the completion of the learner ship will increase from R25 000 to R30 000 for agreements entered into from 1 March 2006, at an estimated cost of R80 million. “Consideration will be given to increasing the allowance for business process outsourcing. Given the additional expenses associated with employing disabled persons as learners, a more favourable allowance will be introduced effective 1 July 2006. “An employer will be allowed to deduct an initial allowance of 150% of the annual salary of an existing learner with a disability, up to a maximum of R40 000; and 175% for an unemployed learner with a disability, up to “The tax allowance for disabled persons completing a learner ship will be 175% of the employee’s annual salary, up to a maximum of R50 000.

”Employee scholarships and bursaries are tax-exempt, unless viewed as being in lieu of salary compensation. The need to draw such a distinction creates unnecessary difficulties in application. “To simplify matters, bursaries and scholarships for current and future employees will be tax-exempt as long as the employer’s funds go directly to tuition and tuition-related expenses, and the employee agrees to repay the employer if the employee fails to fulfil their scholarship or bursary obligations.” This proposal will take effect from 1 March 2007.

Dana Reeve, a true campaigner

Dana Reeve, wife of the late Christopher Reeve, died on Monday at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. She was 44. The hospital said Dana died of lung cancer, which was discovered last year, 10 months after Christopher’s death.

Dana Reeve fought for better treatments and possible cures for paralysis through the Christopher Reeve Foundation. She won international admiration for her devotion to her husband’s care and for her involvement in the Christopher Reeve Foundation, which seeks a cure for spinal cord paralysis. She succeeded her husband as chairman of the foundation and established the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Centre, an information clearinghouse. She is survived by her a son Will and two stepchildren, Matthew and Alexandra. QASA wishes to record its thanks to Dana Reeve for her friendship and tireless campaigning on behalf of disabled persons everywhere.

Give a hand to QASA

Quad Squad day will take place on 17 March 2006 and during the fund-raising month; the public will be able to contribute to this worthy cause by buying a tag with a hand from Pick ‘n Pay for R10. The concept for next years campaign is “Give a hand to the QuadPara Association of South Africa” hence buying a tag with a hand. The tag can be either be worn as a necklace, bracelet or used as a key ring.

Local is lekker

Sheer Mobility is a relatively new entrant in the market with a mission to make quality assistive devices more affordable in this country. At Sheer Mobility we are extremely conscious of the fact that to prejudice quality in order to achieve lower prices would not necessarily make the equipment more affordable, so our goal is to provide at least the same but preferably better quality at reduced prices.
To this end we are very excited to announce that we have now been awarded the sole distributorship for Southern Africa of the American Tuffcare range of products. Tuffcare, as do a number of other respected brands, have their products manufactured in the East under license and this now affords us access to a respected and wide range of products manufactured in the East with American FDA compliance. The initial range of Tuffcare products received consist of a range of manual wheelchairs from standard to featherweight, pressure care products including Gel Cushions as well as Alternating Pressure Mattress Systems, and Patient Lifters.

An example of one of our cost down achievements is our GC200 Performer Gel Cushion with four separate chambers of no memory gel and fast recovery foam with pommel and a removable and washable relax cover that minimises the effect of shear and friction which we are retailing at only R1400 including VAT. Together with the Tuffcare range we also have a range of electric wheelchairs also manufactured in the east with European CE quality accreditation ranging in price from R 11950 including VAT. Sheer Mobility operates from a central warehouse in Cape Town currently with representation in Durban, Centurion and Rustenburg, with anticipated further representation pending, and is able to distribute product to any part of the country in a short period of time. We at Sheer Mobility are passionate about our products, service and pricing and are committed to helping those with mobility limitations and their carers, and look forward to being of assistance in any way we can. Please contact us at telephone (021) 552 5563 or fax (021) 551 9931 or all hours 0829265414.

Table tennis stars shine

Two members of South Africa’s disabled table tennis team have booked their place at this year’s World Championships after winning gold in their categories at the recent Africa and Middle East Championships in Cairo.

In all, South Africa won seven medals at the championships, with two silver medals in the team events and another three individual bronze medals. Pieter du Plooy won gold in the TT6 category, the most severely disabled standing category, while Alet Moll came away as the winner of the combined TT1-3 categories, in which the players use wheelchairs. Both are now headed for Switzerland in 2006 to test their skills against the world’s best players.

The men’s team of Du Plooy, his brother Johan, Zak Khuzwayo and Dominic Madlala came within a whisker of qualifying for the World Championships after ending second to Egypt in the TT6-10 category. Their achievement was emulated by the women’s TT1-5 team of Moll and Rosabel Riese, who found Jordan too strong for them in the final.

Alison Burchell, the general manager of Disability Sport SA, says disabled table tennis is growing steadily in South Africa, with more than 300 competitors at national championships.

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