People with epilepsy (PWE) remain the most mariginalised sector of the community. The rationale is that epilepsy is an invisible psychosocial disability. The stigma attached to epilepsy and PWE has a negative impact on their socioeconomic status, psychosocial functioning and well-being. PWE are often discriminated against and isolated by the broader community in all spheres of life, for example, in schools, families and in particular, in the employment sector. Further PWE also face attitudinal barriers and limitations towards obtaining socioeconomic justice. PWE have demonstrated that they have the capacity to reach their maximum potential if they are exposed to a barrier free and non-discriminatory environment. The socioeconomic context of South Africa s history of apartheid has effectively excluded PWE from participation actively in socioeconomic activities and, as a result, there is lack of knowledge about epilepsy and other disability related issues. PWE are faced with challenges to manage their condition and to ensure that they have resources to sustain their livelihoods through engaging in economic activities.
PWE struggle to complete their education and this leads to unemployment because of lack of the necessary skills required in the open labour market. In addition, the negative attitude displayed by some employers does not contribute towards creating realistic employment opportunities for PWE to achieve their social developmental goals. Based on the above-mentioned background, the study sought to explore the socio-economic experiences of PWE employed in the open labour market in the Ekurhuleni region within the legislative framework and different work environments.
The study was conducted from a qualitative research approach. The study was applied and exploratory in nature. The phenomenological design was used for the study.
The researcher used the purposive sampling method to select the participants for the study. Ten participants participated in the study. A pilot study was conducted with two participants who were not included in the main investigation study. Data collection was done by using a semi-structured interview schedule. The researcher utilised the Creswell s spiral method of data analysis.
The findings indicated that PWE have the potential to work in the open labour market and that they have insight on their personal ability; PWE are coping, experience no frequent seizures; if they do; the seizures do not compromise their work capabilities and that PWE have the right to work in the open labour market. Most PWE have insight into their strengths and weaknesses, have the ability to deal with seizure occurrence, have knowledge about their rights as workers employed in the open labour market.
Mini Dissertation (MSW)--University of Pretoria, 2016.