Establishment of Association  Events leading up to the establishment of the Cape Cripple Care Association included the establishment of the Invalid Children’s Aid Committee, under the Society for the Protection of Child Life in Cape Town (this subsequently led to the formation of Maitland Cottage Home), the Lady Michaelis Orthopaedic Hospital, Princess Alice Orthopaedic Hospital and St. Joseph’s Home for Chronically Invalid Children.  On 25 February 1937 the Cape Cripple Care Association was established, with Dr Pieter Roux and Mrs H.C. Horwood being primarily responsible, and Mr J. Kipps as chairperson.  In the same year, Lord Nuffield donated £100 000 to South Africa “for the development of orthopaedic surgery and for the discovery and cure of crippling disabilities.”  Cape Cripple Care Association decided that the time had come to form a national body.  A conference was called in Cape Town in June 1939, the result of which was the establishment of the National Council for the Care of Cripples in South Africa.  Dr (Mrs) J.E. Conradie became its first chairperson.  At this conference, a cripples care charter was adopted.  In 1939, the trustees of Lord Nuffield’s gift recognised National Council as executive for the Nuffield Trust.


Hospital facilities and Orthopaedic Clinics The Association led a deputation to the Administrator of the Cape Province in 1941 for money for extension of Princess Alice home of recovery.  The foundation stone was finally laid in 1948 by H.R.H. Princess Alice but the hospital was only completed in the mid 1950’s.

In 1941, the need for orthopaedic clinics was discussed.  Cape Provincial Administration in 1948 eventually agreed that the Cape Hospital Board would be responsible for rural clinics.  Meanwhile, the Association was running five monthly clinics in Aspeling Street, Wynberg, Bokmakierie, Windermere and Vasco, with financial assistance from National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa.  The Provincial Administration assumed responsibility for these urban clinics in 1949.

From these early Association initiatives, the Provincial Administration now operates 15 clinics in rural areas and 42 in the Cape Metropole.

In 1963, the Paraplegic Centre (now Spinal Unit) was established at Conradie Hospital. The Association seconded a social worker on a part time basis to the Centre. The Centre now has its own team of social workers who have close liaison with Association.


Orthopaedic Nursing Service  Started with imported staff as there was no specialised training in South Africa. Mrs H.C. Horwood, Chairperson, Cape Cripple Care Association, persuaded National Council to institute a one year course in orthopaedic nursing in collaboration with the Union Department of Health and the Cape Provincial Administration in 1945.

Orthopaedic Nursing Service, now the responsibility of the Provincial Administration of the Western Cape, works in conjunction with the network of rural clinics. 15 orthopaedic now employed to operate rural clinics.


Orthopaedic Appliances and Wheelchairs  The State Department was originally responsible for supply of appliances to indigent patients. As a result of the delays in receiving appliances, the Association took over the ordering of appliances, except artificial limbs, in 1948. A special orthopaedic clerk was employed for this purpose.  Association also acquired 150 wheelchairs which were hired out at nominal rental.

In 1966, the provision of appliances was taken over by the Provincial Administration, and in 1980 Provincial hospitals assumed responsibility for their allocation.  Supply of appliances to indigent people improved. However, problems related to the selection of suitable appliances and other products led the Association to establish the Independent Living Centre in 1983.

This Centre provided information and advice about all types of available assistive devices and housed a permanent display of these devices and other products relevant to independent living. Due to financial constraints the Centre was closed in 1994.  The Centre was re-opened in 1999 as an Independent Living Service Centre on the grounds of the Conradie Hospital in Pinelands.


Establishment of Branches of Association  Apart from the services rendered in Cape Town, the Association was dependent on branch committees to provide for the needs of people with physical disabilities within their respective areas.

First  branches of the Association were established in George and Worcester in 1952. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s more branches were established in rural areas, including Mossel Bay, Heidelberg and Riversdale.  Branch committees either provide services in a specific geographic area or are registered for a specific function. Community based branches are at present located in Beaufort West, George, Heidelberg, Olifantsrivier, Oudtshoorn, Paarl, Tygerberg, West Coast and Worcester. Erstwhile branches in Riversdale and Mossel Bay were dissolved in 1964 and 1984 respectively.

Branches which operate specific services at present include Headway, Ocean View Work Group, Volcare, Tembaletu Day Centre, Knysna Workshop, Wallace Anderson Home and Robertson House.

Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus is in the process of being registered as a branch.

Several organisations now registered in their own right were initiated under the auspices of the association namely the Arthritis Foundation, Western Cape Cerebral Palsy Association, (formerly Cape Spastic Association) and Cheshire Homes.


Social Work Service  First full-time social worker appointed in 1944. By 1949 the Association had 5 social workers. By 1980, the Association and Branches employed 11 social workers.  This number has now increased to 29, with social workers located in Cape Town, Tygerberg, George, Paarl, Oudtshoorn, Beaufort West, West Coast, and Worcester.

The spread of social services led to broadening of the Association client base to include people physically disabled for reasons other than orthopaedic. In the rural areas, the branches of the Association are commonly the only body rendering service to disabled people and therefore have taken on all types of disability.


Accommodation  In 1965 the Helpmekaar Hostel for Paraplegics established at De Novo in Kraaifontein. A Cheshire home branch was established in 1967 with the first Cheshire home being opened in 1968 with four residents. This home became the responsibility of the National Foundation of Cheshire Homes established in 1970.

Since that time, the Association and branches been involved with small group homes only where people with physical disability live independently. At present, such homes are situated in Athlone, Louwville, Riversdale, Summer Greens, Milnerton and Bonteheuwel.


Sport and Recreation  The Association's response to those people with physical disability who are socially isolated has been ongoing.  The Cripple Care Clubs, later known as the Polygon Clubs, were started in 1964 and provided leisure time activities. At present, social groups operate in Guguletu, Hanover Park, Mitchells Plain, Athlone, Retreat and Lansdowne.

The Association facilitated the establishment of the Paraplegic Games.  The Association of the Western Cape (now Western Province Sports Association for the Disabled) was formed in 1963 and the Association leased ground to them in Athlone.  In 1982 the Association started a swimming club, which was operated by a group of volunteers. Many of the children involved in this club are now provided for through the special schools which they attend.

The Association administers the allocation of tickets to the Chris Burger Suite at Norwick Park, Newlands.  In 1999, an arrangement was made with the Western Province Cricket Association to distribute tickets to wheelchair users at all cricket matches held at Newlands, as well as an arrangement with Ajax Cape Town to distribute tickets for the Chris Burger Suite to all soccer matches held at Norwich Park, Newlands.


Employment  In 1968 the Association assumed responsibility for the Industrial Training Centre which had been initiated by Cape Flats Distress Association (CAFDA) in 1953, with financial support from National Council.  In 1969 permission was granted to build a hostel and Industrial Training Centre in Athlone.  This was completed and occupied in 1972. This Centre offers vocational rehabilitation for people with physical disability, the objective being placement in the open labour market.

In 1970, the need for protective employment for people with severe disabilities was recognised and the first protective workshop was opened in Beaufort West in 1970. Several more workshops were established during the 1970s and 1980s namely Guguletu (1973), Oudtshoorn (1978) and Ocean View (1981).  Additional workshops opened since 1981 are located in Paarl, Knysna, Laaiplek, Hanover Park, Hoedjiesbaai, Retreat, Brackenfell, Worcester, and Pacaltsdorp.

Aside from the formal protective workshops, various occupational groups have been initiated by the Association. These are located in Woodstock, Sea Point, Rusthof, Hout Bay, Sherwood Park, Khayelitsha and Nyanga.

For the period 1982 until 1996, a Home Industry Scheme operated, the objective being to train people with disabilities, unable to work on the open labour market, to make articles at home. These articles were then sold by volunteers at craft fairs and other outlets. As a result of economic constraints, this service was discontinued in 1996.

In 1979, the Cripple Care Products Shop opened as an outlet for goods being made by protective workshops and individual people.  Staffed by volunteers, this shop was closed in 1981, as it was felt better to sell goods at specific points in the community.  Volunteers continued selling goods at places such as craft fairs.


Education  In 1978, Astra School for children with physical disabilities started in a cottage on St Giles ground. Responsibility for the school, which was relocated to a new school building in Montana in 1987, was assumed by the Department of Education in 1991.

Tembaletu Day Centre established a school which was registered  in 1981. The branch is still the sponsoring body of the school.

In 1988, Karitas Training Centre was initiated under the auspices of West Coast branch. The centre is now the responsibility of the Department of Education.


Day Care Programmes  The dearth of services for children who are multiply handicapped led to the establishment of day care centres by the Association and branches. Since 1986 Day care centres have been established in George, Mitchells Plain, Oudtshoorn, Mbekweni, Paarl East, Mfuleni and Worcester.


Care Attendant Service  In 1983, the Association together with other organisations, ran a pilot Care Attendant Scheme. A modest scheme was established by the Association in 1986.  At present, a Co-ordinator and 9 Care Attendants assist on average 35 each month with their personal care.  The Service is based at the Independent Living Service Centre.


Barrier Free Environment  A campaign against architectural barriers was launched in the early 1970s. An Access Committee, comprised of people with disabilities, operating on a volunteer basis was established in 1978.

Successes achieved include the institution of special parking discs for disabled drivers, initially in Cape Town in 1983, and subsequently in various municipalities throughout the Province.  In some areas parking bays have been demarcated for disabled drivers.

In Cape Town area, since 1981 there has been an ongoing campaign to dip kerbs for wheelchair users.

Since 1979 wheelchair bound rugby enthusiasts have joined the spectators at Newlands. Initially an open spectator area was allocated to people in wheelchairs.

Since the institution of the National Environmental Accessibility Programme (NEAP) in 1993, the Access Committee has become the organ for fulfilling the NEAP objectives. However, without appropriate staff to assist the volunteer committee, the achievements will be minimal. This matter is at present receiving the attention of the Association.


Self-Representation by People with Disabilities  The Association promotes self-representation of people with disabilities.  Hence, apart from focusing on demand of environmental barrier, the Association offers life skills training.  Recent examples are the development of the Couples Project in 1994 and the Share Group in 1997.  Ongoing training has led to many enrolled in these groups now being peer counsellors.


Sustainability  The first audited income and expenditure account of the Association in July 1941 records income of £636,55 ,with a surplus of income over expenditure of £281,18,7.

Ongoing funding was required and Easter Seal Campaign was launched in 1944.  In addition, the Association registered under Ordinance 4 of 1919 in 1948 which enabled financial aid from Department of Social Welfare and Local Authorities.

Today the Association still relies on the Easter Stamp Campaign, State and local authorities for funds.  Income is also received through volunteer efforts of those who support Community Chest and all Association fund-raising activities, and private donations.


Presidents                1947 - 1953                Mrs H.C. Horwood

                                    1953 - 1976                Prof. C. Lewer-Allen

                                    1976 - present           Justice P. Tebbutt



Chairpersons          1937 - 1939                Mr J. Kipps

                        1939 - 1948                Mrs H. C. Horwood

                        1948 - 1958                Dr. N. Roux

                        1958 - 1975                Mr L. Bisset

                        1975 - 1978                Dr. R. Goldschmidt

                        1978 - 1980                Prof. B. Bromilow-Downing

                        1980 - 1983                Dr. A.G. Key

                        1983 - 1991                Prof. G. Dall

                        1992 - 1994                Dr. J. Crosier

                        1995 - 1996                Mr P. Collis

                        1997 - present           Mr P. Oscroft



Directors                   1940 - 1944                Miss H. Monkhouse

                                    1945                            Miss N. Salmon

                                    1946                            Miss Engels

                                    1947                            Miss M. Newlands

                                    1948 - 1950                Miss N. Coram

                                    1950 - 1953                Mrs F. Liebenberg

                                    1952 - 1955                Mrs F. von Moltke

                                    1.11.55 - 31.12.82      Mrs J. Wilson (previously Reynolds)

1.1.83 - 30.4.98          Miss S. Hurford

                                    14.4.98 - present         Mr J. Joubert