History of the NAPCP

Individuals with cerebral palsy in South Africa were historically considered to be physically disabled, and so since its formation in 1939 have received attention from the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (formerly the National Council for the care of Cripples in South Africa).

Little was known about cerebral palsy in South Africa at that time, and in 1942 the National Council set up a special Cerebral Palsy Committee to study the incidence and difficulties experienced with cerebral palsy. This Committee brought to the notice of the Government the high incidence of cerebral palsy, and recommended to the authorities that provision be made for those individuals with cerebral palsy who required care in special institutions, and emphasised the unsuitability of treating these individuals in orthopaedic institutions or in general hospitals.

In 1948 a group of parents of children with cerebral palsy and other interested people formed the Transvaal Association for the Care of Cerebral Palsy (TACCP) in Johannesburg, and established the first centre focusing exclusively on individuals with cerebral palsy. This Centre took the form of a school and was started with 6 pupils under a speech therapist. Assistance was received from the Transvaal Education Department, which made available the premises of the Forest Town Government School. By 1950 this school was operating with an increased staff and 18 pupils.

A similar school was opened in Pretoria in 1950 by the Pretoria and Northern Transvaal Cripples Care Association, and shortly thereafter a third school for children with cerebral palsy was opened, this one in Cape Town.

In 1954 both the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa and the Transvaal Association for the Care of Cerebral Palsied felt that the time had come for the various bodies working in the field of cerebral palsy throughout the country to meet together and pool their knowledge and experience, and to co-ordinate their work. These two organisations agreed to combine their proposals and jointly convened a National Conference of all organisations, medical groups and provincial and national government departments interested in cerebral palsy. The conference was held in Johannesburg in September 1954, and adopted a number of resolutions including the following:

That the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa be approached to consider the establishment of a permanent National Committee for Cerebral Palsy, on which all bodies interested in cerebral palsy would be duly represented. It was decided to recommend that the National Council for the Physically Disabled discuss this matter with all bodies concerned with cerebral palsy in South Africa.

In terms of this resolution various meetings of interested bodies were convened by the National Council and as a result of these discussions the National Council in October 1955 agreed to the formation of a National Cerebral Palsy Division within its framework upon which representation would be accorded to all organisations working in the field of cerebral palsy. The first meeting of the Management Committee of the National Cerebral Palsy Division was held in Johannesburg in December 1955. Every voluntary organisation in South Africa that was working in this field with the exception of the Western Cape Province Cerebral Palsy Association and the United Cerebral Palsy Association became affiliated to the National Cerebral Palsy Division. Negotiations continued with these two bodies inviting their co-operation and during 1956 the Western Cape Cerebral Palsy Association affiliated to the Division, and more recently the UCPA also affiliated to the Division.

Over the years the needs of individuals with cerebral palsy and the recognition of the complex nature of the condition led to the formation of independent local (provincial) Cerebral Palsy Associations, and within the existing Associations for the Physically Disabled affiliated to the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa, of special committees to deal with issues relating to cerebral palsy. To date a total of six separate autonomous cerebral palsy associations have been established around the country, including the original TACCP.

In 1978 the National Cerebral Palsy Division revised its programme of action and adopted the following eight points:

  1.  Recognizing the urgent and imperative need for full co-operation between those bodies in South Africa working on behalf of the cerebral palsied of all races, and the importance of complete co-ordination of programmes to prevent unnecessary duplication and waste of resources, the Division pledges itself to continue to work for unity in this field. It also undertakes to seek the co-operation of the Government and Provincial Administrations in its plans and operations.
  2.  To continue to develop and extend throughout the Republic facilities for the diagnosis, treatment, training and special education and accommodation of the cerebral palsied, to assist and support projects established by local communities in furtherance of these and to encourage and assist in the formation of new Cerebral Palsy Associations and Committees.
  3. To continue and expand the programme of public education and information through the press and especially through the medium of the Cerebral Palsy Journal, the publication of brochures, leaflets, posters and instructional pamphlets, the making and distribution of films and by means of public lectures and conferences.
  4. To promote the establishment of centres for the care and treatment of those cerebral palsy cases who cannot benefit from existing training programmes and facilities.
  5.  To promote and support measures and schemes for the training of personnel concerned with all aspects of the habilitation of the cerebral palsied.
  6. To conduct surveys to establish the incidence of cerebral palsy and to assess the nature and extent of the problem in South Africa to serve as a guide in the provision of services and facilities for the cerebral palsied.
  7. To press for research investigation into the cause, prevention and management of cerebral palsy.
  8. To promote and support measures and schemes for the habilitation, care and general welfare of the adolescent and adult cerebral palsied, including vocational assessment, training and employment; social and recreational needs, permanent residential care and sheltered employment.

In 2001 The National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa and the National Cerebral Palsy Division agreed that the National Cerebral Palsy Division should be established as an autonomous organization, and that:

  1. The Division be re-formed as the National Association for Persons with Cerebral Palsy (NAPCP).
  2. A separate constitution been drawn up for the Association.
  3. Application be made for registration of the Association as a Non-profit Organisation.
  4. Whilst the NAPCP would operate as a separate independent entity, the administration of the Association’s activities remain within the national structure of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa.

A constitution was drawn up and an application for registration as a Non-profit Organisation was submitted to the Directorate of Non-profit Organisations in 2002.

The newly constituted National Association for Persons with Cerebral Palsy was registered in terms of the Non-profit Organisations Act, 1997, and a certificate of registration issued on 4 November 2002.

Strategic planning undertaken in 2003 identified the following strategic goals for the NAPCP:

  • Sustaining financial viability
  • Promote awareness and involvement
  • Improve communication
  • Lobbying government
  • Empower stakeholders and role players
  • The Strategic plan was recently reviewed

The goals of the Strategic Plan are regularly reviewed and updated. The following are the most recent updates,brought into effect on 1 October 2018:

NAPCP Strategic Plan (as at 1 Oct 2018)

  • Goal 1: Empowering NAPCP stakeholders and other cerebral palsy role players.
  • Goal 2: Promoting awareness of and involvement with persons with cerebral palsy.
  • Goal 3: Improving communication and advocacy on cp and related issues.
  • Goal 4: Facilitating and maintaining a focused and appropriate research programme on cerebral palsy and related issues.
  • Goal 5: Lobbying Government in relation to all matters dealing with legislation concerning and unduly impacting persons with cerebral palsy.
  • Goal 6: Managing the NAPCP for sustainable financial viability.
  • Goal 7: Actively pursuing an ideal demographic composition for all structures of the NAPCP and those of its affiliates.

The NAPCP currently holds an annual Cerebral Palsy Conference, hosted in rotation by the Cerebral Palsy Associations / APDs around the country.

The National Cerebral Palsy Division / NAPCP has from its inception been recognized by various Government Departments as the national organisation representing the interests of individuals with cerebral palsy, and representatives of these Departments attend these annual meetings of the Division.

The annual conferences of the NAPCP are attended by representatives of the affiliated organizations, including Associations, schools, institutions and other allied organisations from every Province of South Africa, as well as special members who include medical specialists, educationists and other professionals in the field. These meetings have become a very valuable forum where problems besetting workers and institutions are discussed and policies worked out and adopted.

The NAPCP and its affiliated Associations have been instrumental in the establishment of many schools catering for children with cerebral palsy of all populations groups. Since the establishment of the original Division in 1955 a national network of services for individuals with cerebral palsy has come into being throughout South Africa. Credit is due to the many paid and voluntary workers at regional and local level who gave unstintingly of their time and effort to provide a service to those with cerebral palsy.



2019 National Cerebral Palsy Conference

Johannesburg, 27-29 May 2019. Hosted by Forest Town School...


2018 NAPCP Roadshow

NAPCP is currently on a road show. MANCOM members are visiting in all the provinces to do a presentation on NAPCP, and get feedback from our affiliates.


Current Projects

Lotto Greenhouse Project

Schools for children with CP  ...


UN Convention Seminars

Aimed at informing learners ...



2018 NAPCP Roadshow

NAPCP is planning a road show which will take place in the second half of 2018.


Professor Faith Bischof serving on the International Affairs Committee (IAC) of the AACPDM

Professor Faith Bischof, Vice Chairman of NAPCP is currently serving on the International Affairs committee (IAC) of the AACPDM...