Disabled threaten council with court

2012-11-23 00:00

PEOPLE living with disabilities have threatened to take the uMgungundlovu District Municipality to the Equality Court, saying it should improve conditions at clinics in the various local municipalities.

Speaking yesterday at the two-day Persons with Disabilities 2012 summit, Bongi Zuma of non-profit organisation Create, said they had been fighting with the district health department to employ community rehabilitation facilitators at the Mpendle, Mkhambathini and uMshwathi municipalities for three years.

She said the facilitators played an important role in counselling people with disabilities.

“The situation is dire and if the district health department is not responding positively to our concerns by the second week of January, then we will be forced to take the matter to the Equality Court.

“In terms of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, services must be brought closer to the communities,” she added.

The summit, aimed at implementing the convention in the district, also heard that people with disabilities were ill-treated by nurses at the district clinics.

A disabled man in the audience, who also suffered from HIV/Aids, said: “We are denied [Aids] treatment because we are disabled. People think that we don’t have sex because we are disabled,” he said.

The district health department senior manager, Nomndeni Zimu, said people should use the comments boxes found at clinics to lodge complaints.

If that does not work, then they should approach the district health department.

Zimu said nurses’ attitudes could only be changed if people reported abuse to the relevant structures.

Asked if they were aware of the clinic or hospital committees at the facilities they used, and if they were members, the entire hall unanimously said “no”.

“I encourage you to become members of such committees, because you will have someone championing the needs of the disabled people,” said Zimu.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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