People with disabilities still face accessibility challenges in the city

2015-10-07 06:00

ACCESSIBILITY in the city is still a challenge for people with physical disabilities.

Chairman of the Msunduzi Disability Forum, Forward Mlotshwa said that since Maritzburg­

Fever published a story highlighting the accessibility challenges that people with physical disabilities face on 19 December, 2012, not much has changed.

“Freedom Square is still not accessible. There is only one accessible taxi rank in the province, and that is Matubatuba,” he said.

Mlotshwa hopes that the People with Disability Parliament will challenge the status quo and pave the way for challenges faced by the disabled to be tackled at higher levels­.

“Most of the problems we face as disabled people end up at discussion level only. By the time disability becomes part of the government’s annual performance plan there will have to be tangible results that the grievances of the disabled are being looked at.”

The People with Disability Parliament sat recently and resolutions from the parliament include social, security, governance and economic matters. Among these resolutions, the parliament wants government to provide training and mentorship for economic development to disabled people, train them to compile a database­ of disability sector entities­, give them accessibility into government buildings, include people with disabilities in municipal budget reviews, ensure self-representation in ward committees and traditional representatives, ensure that the municipal budget or the integrated development plan includes the disability programmes and ensure that the budget is spent accordingly, facilitate anti-crime awareness campaigns to focus on giving information to people with disabilities and develop a syllabus that is specifically for people with disabilities in order to cater for those who do not have matric.

“It is going to be a long process unless and until disabled people begin to be viewed as people who can do something. There are misconceptions that people with disabilities are not achievers. We need to find a way of changing attitudes because it is attitudes that is the problem,” said Mlotshwa

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