Broken lifts keep state employees with disabilities out of work

2016-11-18 11:49
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Mbombela – Some government employees with disabilities who work in a Mpumalanga provincial government complex have been forced to stay away from work because the lifts in most of the buildings in the complex are broken, making accessing their workstations impossible.

An investigation revealed that of the six government buildings, only two have lifts that are in working condition.

In at least one of the buildings, which houses the office of the premier, the lifts have been out of order since August 2016.

The president of Disabled People South Africa (DPSA), who is also an employee in the Mpumalanga provincial government, Robert Masambo, confirmed that he was aware of the problems faced by employees with disabilities.

"Indeed it is a matter of grave concern particularly for disabled employees and disabled members of the public who come to the RGC (Riverside Government Complex) for assistance. Some disabled employees are unable to reach their workstations and have to go back home," said Masambo.

Masambo, an amputee, painted a bleak picture of the hardships faced by government employees with disabilities.

Frustration

"Those who come for meetings, alternative arrangements have to be made at upper ground level. It is a serious inconvenience including for those who park at basement level. Due to non-functionality of the lifts they resort to parking outside in the sun and sometimes have to endure rain while accessing their workstations," he said.

Masambo expressed his frustration on behalf of people with disabilities in general.

"As the world celebrates the international day of disabled people on the 3rd of December and South Africa celebrates disability month there is absolutely zero to celebrate."

David Nkambule, spokesperson for the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport, which is responsible for the maintenance of government buildings, said that the department was concerned about the situation.

"The department... is extremely concerned about the non-functionality of some of the lifts at RGC. It is working tirelessly to find a lasting solution.

"To this end, it has terminated a contract it had with a service provider who was contracted for maintenance of lifts at Riverside Government Complex due to poor performance," said Nkambule.

He said the department was now pinning its hopes on the manufacturer of the lifts and hoped the lifts would be operational by December 2016.

"The manufacturer has made commitment to do everything possible for the lifts to be operational by December 2016. The department regrets these developments and once more sincerely apologises for the inconvenience this is causing to employees," said Nkambule.

Read more on:    mpumalanga  |  disabilities

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