Disabled ‘suffers’

2018-11-29 06:01
Despite a disabled sign vehicles are parked at will at Gugulethu Square.

Despite a disabled sign vehicles are parked at will at Gugulethu Square.

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While special provisions are generally being made to accommodate people living with disabilities into society, various organisations for disabled people in Gugulethu are unhappy about the level of commitment to fully integrate them into society.

They are accusing the general public, some government and private facilities of discriminating against them. The organisations say they have observed with “concern” how disabled people’s rights were violated in the townships, but specifically in Gugulethu.

In an interview with the City Vision the organisations slammed Gugulethu Square and the KTC Day Hospital for completely disregarding disabled people.

They said they tried in vain to raise their concerns, and had given up.

Thozi Mciki, member of the Gugulethu Disability Development Forum (GDDF) said they have tried for more than two years to raise issues relating to disabled people and their rights, but people listen without any action.

Mciki said they have in the past organised protests to highlight their plight, but nothing has changed. At the Gugulethu Square they claimed motorists generally use bays reserved for disabled people. That is not all, they accused some of the banks operating at the mall of not taking their condition into account.

“We are suppose to be a priority, but we stand in the queues like everyone,” said Mciki. Mciki said their struggle begins in the parking lot. He said while the bays are clearly marked and reserved for disabled people, some motorists simply ignore the signs. He claimed the bays are always occupied by vehicles for able bodied people.

When City Vision visited the mall on Friday last week, only one out of about five bays was vacant. Cars without a disabled sign occupied them.

Centre manager Reginald Bunton said he could not comment on the matter, but admitted it was a problem. He said they struggled with enforcement due to associated costs.

Ernest Manhica, a patient at the Gugulethu Day Hospital, lashed out at the facility for failing to recognise the plight of disabled people. He claimed there were not facilities, such as toilet, for disabled people. “I am forced to use women’s toilet when I go there,” said Manhica. He said toilets meant for disabled worked as storages. “They keep all the cleaning material such as mops in there,” he said. He added that they stood in the same lines as able-bodied patients. “We struggle,” he said. “You can experience back sores while waiting to see the doctor.”

Manhica said their folders were in the past marked differently to other patients to ensure they were assisted speedily.

Last week, Manhica said he spent seven hours in the line to get his treatment. “I arrived late because of the rain, by then all the files had been taken away,” he said.

Bulelwa Mhlakaza from the Sivuziwe DDF said disabled people, particularly those who are deaf also struggled for help. She said the facility has no translators and that put them at risk. She said she offered to help, but it was a struggle whenever she was not available.

Bulelwa Mhlakaza from the Sivuziwe Disabled Development Forum said disabled people, particularly those who are deaf also struggled for help.

She said the facility has no translators and that put them at risk. She said she offered to help, but it was a struggle whenever she was not available.

She called for the provincial department of health to introduce measures to help the disabled.

Spokesperson for the provincial department of health Monique Johnstone dismissed claims that disabled people were not prioritised.

She said the facility has all the necessary facilities for disabled people.

However, she admitted to some challenges regarding the toilets.

“Our toilets are not meant to be used as a storage for cleaning materials, and the incident was addressed with the cleaner to remove the brooms and find a suitable place to store it, but this did not prevent patients from utilising the ablution facility,” said Johnstone.

She also said cars were allowed to drop disabled patients inside the facility.

“But due to limited parking space, we request that all drivers drop the patient next to the Trauma Unit and leave the facility to park outside if they want to wait for their patient.”

Johnstone said there were regular meetings with facility management to discuss certain challenges and find ways to improve services.

However, the disabled dismissed as untrue reports that everything worked well at the facility.

They called for an immediate change of attitude towards the disabled people.


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