News Article

How can we make our city accessible for people living with disabilities?

Published: July 30, 2021

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The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is calling on residents to submit inputs and suggestions on how the Municipality can make the City accessible for people living with disabilities.
 
This comes after the City held a successful virtual workshop on Wednesday where a robust discussion took place to find solutions to some of the challenges that are faced by people living with disabilities in the City.
 
During the workshop NMBM Executive Mayor, Cllr Nqaba Bhanga challenged the diverse participators to work with the City in coming up with solutions on how the Municipality can improve and make the City accessible for people living with disabilities.
He said he had elevated the responsibility of Constituency Services which includes the disability sector, to his office to improve the sector.
 
"This workshop unreservedly signals our intent and commitment to understand the actions needed to strengthen our partnership with the disabled community in NMBM. This is the first of many such workshops and I’m happy to now have this forum because wherever I met up with people like Luks Matoto, they would ask me ‘what are you doing for disabled people?’. Some would say government, political parties do not have a plan or platforms to engage with the sector of the disabled.”
 
"The disability forums and special sector continue with their excellent contribution to make a difference in the quality of life of people living with disabilities. The Constitution of the Republic of SA is clear on the issue of disability, the State may not unfairly directly or indirectly discriminate against anyone including those with disabilities. Our vision as the City is that, we want to build One City with One Future,” the Mayor said.
 
He added that it was unacceptable that the City had failed to make buildings and facilities more friendly for the disabled sector and failed to meet the equity targets in recruiting people with disabilities.
"What is concerning is that all sectors of government have committed to restructure their systems and buildings to suit the needs of people with special needs, but the main culprits continue to be in government including NMBM. Our infrastructure does not reflect our commitment in addressing the challenges faced by people with special needs. If you come to our administrative buildings, we have the same problem. There is no institution including us as Council, I don’t want to make an excuse, where we allocate money to transform our institution including our buildings, sport fields and other facilities to ensure that, what the Constitution proclaims we must do is done.”
 
"There are targets in terms of equity that we are supposed to meet to address employment challenges in relation to people with disabilities and I can tell you that we are a culprit as NMB in the manner in which we attract people with disabilities to work in our departments. We don’t even exceed 1% of the targets in addressing the recruitment of people with special needs,” he said.
 
Corporate Services Mayoral Committee Member, Cllr Annette Lovemore said the City’s staffing component of people who identify as having a disabilities was sitting at 0.7% while the target was 2% which was a concern.
 
Stanford Slabbert of the Association for Persons with Disabilities (APD) in NMB said: "The workshop was a great initiative, a first of its kind and we believe we need more engagements like these with the City and other government spheres and businesses. All these sectors need input from us as there should be nothing done for the disabled without the disabled. Between 10% and 15% of the residents in the Metro are the disabled. We are talking of hearing, physically impaired and intellectually challenged and the other disability challenges including autism.”
 
"We need all our Metro departments to start considering the disabled community, when it comes to transport, pavements, RDP houses, we need to make the whole Metro more disabled friendly and that is what we welcomed about the workshop. It was giving the voice to the disabled sector, we believe we need to have a stronger voice and the Metro that has a disability desk where people can get reliable information to make their lives easier.”
 
Residents are encouraged to submit their suggestions on how the City can become more accessible to the disabled sector. They can email their submissions at alovemore@mandelametro.gov.za.

Ends.

Issued by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Communications Office.

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