South Africa's World Cup: Toolkits for wheelchair-using football fans


2010 FIFA World Cup

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All wheelchair users travelling through the ACSA Terminals of O.R. Tambo International, King Shaka International and Cape Town International airports during the 2010 World Cup will be greeted with a gift of a wheelchair repair toolkit and the Rolling Inspiration magazine.


The QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA), Rolling Inspiration magazine and CE Mobility have joined forces to provide this surprise package in order to keep wheelchair users mobile during the tournament. The football fans' wheelchairs, which may not be used to the pace of life in South Africa, will probably require some small maintenance or adjustment as a result of whizzing around the country to support their favourite soccer team.


"This unique project will introduce the Association to the global world and raise international, as well as national, awareness of the plight of many South African people with disabilities," says Ari Seirlis, QASA's National Director. "We hope the toolkit will be of assistance, but most importantly, we want people to become familiar with our Association, the work that we do and the support that we can offer."


QASA is a leading disability agency supporting the needs of thousands of quadriplegics and paraplegics across South Africa. Rolling Inspiration is a glossy publication, published by Word for Word Media and owned by QASA, circulated to 5,000 people with mobility impairments. It is the only glossy disability magazine on the continent and enjoys regular input from expert columnists as well as motivational and inspirational articles. CE Mobility is a national wheelchair manufacturer and leading supplier of assistive devices.


The partnership between these three organisations has ensured that people using wheelchairs and travelling through South Africa's major international airports will be supported with a small gift to ensure their mobility, a good read for their enjoyment, and the helpful services of the ACSA, Swissport, Bidair and Menzies staff. The project has the full support of ACSA, who will assist with the distribution of these gifts in the months of June and July. QASA enjoys a good relationship with ACSA, providing training for staff who assist passengers as well as advice on the management of people with disabilities in airport facilities.


A new helpline, 0860ROLLING, has recently been launched offering information on demand to people with mobility impairments.

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I am a person with physical disability and very happy to know about these arrangements by the ACSA. Although I won't be there but I am sure who ever visits will have a tremendous experience.

Unfortunately, Scott, some of the information that you have been given is false.

I can only speak for 2 stadia - Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Stadium (in PE). Here the numbers have NOT been doubled up (indeed SADA were reprimanded for insinuating this in Parliament). In fact, the reverse has happened; we have more wheelchair spaces than FIFA (or MATCH) their ticketing agents are selling. But even with the reduced numbers there are still literally thousands of wheelchair positions available. This repeating of false allegations has serious implications. Many people will not even bother trying to attend when they read reports like this.

As for SADA providing their own access consultant "free of charge" as is claimed, this also turned out to be a lie, as they were withholding information to the LOC, until its bills had been paid!!

There may be problems at other stadia, but I am afraid that this last minute shinanigans on behalf of SADA is totally counter-productive! All the members of SADA have my details and knew I was the access consultant working for Cape Town & Nelson Mandela Stadium. If they had questions or issues, then they could have contacted me at any time (as the local Disability groups did). Bringing up issues this late in the day (even if they did have any truth in them) is too late to make any changes!! If they did these audits last year, then why not inform us of their problems last year? All any of them had to do was to pick up the phone. These wild allegations at this late in the day are irresponsible, and counter productive. Have a look at what the local organisations have done in PE, and it is a great example of what could have happened elsewhere.

This last minute meddling smacks of something else. Cape Town & Nelson Mandela stadia (at least) are amongst the very best sports stadia anywhere in the world, in terms of accessibility & inclusive design. We held a concert recently at Cape Town Stadium for 200 children from a special needs unit. Many people in the crowd were also disabled. The event was an outstanding success!!! The children were able to use the official changing rooms, and they performed against the pitch. This should have silenced the critics, but I guess they have ulterior motives.

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