April 29, 2005

South Africa Freedom Day -- Or Not?

Looks like South Africa is learning about some of the gaps in their efforts toward Inclusive Destination Development.

'No freedom for disabled'

iafrica.com
JOHANNESBURG
Tue, 26 Apr 2005

Members of the QuadPara Association of South Africa would not celebrate
freedom on Freedom Day because government was not enforcing their equal
rights,
they said on Tuesday.

National director Ari Seirlis said the disability sector made up at
least 10 percent of the population of South Africa, and enjoyed
democracy, but not the freedom that democracy entitled them to.
"There is no accessible public transport for persons with mobility
impairments, still no access to accessible sanitation, water and
housing,"
Seirlis said.

Paralysed by infrastructure

"We can't go to any Freedom Day events because we can't get there. We can't catch a bus. We can't even get there to boycott," he told Sapa.
"We are paralysed, but not by disability, by the infrastructure."
South Africa had "magnificent" legislation but "it is on paper" and the
Employment Equity Act had only created audits.

"There are no more people employed, no public transport, the government
has scrapped disability grants forcing people to reapply because there
were cheats," he added.

The R780 grant itself did not take into account the severity and the
different levels of disability.

When new housing developments were proposed nobody from the disabled
community was consulted.

A needs analysis was required as urban and rural people had different
obstacles.

Disabled people living in rural areas had no electricity for specialist
highcare medical equipment or even hot water for changing bandages.
There were no taps, toilets were inaccessible and there was no public
transport to ferry them for religious worship, socialising or
appointments.

"Although we feel democratised, our lot isn't any better. If you are
black, white or pink, if you use a wheelchair, you are no better off."

Freedom Day marks the 1994 ushering-in of South Africa's first
democratically elected government.

SAPA
E-mail: colinhastie@iafrica.com


Posted by rollingrains at April 29, 2005 04:46 PM