Disability policy in the making

The City of Johannesburg has not forgotten people with disabilities.

This according to MMC for Health and Social Development, Dr Mpho Phalatse, who revealed that a change in the policy affecting people with disabilities will soon be drafted.

“We need to streamline this service within each department so that we can address this issue more holistically,” Phalatse said.

At a recent Integrated Development Plan (IDP) meeting, residents said they still struggle to gain access to municipal buildings and centres without ramps. They pleaded with the MMC and Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba to consider these vulnerable people within the IDP.

Read: Championships for physically disabled

Magic Nkhwashu, chairperson of the Johannesburg Disability Forum, revealed that he is very frustrated with the lack of resources provided for people with disabilities.

“It is very frustrating. There was a lack of help from the previous administrations, I know the new administration is new, but it seems it is going down the same line,” said Nkhwashu.

Nkhwashu said that people with disabilities are not given the necessary recognition. He believes the forum should be placed at a level where it can oversee operations in all the City’s departments, essentially supporting Phalatse’s streamlining plan.

Phalatse said the policy is still in its review process and that public participation still needs to take place.

According to Nkhwashu, national policies are already in place, but have not been implemented. “Before policies were drafted without consulting the people concerned,” he said.

Even though Phalatse said she could not commit to timelines yet and believes every department should think around the disabled when they plan.

“We will, however, start monitoring jobs, development opportunities and enterprise opportunities given to the disabled across all departments,” she said.

Phalatse said within the 2018/19 financial year, there will hopefully be more concrete programmes that will address issues that people with disabilities have to deal with.

“I was recently faced with my own limitations when I met with people from Geyodi. We needed an interpreter before we could start the meeting and the presentation had to be printed in braille as well. People with disabilities have been excluded a lot in participating in normal things like an IDP meeting. I hope the new policy will be able to address this.”

 

Also read: Championships for physically disabled

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