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CITY URGED TO MAKE ITS BUILDINGS ACCESSIBLE TO PERSONS WITH DISABILITY

The Brixton Multipurpose Centre’s hall was full of City of Joburg employees with and without disabilities who celebrated Casual Day on Friday, 2 September 2022.

Casual Day raises awareness on persons with disabilities and promotes their rights as citizens.

In her keynote address, Cllr Leah Knott, who is the Member of Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Corporate and Shared Services in the City of Johannesburg, said: “Under my leadership, I really hope to strengthen this campaign within the department for the remainder of multiparty government term in office. We are busy discussing and revising our policies and how we can translate them into meaningful actions.

“In terms of the City, both Metrobus and Rea Vaya bus services are making an effort to contribute towards this campaign by ensuring the buses are accessible to people with disabilities (PwD). They dedicated seats for PwD to ensure there is enough room for wheelchairs, a phenomenal achievement that we made as a City and we can do more,” said Cllr Knott.

The chairperson of GEYODI Section 79 Committee in the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Nikita Dellwaria, called for a mind shift on disabilities.

“It is necessary that each of us as leaders in our industries, our communities, our homes, encourage education on disabilities, taking the opportunity to ensure that attitudinal on disabilities will be a thing of the past and that we don’t look at disability as a physical barrier in a wheelchair alone but cast the net wider into the recruitment of PwD – we must first ensure that the net cast will bring in people with diverse disabilities, not focusing solely on physical ones such as wheelchairs,” said Cllr Dellwaria

Guest speaker Benny Palime, who is a Director of Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Department for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, spoke about inclusion on disability management and reasonable accommodation. 

He said most of the City of Johannesburg’s buildings are not PwD friendly. He called on the City leaders to remember that it is the City’s obligation to ensure that disability is properly managed and reasonable accommodation is provided to ensure full participation on equal basis. He added that PwD and the rest of the employees play a critical role in socio-economic development through a diverse workforce that is intolerant of any form of discrimination.

Daylan Mashele, a person with disability from National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities, reminded employers that a PwD has the right to have good conditions in the workplace, to live independently to equal opportunities and to participate fully in the workplace. 

“People should understand that we are like any other person, with feelings in that we can fall in love, have children and families.  All we ask from people is to embrace us as such and be considerate.  We don’t want pity or special treatment, but consideration, inclusion and accommodation, especially in the workplace,” said Mashele.

The City of Johannesburg is currently faced with a declining disability staff compliment. The number of PwDs in the City of Johannesburg’s employ with a disability is below 1%, which is from the provincial benchmark of 7%. 

“We call on Human Resource Field Officials to start promoting the City’s 2020-2023 Disability Recruitment Strategy that serves to guide recruitment and attraction of PwDs.  Secondly, we urge PwD to register themselves on the City’s Disability Database,” said Dr Hennie Labuschagne, the Acting Group Executive Director, Group Corporate and Shared Services in the City of Johannesburg.

INFO SUPPLIED.

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