Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Call for buildings accessible to people living with disabilities

The Coordinator at the Disability Office, (Office of the President), Thomas Timmy Motingwa, has lashed out at the Ministry of Infrastructure Science and Technology for constructing infrastructure and public buildings which are inaccessible to people living with disabilities.

Speaking at the recent Construction Pitso coordinated by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Motingwa said most public buildings and government infrastructure are not accessible to people with disabilities.

“I call all the technocrats in the area to think outside the box and construct buildings and the government infrastructure which are accessible to people with disabilities,” said Motingwa.

He said the obstruction that comes with buildings and the infrastructure makes it difficult for people with disabilities to access service delivery, and should be removed. He complained of obstructions in the use of multi-floored government buildings and unfairness by many on parking lots. Motingwa said sometime security people at big malls around the city sell the wheel-chair parking lots to other people, due to a shortage of space, making life difficult for people living with disabilities.

When presenting considerations to the Construction Pitso, Motingwa said there should be signage – for example, Brailed numbers or signals being put on elevators, for blind people to have access. He recommended that the ministry should consider putting vocal traffic lights like in some countries, to assist the blind when using public roads.

Motingwa said for the blind to hold on to their dignity, pathways and pedestrian crossing should be made in a way that they may also pass the road.

Motingwa also called for urgent modifications and new regulations from the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, as according to the policy on Care for People with Disabilities (1996) also mandate the mentioned ministry to ensure that all buildings are accessible to people with disabilities.

Motingwa also commended the Ministry for the few new buildings which are not discriminative and are accessible to those living with disabilities. He said this is good as the people with disabilities will enjoy their rights.

He told the Pitso that very soon there will be the enactment of the Disability Act, which will regulate such issues as accessibility of the disabled. He said this new form of legislation will ensure that people with disability enjoy their rights.

Meanwhile, in his presentation to the Pitso, the Deputy Permanent Secretary of Project Planning Coordination, Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Ulf S├Âderstr├Âm, assured the participants that there will be a revision of building control regulations. He promised that an accessibility code will be introduced to cater for people with disabilities, including the elderly.

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