JOHANNESBURG - Human Rights Day is being celebrated around the country, but it's little consolation for the disabled community.
Disabled South Africans are still fighting a tough battle for their rights to be recognised.
South Africa has some key legislation that caters for people with disabilities.
But the reality is that these laws have not made life any easier for the disabled community.
“The simplest, most important, example that I can give to you, go to the mall, a parking bay that is reserved for people with disabilities, maybe you have been one of the violators - always there is someone who is in a hurry to drop off this box in this office, and is going to use that parking and come back...” said Dan Kekane of of the Disabled People of South Africa.
Disabled People of South Africa is an organisation run by the disabled to fight for the rights of the disabled.
They deal first hand with the issue of living in an unaccommodating society.
They feel theirs is not a social problem but one of human rights.
“Most of our problems are based on the violation of human rights.The right to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of association, even the most important, access to information is very limited for people with disabilities. And you ask yourself, when we as the disabled, are seen as a social problem, when are we going to be respected,” Kekane said.
Many people and businesses are ignoring the laws, which makes life for the disabled all the more difficult, especially for those in wheelchairs.
Previously, disability fell under the Presidency’s mandate.
In 2014, it was moved to the Department of Social Development, a move that angered disabled activists.
“Please respect our rights as disabled people, respect our space, respect our being, in total.After all you can’t wish us away, ” Kekane said.
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