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March 7, 2003

Legislature More User-Friendly for the Disabled

From:, Africa - 07 Mar 2003

East Cape News (Grahamstown)

March 7, 2003
Posted to the web March 7, 2003

Thozi Ka Manyisana

The standing committee for the disabled was thrilled yesterday with completion of a lift to help disabled people get around the legislature.

It was built out of the budget of R1,7 million, which was set aside to make the legislature more "user friendly" for the disabled.

The legislature has also demarcated parking bays and constructed ramps so that people in wheelchairs can get into the building.

The institution has been under attack for not catering for the disabled, especially the lack of a lift in a place with long flights of stairs.

Chairman of standing committee in youth, gender and the disabled Chris Motsilili said he was "proud and excited about the new lift.

"It was like we were dreaming when we talked about lifts and ramps as a committee,".

This was "a huge step" to show the legislature "is accessible" to all people.

Although Motsilili said he was thrilled with the completion of the lift "there is still room for improvement".

He felt that a sign language interpreter should be present at all important legislature events like the premier's annual state of province speech .

Motsilili said "all important information" in the legislature should be made accessible to the blind also.

He said what has been done by the legislature so far has "given the committee energy to achieve its goals".

During the first Eastern Cape Parliament for Disabled Persons on November 19 last year the Director of the Office on the Status of Disabled Persons, Portia Loyilane, said the disabled were entitled to the same rights as other people.

"To make the Provincial Integrated Disability Strategy practical every department should place the needs of disabled people needs in their visions and missions," she said.

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