Mayor donates wheelchairs to the disabled

Life will never be the same for the physically challenged Nyanga residents who were given the gift of mobility last week.

On Wednesday March 16, mayor Patricia de Lille and mayoral committee member for health, Siyabulela Mamkeli, handed over new wheelchairs to 10 disabled people at Zolani Centre, in Nyanga.

Two of the 10 wheelchairs were given to physically disabled individuals from outside the Nyanga precinct.

Ms De Lille said she donated the wheelchairs after receiving a request from Mr Mamkeli on behalf of the needy residents in Nyanga and KTC. They were identified by community worker Ntombi Hlapezulu. “As the Mayor I have many important tasks, but there is one task that I take to heart the most, I want everyone who lives in our city to feel at home. They need to feel that they belong here. People need to feel that they have the freedom to access all areas of the city. They need to feel that access is granted fairly. And we need to work towards everyone having equal access to opportunities in their city,” she said.

Ms De Lille said she believed extra care should be taken when dealing with physically challenged individuals to give them a sense of belonging.

“We know that people with disabilities face serious challenges to participate meaningfully in community activities with regard to access to public institutions and facilities as well as employment. This is something that we want to address,” she said.

Ms De Lille said services provided by local government could provide a significant change in the position of people with disabilities. She said the City had implemented initiatives to raise awareness concerning disability in order to break down the barriers and promote greater social integration of disabled people. Awareness is raised in communities through drama, to enhance the understanding of disability, the rights of people with disabilities and the importance of inclusion.

Ms De Lille said through the programme, the City has reached out to 120 schools using its disability awareness play as an educational tool.

Thozi Mciki, from Vuk’uhambe Self Help Association, commended the mayor.

He said wheelchairs were an asset to people with disabilities and that beneficiaries would now be able to move around without any trouble

“Thank you, mayor, for the gift. It is essential and a great asset to disabled people. We cannot move, we cannot socialise without having mobility. We are very delighted,” he said. However, he said more was needed to held the disabled.

Bulelwa Madikane, Democratic Alliance proportional representative councillor for wards 39 and 40, said people of Nyanga and Gugulethu were fortunate to have a mayor visiting them with gifts. She called on people to use their councillors or alert them when there were pressing issues. She said councillor were there to help people.