Zolani centre in Nyanga under fire

Sudi Kapangura in front of the closed gate he claims he can no longer use at Zolani Centre.

The manager of an organisation for disabled people has criticised a Nyanga recreation hub and multi-purpose centre for not being suitably accessible to s disabled people and those who are wheelchairbound.

Sudi Kapangura, manager of Sonwabile Disabled Self Help Association, said he feels “abused and discriminated against” after he could not get suitable access for him and wheelchair-bound people at Zolani Centre from where they operate. The furious Mr Kapangura said people with disabilities are not treated fairly at the centre.

He said the movements of wheelchair users have also been restricted because of renovations being carried out at the centre. “There is a lot of renovation and they don’t consider people in wheelchairs.

“The access is limited and it affects people in general.”

However, his claims have been refuted by Zolani Centre’s facility manager, Mzonyana Mnconywa, who said he was shocked that Mr Kapangura could label the centre that way.

He said there is access on all the sides of the centre for disabled people at all sides of the centre.

According to Mr Kapangura, access to toilets at the centre is a nightmare and disadvantageous to disabled people.

He further said he believes that disabled people are quite literally shut out of the building.

He said he was recently informed that they will no longer be able to use the backside of the centre which is more accessible to him and others.

Mr Kapangura said the parking bay for disabled people is at the back. “At some point I found his car parked in my parking.

“When I asked, he could not reason with me. This has been going on for some time now. I spoke to the centre manager about this but now it is out of hand. We are tired of this abuse,” he said.

Mr Kapangura continued:“We also don’t have access to the toilet after 5pm when the IkamvaYouth Programme tutors leave and the main gate is closed. The centre manager knows this and he promised to give us the keys but it has been more than six months. I have emails that I sent to him,”charged Mr Kapangura.

But Mr Mnconywa has hit back, denying all the accusations. He said when Mr Kapangura has concerns, they sit and discuss them.

Mr Mnconywa said he tells the organisation and all those who work in the centre of any new development.

He said when he closed the back of the centre because of vandalism at the centre he told them. Mr Mnconywa further said Mr Kapangura can request the keys from the security.

“He is the only person with a problem I assume. We are using one entrance because when I got here in 2015 there was a lot of vandalism.

“I discussed this with all the tenants. Since we embarked on that (using a single entrance), we had zero vandalism. The problem was that people used the back to enter here. We had to stop that,” he said.

Mr Mnconywa extended an olive branch to Mr Kapangura and said he is welcomed to come to his office and talk this out.

“He is welcome to talk to me any time. We’re used to that. He is also welcome to request the keys from the security,” he said.