BLIND WANT TO BE heard
WHILE the world today celebrates the International Disability Day, thousands of the blind people feel that they were not given the recognition they deserve.
Yesterday the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society, South African blind Youth Organisation together with the Albinism Society South Africa marched to the city hall.
They wanted to hand over a list of grievances to eThekwini municipality mayor Obed Mlaba outside the city hall.
But Mlaba assigned his adviser John Nene to accept the memorandum on his behalf.
The memo follows an observation by the Disabled People's Movement about the "naive" attitude from the council in handling their issues.
They complained about being ignored in the allocation of houses, the discontinuing of bus travel concessions for the blind and that they must be treated the same as other disabled people.
Matthews Dumakude of the Albinism Society South Africa said they are really being disrespected by the council.
"They do not attend to any of our issues and treat us as nonentities because we are disabled," he said.
Bruce Mvundla of the South African Blind Youth Organisation shared Dumakude's sentiments, saying they are very much concerned about travel arrangement in the city.
"We faceproblems when attending school and going home due to confined travel times," he said.
"The only times we can board the Durban transport buses is confined to between 8am and 3pm.
"And we cannot travel around the city at any other time and that makes our lives difficult because we have to drop our classes to rush for transport."
They also expressed concern about the housing arrangements in the council.
They claim that the council had told them that it does not regard them as disabled people.
Wiseman Ndwandwe of the Blind and Deaf Society said they do not have access to getting low-cost houses because they have been told that according to the law blind people were not regarded as disabled.
"We want to really take this matter up and find out how true is this. We know ourselves as people living with disability," said Ndwandwe.
"And we demand that we be treated equally like other groups living with disabilities.
"We cannot accept the way the council discriminates us from other groups."
Nene said he will make sure that their message is passed on to Mlaba.
"The issue you have raised about being discriminated against will be dealt with immediately and that of the buses is already being discussed. It should be sorted out in no time," he said.