People with disabilities also have an opportunity to give their input on the 2023/24 Draft Budget public consultation.
Steven Makhanya – IOL
EThekwini mayor, councillor Mxolisi Kaunda, remarked when he outlined various tangible steps that the municipality would take steps to address challenges faced by people living with disabilities, during a meeting held at the Durban Exhibition Centre.
The council said it planned to implement the following commitments by June:
- A dedicated desk for persons with disabilities in all municipal departments, including banking halls (Sizakala Centres).
- In wards where there are no persons with disabilities elected to ward committees, they will be elected by the end of June.
- Four additional buses for persons with disabilities will be delivered by the end of June.
- A total of 10% of houses in all housing development projects in the city must be allocated to persons with disabilities, including in Greenfields projects.
- A Disability Sector Council that will meet quarterly to guide the municipality on matters affecting people with disabilities will be established. Its inaugural meeting will be held in June.
Kaunda stressed that even though a lot of progress had been made to improve the lives of persons with disabilities, there was still room for improvement.
Business partners offered their support to those living with disability. Khosi Sithole from Business Support said that the business sector had put its weight behind those organisations that worked in the development of those living with disability.
“We are here to support SMMEs in disability. The office to deal with the disability issues is now available. We do give support in the disability sector according to the skills the individuals have,” Sithole said.
She added that they also engage in programmes that were going to benefit those who had disabilities. They also provide programmes to assist the disabled with issues of auditing.
Puleng Ngubane from eThekwini Municipal Academy, which trains people in different skills, said their organisation worked with different people from different walks of life. The academy worked with different government departments, which took in those who required training in their fields of study. The academy also offered artisan development opportunities to those who had technical skills.
“People with disabilities help desk helps those who live with disability. We offer what we call student relief funds, to help those who have applied for study at tertiary institutions, but do not have funding to register for their education. We also offer internships and in-service training,” Ngubane said.
“We have agricultural sector programmes, such as animal production, crop production, and also for those interested in the digital space,” Ngubane said.