Wheelchair Challenge Highlights Progress Towards An Inclusive City
Yesterday, 6 December 2016, Minister Anroux Marais and Cllr Anda Ntsodo, MAYCO Member for Community Services, took up a challenge to join a wheelchair bound athlete for a stroll through the City of Cape Town. Both Minister Marais and Cllr Ntsondo completed the route in wheelchairs, starting in Roeland Street and ending at Cape Town Station.
The challenge was initiated by Brandon Beack, an athlete who was left a C6/C7 quadriplegic after a tragic gymnastics accident in August 2012. Since his accident, Brandon has become an advocate for those living with disabilities, driving awareness initiatives to highlight the challenges they face.
During the stroll, Brandon pointed out the improved accessibility for those in wheelchairs, especially in Adderley Street where ramps have been increased and pathways upgraded.
After the stroll Minister Marais said, “This stroll has indeed been an eye-opening exercise, in that Brandon pointed out challenging experiences we usually take for granted, or do not consider at all. It is good to see some of the progress made in making the City more accessible. Brandon also showed us how crossing a road or navigating a side-walk with protruding tree-roots can be difficult in a wheelchair. We will be sharing our experience with the Mayor of Cape Town and the Minister of Public Works and Transport to engage on our shared commitment to the ongoing project of building a more inclusive Western Cape”.
Some of the issues Minister Marais and Cllr Ntsodo have committed to taking further include:
- Metrorail trains should incorporate ramps from the platform to the train entrance. During the stroll, it was close to impossible for the Minister and Cllr to enter the train because most trains are elevated from the platform
- Continuing the rollout of ramps, especially at busy intersections throughout the city
- Increasing the size of parking bays for the disabled where this is not already the case
We would like to thank Brandon and the Walking with Brandon Foundation for the insightful tour around the City. The Province and City remain committed to making work and recreational spaces friendly and accessible for people with disabilities.