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Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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PWDs on accessing Gweru Council buildings

Blessing Nduku

More than 80% of people living with disabilities (PWDs) cannot access City of Gweru buildings because the structures are not disability friendly The Sun has learnt.

The revelation came to light during the (Jan-March 2024) 1st Quarter Budget review meeting which was held recently at the Mayor’s Parlor.

Speaking to this reporter, the Executive Director at Lets Make a Difference Disability Zimbabwe, Nigel Tahwa said that they are being left out of to actively participate as equal stakeholders as the venue is not inclusive.

“All the stakeholders in Gweru are called to attend the quarter review which is being held at the Mayor’s Parlor but the barrier right now for PWDS is that we cannot access the environment this simply means that we are not invited at all because of the environment.”

“It is not all PWDs that cannot access the council buildings but it is also the elderly as well as the able-bodied because there are no elevators to go to the Mayor’s Parlor.”

Elevators at townhouses ceased to function decades ago, a situation that has seen PWDs failing to access offices above the ground floor.

PWDs have expressed concern over the lack of disability friendly structures at the local authority.

Senator for PWDs Annah Shiri said it should be a prerequisite for organizations to ensure that buildings have disability-friendly facilities.

“As the disability community, we expect that at every infrastructure there are disability friendly facilities.”

According to the city of Gweru 2024 annual business plan, there is a need to ensure PWDs have access to council offices in residential areas.

“In terms of accessibility of council buildings and infrastructure 80% of the disabled cannot access council buildings,” the report read.

Other suburbs do not have council offices closer to them (PWDs) to pay bills and get other services.

The government has since established a disability policy framework to ensure that the concerns of PWDs are addressed in all sectors of the economy.

This year the Gweru City Council managed to establish a disability desk in the main revenue hall where PWDs can access some of the services

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