Accessible Cities - South Africa (AC - SA)
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Accessible Cities-South Africa (AC-SA) is the 3rd of the 4 pillars which fall under the DiSA Umbrella. AC-SA has been created to promote and showcase the partnerships that we have formed to help put the building blocks in place to ensure that South Africa becomes truly Accessible to all persons with disabilities.
Disability info South Africa (DiSA), supplies a “Free One - Stop Information Service” for and about persons with disabilities. DiSA was started in 2015 by Alan Downey and supplies a support service and easy access to essential information and contact details of suppliers and service providers which can assist and cater for persons with disabilities.
Having access to these services is a basic human right and is the first step towards creating an inclusive South Africa, where no person is excluded or discriminated against and everyone is aware of their rights and what services, organizations and products are available to assist them.”
As South Africa’s Premium and Free Disability Information Portal DiSA has identified an urgent need to not only Inform persons with disabilities on what services and products are available to assist them through our Information Desk, but to also Identify and log barriers to access through our Yes to Access - platform and then Address and remove these inequalities, discrimination and barriers through our Accessible Cities-South Africa (AC-SA) platform. Via our DiSA’s News Network (DNN), DiSA will Empower all persons with disabilities to live their lives to the fullest potential and then celebrate their achievements.
Current Policies & Legislation
The Covid-19 outbreak in 2020 has highlighted the major economic disparities in societies and the devastating and lasting effects that discrimination, marginalization and inequality have had and still have on the lives of many people in South Africa, especially persons with disabilities. This is despite the fact that our Constitution which was published in 1996, states:
“Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. To promote the achievement of equality, legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons or categories of persons, disadvantaged by unfair discrimination may be taken.” - The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.
Since 1996 various other policies, Acts and regulations have been written and sanctioned to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy the same rights as all South Africans. These policies, Acts and regulations include but are not limited to:
- The SANS 10400 part S which has been part of the National Building Regulations since 2011. It prescribes the basic design compliance which are applicable to all public buildings. These building and design guidelines, in conjunction with the Universal Design Principles, are meant to be applied by all architects, draftsmen and designers to provide inclusive and accessible environments for all.
- In December 2015 the country's first White Paper on the rights of person's with disabilities was approved by cabinet. It acknowledges the deficits in access to education, reproductive health and rights, services as well as health care among persons with disabilities.The vision of the WRPD is the "creation of a free and just society inclusive of all persons with disabilities as equal citizens."
Despite these policies and legislation listed above as well as various others, many persons with disabilities, still do not have access to various public buildings; accessible public transport; inclusive education; employment; entertainment or recreational environments and essential products and services, such as: equipment; medical equipment; easy access to government pensions and food parcels, thus preventing them from becoming active members of society.
Despite some improvements over the last 27 years many of these regulations and policies are still not been enforced and properly regulated, leaving many persons with disabilities and the elderly still feeling isolated from society. We at DiSA believe that the time for change is Now, we need to remove these inequalities, discrimination and barriers. Through our Accessible Cities - South Africa (AC-SA) platform, we can achieve this if we unify all persons with disabilities, the organisations that represent them, as well as the business sector at large, and demand with one Voice the need for change and an inclusive, Accessible South Africa. We say "Yes To Access, Lets Break the Shackles of our Disabilities and claim our right to be part of an equal society."
Why We Need Accessible Cities - South Africa (AC-SA)
No company or organisation is an island, we all need to work together to make the change that we so desperately need. With access to our information database of products, services and service providers, as well as our Access Warriors such as: Border-Kei Chamber of Business (BKCOB), The National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) and Inclusive Design, as well as various other friends and Members of DiSA which will be joining our AC-SA platform soon, we believe that DiSA can be the link to solidify everyone and form one chain working together to address these inequalities, discrimination and barriers, creating a level playing field, to enable us to all succeed in an Accessible South Africa - Leaving No One Behind.
Accessible environments are like puzzles, they include various different pieces, without all of these pieces, the puzzle will never be complete. In the same way, you cannot create a truly Accessible City or Working Environment without the assistance of all the various specialists working hand-in-hand towards the same goals. Through the reporting, identification and the logging of these barriers via our Yes to Access platform, DiSA not only provides a platform for anyone to report on these barriers to access or discrimination, but we will also find possible solutions and specialists that we will work together with us on our Accessible Cities - South Africa (AC-SA) platform, so that we can tick all the boxes of accessibility, making sure that the project is run and completed to the high standards that we strive for. After which we will celebrate and promote the AC-SA project via our DiSA News Network (DNN) platform, therefore inspiring and encouraging other companies to follow suit and become truly accessible.
Accessible Cities - South Africa Partnerships
DiSA is committed to form partnerships with both the Business and Disability Sectors, as well as well as Government departments, so as to be able to achieve our goal of creating "Accessible Cities in South Africa". As a member of the “Cities for All” Campaign, which DiSA is a signatory and supporter, we are committed to drive change from the ground up, to help transform South Africa and make it accessible by the year 2030. The time for talking is over, we can no longer sit on the sidelines and wait for government to enforce change.
We call on all Companies, Organisations and Government Departments to join forces with us and become "Access Warriors" to fight for change and become truly accessible.
What are Access Warriors?
An Access Warrior is someone who is committed to partner with DiSA on our Accessible Cities - South Africa platform, where we will promote them and they will work together with DiSA and other Access Warriors, to either embrace change or provide services that enable change:
- Accessible Cities - Access Warriors: Include Companies, Schools, Universities, Businesses, Government Departments and Sports or Recreational Facilities that are willing to embrace change and want to become more inclusive and accessible for all people, especially persons with disabilities.
- Access Warriors - Service Provides: Are Companies, Individuals and Organisations who can supply Services, Products and Support, to assist persons with disabilities and would like to be part of this network of passionate South African's who want to help adapt the environment, cities and human settlements that we live, work and play in and to make them accessible for all people, especially persons with disabilities.
The time is Now, by merging everyone’s time, resources, expertise and influence, we can Unlock the Shackles of disability and emerge from our comfort zones with the joyful anticipation of success.
Accessible Cities - Access Warriors
If your Company, School, University, Business, Government Department, Sports or Recreational Facility would like to join us as an Access Warrior, and stake your claim as part of Accessible Cities - South Africa, it is your duty to inform all role players and stakeholders in both the public and private domains, of the:
underlying causes of the current marginalisation and social exclusion of persons with disabilities (PWD’s) and to recognise them for their commitment and become accessible and inclusive in their Organisations, Companies, Schools, Universities, Businesses, Government Departments and Sports or Recreational Facilities.
As a representative of one of the above and as a group, you would be required to acknowledge the necessity of taking a proactive approach and to commit to the following 7 principals below, which include:
- Raising Awareness for Disability Rights.
- Initiating a Duty of Care to Respect, Value and Include Everyone.
- Achieving a certified level of Universal Accessibility.
- Identifying and contracting professional, ethical and accountable service providers in the Disability Sector.
- Taking a pragmatic approach to employing PWD’s.
- Challenging their peers and competition to equal or better their pledge to be recognised as accessible and inclusive.
- Become an Access Warrior in support of Access, Disability Rights and the Needs and Care of persons with disabilities.
Once you and your "group" that you are a representative of, has made the pledge to become "Accessible" as per the points above and you have completed our "Accessible Cities-South Africa Compact Agreement" below:
- We will set up a meeting to discuss your needs and which "Access Warrior - Service Providers " listed on this page can assist you.
- You will then need to agree to our Terms and Conditions and will be listed on our Accessible Cities - South Africa page with a link to a one-page write-up about your company.
- Once "Accessible and Compliant", you will be listed as "Accessible and Compliant" and will be recommended to those companies or individuals contacting us looking for Accessible venues or services in South Africa.
- You will be awarded your "Access Warrior" badge to be displayed on your website and email footer.
- Your advert and pages on our Accessible Cities - South Africa platform will be promoted and your Facebook adverts will be posted to our social media platforms.
By merging everyone’s time, resources, expertise, influence and passion and by working towards one goal with a plan and timeline in place, we can make the change that is needed.
Access Warrior - Service Provider
All "Access Warrior - Service Providers" are required to fill in "The Accessible Cities - South Africa" Compact Agreement below, as well as our MOU which we will send to you once you have committed to work together with DiSA and the other "Access Warrior - Service Providers" and to report on any progress with the Accessible Cities projects. To qualify as an "Access Warrior - Service Providers", you would need to be able to supply at least one of the following services listed below:
- Life Coaches and Motivational Speaker's
- Disability Insurance Specialists, Disability Tax Specialists and Financial Adviser's
- Qualified and Certified Builders
- Qualified and Certified Web Designers
- Disability Awareness Training
- Disability Inclusion Training in the Workplace/Educational Facilities
- Disability Job/Learnership Recruitment Specialists
- Suppliers of Assistive Devices and Educational Equipment for PWD's.
- Accessible Transport Suppliers
- Universal Access Consultant - Qualified and Certified
Through our network of committed qualified service providers working together on various selected projects, we will be able transform areas into fully accessible environments, which will eventually grow to become Accessible Cities where no-one is left behind and everyone can reach their full potential.
Those companies or individuals contacting us looking for a "Full Accessible" package for their business, educational facility, etc. will be introduced to various "Access Warrior - Service Providers" who will be advertised on this platform to make their services easily available. Each of these qualified service providers will form an essential piece of the puzzle, which put together precisely will make a perfect picture of accessibility.
As a member of Accessible Cities - South Africa, your services will not only be promoted on this platform, but you will also be offered various opportunities to be part of Accessible Cities projects as they develop. Through this platform, we will change lives and enhance your reputation as an Access Warrior, celebrating battles won and arming ourselves to go out and break down more barriers to access.
Accessible Cities - South Africa Compact Agreement
The "Accessible Cities - South Africa Compact Agreement" is an agreement between DiSA and other passionate companies or organisations that follow the same principals listed above that would like to join DiSA on our Accessible Cities - South Africa platform, so that they can fight for change to help build an Accessible, Inclusive South Africa.
If you would like to join us and become an Access Warrior - Service Provider, or join forces with us to fight for change and become an Accessible Cities - Access Warrior, please complete our compact form below, so that we can work together creating Accessible Cities in South Africa and beyond.
Both Access Warriors who provide products or services that enable change and those companies and organisations that embrace change and contact us to find solutions to various barriers, are listed below and currently include Cities for All, Border-Kei Chamber of Business (BKCOB), The National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) and Inclusive Design. Please read the information below to find out more about these organisations, and companies and how they are working with DiSA to Break Down Barriers, or Contact Us if you would like to be part of Accessible Cities-South Africa (AC-SA) platform and would like to find out more about the services that we can provide.
Please feel free to contact Alan Downey on: 021 761 4831 or 084 504 9176. Alternatively you can email us on: info@DiSA.org.za.
Cities for All
The “Cities for All” Campaign, driven by the Victor Pineda Foundation, World Enabled and the UN Habitat, to which DiSA is a signatory and supporter, emerged out of the need for the voices of the global disability community in local and international decision-making processes guiding urban planning and development. The “Cities for All” Network of strategic planning and engagements are directly influencing urban development processes.
“We, the signatories of the Global Compact on Inclusive and Accessible Cities, commit ourselves to reporting, on a regular basis, about steps taken and progress made in making cities and human settlements more inclusive and accessible for all people. We will do so by using existing accountability and reporting mechanisms such as foreseen in Article 34 of the UN CRPD as well as through the High-Level Political Forum as the follow-up mechanism to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” – Cities4All
BKCOB and DiSA Partnership
The Border-Kei Chamber of Business (BKCOB) founded in 1877 is the recognised “Voice of Business” in the region, working to create an enabling environment for economic activity and a platform for business to flourish. BKCOB who has their headquarters in East London/Buffalo City and offices in Queenstown counts over 700 businesses as members in good standing representing the private sector, thought leaders and academic institutions from a wide array of sectors. The driving focus of the Chamber is to represent the interests of business by identifying, developing and promoting the major issues that contribute to economic activity and growth.
At regional level, the Chamber strives to promote the socio-economic advancement of all people living and working in the Border-Kei region. It addresses issues around economic and industrial development; factory and business regulations; rates and local taxation; energy; town planning; crime; traffic and parking; regulations for informal traders; training needs; rail and air transport; freight handling; and tourist attractions.
We at DiSA are truly excited to be given the opportunity in 2021 to work with the Border-Kei Chamber of Business. Through this partnership we aim to identify barriers and inform and raise awareness in the corporate environment about disability in the workplace, so as to assist in clarifying and educating all parties involved.
Through our Accessible Cities-South Africa (AC-SA) campaign and in collaboration with BKCOB, we at DiSA believe that we have found the perfect partner with which to launch and run our pilot Accessible Cities-South Africa (AC-SA) campaign. By partnering the "Voice of Business" with "South Africa’s Premium and Free Disability Information Portal", who has taken on the baton in the race to "Accessible South Africa - 2030", we believe that we can make the changes that South Africa so desperately need. The Time Is Now - We Are Stronger Together!
NCPD and DiSA Partnership
The National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) is a cross-disability organization which represents the interests of all persons with disabilities in South Africa. NCPD is a NGO with a footprint throughout South Africa that plays a lobbying and advocacy role when it comes to the rights of persons with disabilities. "We're an umbrella body coordinating the advancement of the rights of persons with physical disabilities in accordance with the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and more. We have nine provincial Associations for Persons with Disabilities with numerous projects and branches that focus on rural development as well as social."
The National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities does advocacy work and services leading to an equitable and inclusive society. "We are affiliated to the South African Disability Alliance, as well as Rehabilitation International. Our programmes cover the whole of South Africa."
In November 2018, the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) joined Disability info South Africa (DiSA) and became an active member of DiSA by not only assisting us with various daily queries that we receive through our website, but also by supporting us financially through advertising with us in 2018 and then continuously renewing their yearly advert. 2021 is the 4th year that NCPD has supported DiSA, to assist us in supplying this free service to assist persons with disabilities. In August 2021, NCPD became one of the 1st organisations to come on board and joined our Accessible Cities - South Africa platform.
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Inclusive Design and DiSA Partnership
Inclusive Design is a company founded on the fundamentals of the South African Constitution and aims to serve as a driver of social inclusion for positive and effective change in the lives of people with diverse human needs. Our philosophy is guided by individual and shared needs of people and not that of special needs. Universal Design serves as a means in which to create and enhance the functionality of environments, services and products, for the widest range of users, recognizing diversity of the human condition. Inclusive Design as a company, recognises the importance of awareness raising and the dissemination of information on diversity and inclusion as an integral deliverable to achieve Universal Access and improving lives.
Inclusive Design serves as a mechanism to audit, review, design, create and advise on adaptations and/or enhancements for the functionality of environments, transport, technology, education, services and operations, and products for all users, to accommodate the full spectrum of human diversity. Inclusive Design specialises in providing practical, sensible advice on issues relating to Universal Access and works on the premise that environments, services and facilities that are accessible to people with disabilities are equitable in the eyes of the law, makes business sense, as well as being easier and more comfortable for all users, irrespective of their functional requirements.
In August 2020, Inclusive Design joined Disability info South Africa (DiSA) and became an active member by not only assisting us with various queries regarding Universal Access Design that we have receive through our website, but also by supporting us financially through advertising with us in 2020 and then renewing their yearly advert in August 2021. Inclusive Design also became the first company to join our Accessible Cities - South Africa platform, so that we can work together to break down barriers, creating Accessible Cities, one step at a time.
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