Gold and Progress in 2008?

I drove 2500km this holiday across KZN, Gauteng and Mpumulanga, braving the traffic and admiring our wonderful country.

Progress

QASA members delivered the “BUCKLE UP – WE DON’T WANT NEW MEMBERS” road safety campaign at seven garages along the national freeways, and we are proud to have contributed to Prevention of Spinal Cord Injury by encouraging road users to buckle up their seatbelts.

Too many people still become disabled from road accidents! Is the Department of Transport’s ARRIVE ALIVE campaign working? I don’t think so! We see billboards and adverts, BUT no education on road safety, too many un-roadworthy vehicles and pedestrians using the roads like footpaths. The ARRIVE ALIVE campaign is redundant, expensive and needs a re-think. Let’s take the Australian model and see the difference. Those injured in road accidents will see and feel the inefficiency of the Road Accident Fund (RAF) and will suffer through its incompetence. QASA and disability agencies must be stakeholders in the strategic planning of these types of campaigns and not just advisers.

Let’s not be too optimistic about seeing REAL, TANGIBLE change and action on the ground; action that will empower us to enjoy the rights we have been given by the Constitution, Bill of Rights and now the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which was recently ratified.

If I had to name three things that I would like to see achieved in the disability sector this year they would be; more wheelchair-accessible taxis and buses; the National Building Regulations amended as proposed by QASA and the NCPPDSA, and Inclusive Education in practice.

What we can be optimistic about is our Paralympians bringing home the gold this year. Good luck, and Rolling Inspiration is behind you all the way. We look forward to following your preparation and progress.

The new Disability Alliance which supersedes the SA Federal Council on Disability owes the sector action, and the Equality Act must act for us! I look forward to QASA taking on a range of transgressions and testing the worth of this Act.

The new Disability Machinery formed by the Office on the Status of Disabled Persons must show its teeth and bring Government, Business, the Disability Sector and Education Sector together and make a difference, not just a noise.

I hope on the 3rd December 2008 we can count some successes and have a real reason to celebrate the International Day of Disabled Persons. Indeed, by writing this, I have set quite a challenge for myself and others in the Movement. Let’s hope that we can match the athletes and also bring some “gold” to our constituency.

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