Global Accessibility Awareness Day: How accessible is South Africa?

John Perlman speaks to Alan Downey, executive director of Disability Info South Africa, on South Africa's accessibility issues for those living with impairments and disabilities.

FILE: Despite anti-discrimination rights for people living with disabilities in our Constitution, accessibility is still a problem in the country. Picture: stylephotographs/123rf.com

Thursday marks Global Accessibility Day, which focuses on digital access and the inclusion of people living with disabilities or impairments, estimated to be over a billion individuals across the globe. But how is South Africa doing with accessibility for this group?

Apparently, not so good.

Despite anti-discrimination rights for people living with disabilities in our Constitution, accessibility is still a problem in the country.

This does not mean that the country is doing nothing to tackle accessibility issues, but it is not where we should be.

Rights and legislations, though in place, are still not enforced in all sectors, particularly in the built environment with many buildings and spaces being constructed and designed without accessibility for all being made a priority.

Listen to the audio for more.

Places are still being built that don't meet the regulations and the standards and the correct people that specialise in the design - for example, of built environments - aren't consulted when it comes to the designing of these shopping centres or buildings... and then they are allowed to get away with it, they sign it off.

Alan Downey - Executive Director of Disability Info South Africa