We're in cul-de-sac with taxis,
By Tsabeng Nthite
The Pretoria News
Using public transport is hard enough
when you're fit and healthy but, when you're in a wheelchair, it can
become virtually impossible.
Pintias Nkuna, a paraplegic who became wheelchair-bound after he was
robbed and shot at the age of 22, said he was recently refused access to
a taxi in Mamelodi because he was disabled.
"I signalled a taxi going to town. The driver pulled over to the side of
the road and asked me who I thought I was as he has no room for disabled
people. I was stunned by his remarks. I've had several encounters with
taxi drivers, but this was the worst.
"I use taxis every day and it is a battle for me to get to and from
work. I don't need this added challenge with the transport system in my
"The taxi driver's attitude undermines the government's programme and
concerted efforts for integration and participation of persons with
disabilities in social and economic activities. I feel that my
constitutional rights have been violated."
Nkuna, 30, who is now working at Unisa's Disability Centre as an
advocacy and liaison co-ordinator, said it was one thing for the
government to implement the taxi recapitalisation programme, but another
to change the attitudes of taxi drivers. "The inaccessibility of the
public transport system is alarming.
"There has been a lot of transformation. But one sector that lags behind
is transforming the mindset of the so-called able-bodied. There is an
urgent need to eradicate stereotypes," said Nkuna.
He has filed a formal complaint with the Mamelodi Taxi Association but
has not received feedback.
This article was originally
published in the
The Pretoria News
on December 20, 2006
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