#DISABILITY360 - Ms Sweetness Nsimbini Programme Manager: Transversal Programme

Access to RDP Housing by persons with disabilities
Living in an RDP house and being disabled is “hell”, complains Zingisani Mhlahlela. He is 30 years old and uses a wheelchair. He lives with his mother in an RDP area of Chris Hani in KwaNobuhle township, Uitenhage.

His RDP house is not adapted for his wheelchair and he struggles to get in and out of his home and also to use the toilet. “When nature calls, the wheelchair itself gets damaged,” he says.

Mthubanzi Mniki, spokesperson for Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, said, “The priority of housing delivery is to give houses first to disabled and elderly [people]. The houses must be suitable for their needs, accessible and closer to amenities … Due to the pressure of the backlog, people end up occupying houses that are not that suitable to their needs.”

“Every door inside the house I must access by being lifted first.”
Temba Mzantsi, the secretary of Persons with Disabilities Forum in Nelson Mandela Bay, said the municipality should implement the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (approved by cabinet on 9 December 2015), the Disability Framework for Local Government, the Integrated National Disability Strategy, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“Those are the policies they should refer their heads of department to look at when they are to deliver any services,” said Mzantsi.

Provincial Human Settlements spokesperson Phiwokuhle Soga said, “The Housing Code has provision for variation of the subsidy to allow for the enhancement to the house in order to accommodate specific disabilities, eg a ramp, rails etc.”

But Mhlahlela, who is now in his third year as a marketing student at Eastcape Midlands College, says, “The policies regarding persons in the disability sector are stated in papers, but practically, we are completely excluded.”

He says he has yet to see an RDP house adapted for disability in his area. He knows of only one house, for a blind woman in Chetty, P