Due to a lack of barrier free access APD, Limpopo has decided to send people for training to assist with Access scans and advice on how to make your physical environment more accessible to person with physical disabilities, blind/visually impaired people, Deaf and people experiencing hearing loss.
Barrier Free Access
The way in which the environment is developed and organized contributes; to a large extend, to the level on independence and equality that people with disabilities enjoy.
There are a number of barriers in the environment which prevent disabled people from enjoying equal opportunities with non-disabled people. For example: structural barriers in the built environment; inaccessible service points; inaccessible entrances due to security systems; poor town planning; and poor interior design.
The purpose of Section S of the National Building Regulations, and its associated Code 0400 includes regulations setting out national requirements for an accessible built environment. Although this was an important development in the equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities, these regulations have been extremely badly administrated and monitored.
Specific problem areas include:
- Planning professionals do not recognize the specific details required in providing a barrier free environment.
- Development agencies do not have clear policies on environmental access. The result is that hundreds of schools, clinics and other public buildings are presently being built with no regard for barrier free requirements.
- Standards prescribed by the National Building Regulations require review. No barrier free design norms have been incorporated in the Public Sector Briefing Document.
- Specialist expertise in the field of barrier-free access is limited in South Africa.
- Costs are often cited as the reason for the failure to provide a barrier free environment. Yet, when accessibility is incorporated in the original design, the additional cost does not generally exceed 0,2% of the overall cost of development.
The National Environmental Accessibility Programme (NEAP) was formed in 1993 by the various agencies working in the field of environmental accessibility. It is a programme of action designed to ensure a barrier-free environment – including access to information and communicating, especially for disabled people.
The police objectives are to create a barrier free society that accommodates the diversity of needs, and enables the entire population to move around the environment freely and unhindered.
Mechanisms required to ensure that policy goals are met include:
- Inter-Sectoral Collaboration
- Personnel training
- Self representation