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Disabled left in the lurch by city shopping complex

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Wheelchair-bound shoppers unable to answer the call of nature.

Physically-disabled members of the public are unable to access the public toilets at the Kim Park Shopping Complex. Picture: Soraya Crowie

PHYSICALLY-disabled members of the public have been left in the lurch when needing to respond to the call of nature at the Kim Park Shopping Complex in Kimberley.

A wheelchair-bound man indicated that he was forced to wait for the management of the complex as he could not gain access through the newly-installed turnstile system leading into the public toilets on Tuesday morning.

Goodwin Thomas said the incident was humiliating and that physically-disabled shoppers were not catered for.

“This is a disgrace. It is clear that we were not considered when the turnstile system was implemented recently. This is despite the fact that this is a busy centre,” said Thomas.

“I had to go somewhere else after the manager acknowledged that they would have to rethink the existing system, which does cater for the disabled.”

Thomas expressed his disappointment in finding that there were still areas in the city where disabled people were not catered for and where they were not taken into consideration when plans or renovations were made.

“Why were the needs of the physically disabled not considered in the first place? These are supposed to be public toilets.

“All they are interested in is that they collect their R2.

“Who knows how many disabled people were forced to make alternative arrangements.”

“This thing needs to be addressed and if we don’t talk no one else will talk on our behalf,” he added.

Thomas did point out that while the disabled have not been catered for at the public toilets, they have been catered for in the centre’s parking lot.

“The toilets should be closed to everyone until the disabled have been accommodated as well.”

The centre manager, Cindy Vermeulen, apologised for the inconvenience on Tuesday and said they were in the process of drawing up a plan to amend the system to cater for disabled shoppers.

“We do understand the inconvenience suffered in this regard,” said Vermeulen. “As a temporary measure, we will put up signs that will direct wheelchair-bound people or those who cannot enter through the turnstile to use the Nando’s entrance.

“That is until amendments to the current system have been implemented,” Vermeulen added.