Blind, deaf KZN residents urged to flag incidents after woman’s guide dog denied access to building

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Image: Guide Dogs Association South Africa

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Image: Guide Dogs Association South Africa

The KZN Blind and Deaf Society plans to ensure that disabled residents in KZN are not being discriminated against.

The KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society has called on the blind who are not allowed into buildings with their guide dogs to contact them urgently.

This comes after a blind woman was not allowed to enter the department of homes affairs building in Western Cape with her guide dog, reports Berea Mail.

Speaking about the incident, Denika Pillay, public relations officer from the KZN Blind and Deaf Society, said the attitude of the home affairs department was not only immoral, but disgusting.

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“We have learnt with great joy of the decision of the High Court in Western Cape to saying that the department was wrong in doing this. It is dreadful that in this modern day and age, government departments do not ensure that people with disabilities are catered for adequately to serve their needs. In fact, the Constitution expects them do so,” she said.

Pillay said that, as an organisation that serves the needs of all blind and deaf people in the region, the organisation was disappointed that an individual had to be subjected to such an undignified experience.

“Guide dogs serve as valuable assistants to blind people. Incidents of this kind leave one feeling disappointed and excluded from a government that is elected by the people. We appeal to all people to be aware of this, and not to be prejudiced against blind people and their guide dogs. We ask all blind people to contact us urgently if any government department in KwaZulu-Natal does not allow them into buildings with their guide dogs. We will take action immediately. We truly hope this will not be necessary,” she said.

Contact the organisation on 031 309 4991 or email: director@bdskzn.org.za.

“We need to ensure that the rights of these human beings will never again be abused,” she said.

The home affairs department in Mossel Bay was recently made to apologise to Amanda Bester for denying her guide dog, Reo, access to the building in October last year, IOL reported earlier this month.

The Guide Dog Association of South Africa celebrated the victory, adding that the treatment Bester and Reo received was discriminatory towards her disability.

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