SA Paralympian wins case against Durbanville Hills winery
Paralympic athlete Hendri Herbst said the Equality Court settlement between him and Durbanville Hills should be seen as a deterrent and warning to other institutions to respect the rights of people with disabilities.
“The purpose of this legal action was not to get positive results for me personally, but to address a trend of discrimination cases with guide dogs,” he said.
Swimmer Herbst visited the restaurant in 2014 after showing his girlfriend’s parents and grandmother around the city. When they arrived, the hostess allegedly told Herbst the restaurant had a policy against dogs and he and his party would have to sit outside.
After explaining that his dog was a guide dog he relied on, he was still refused entry and told to sit outside. Herbst was also told to be accompanied to the bathroom by a male in his party, as he couldn’t take his guide dog.
Stellenbosch Law Clinic, which represented Herbst, announced that in terms of the settlement agreement, which was made an order of the Equality Court on September 26, Durbanville Hills would issue a public apology in which it admits to discriminating against Herbst and take “steps to ensure that all staff employed by Durbanville Hills would take part in sensitivity training from the Guide Dog Association of South Africa”.
Durbanville Hills will further contribute R50 000 to the Guide Dogs Association “for the purpose of a media campaign to be run by it in order to raise awareness in respect of guide dogs”. Durbanville Hills will further pay an amount of R50 000 to Herbst as compensation for the incident.
Head of the Law Clinic at Stellenbosch University, Dr Theo Broodryk, said: “The steps taken by Durbanville Hills are welcomed and will assist in raising awareness of the rights of people with disabilities not to be discriminated against. The outcome of this matter should however also send a stern warning that discriminatory conduct towards vulnerable individuals such as Herbst will not be tolerated.”
Herbst said: “It is very common that people encounter discrimination. Some places get it perfectly right and see a blind person and their guide dog as a unit, as it should be. The discrimination affects your dignity.”
He said the R50 000 contribution to Guides Dogs Association was to raise awareness.@Zoey_Dano