File picture: Dudu Zitha / Independent Media.
Durban - Due to the escalating number of complaints from disabled motorists about their demarcated bays being used by unaccredited drivers, the KZN branch of the QuadPara Association of SA (Qasa) has established a WhatsApp whistle-blowing facility for the public to share information on transgressions.

Qasa chief executive Ari Seirlis said many complaints had been received about how members of the association struggled to find parking spaces because others drivers disregarded their special needs.

“The specialised parking bays are designated for wheelchair users. The bays are 3500mm in width, which is designed to accommodate a wheelchair on either side of a vehicle for the purposes of exiting or entry.

“Bays are positioned in specific areas not only for location but to accommodate the specified width requirements.

“We, the wheelchair users, ask that members of the public, who are not wheelchair-bound, respect our special needs and refrain from using parking bays for the disabled.”

He said Qasa did not accept excuses from people with other health challenges using their bays because they were conveniently located.

“The bays are not there to save people from walking distances. They are there for wheelchair users.

“Therefore, the association set-up the WhatsApp facility to allow people to inform Qasa about those who ignore the rights of wheelchair-users.

“To report instances where uncertified persons used wheelchair-demarcated parking bays, please take a photo of the offender’s vehicle, showing the car’s registration number, and send to 073 853 9675.

“Also include details about the location, date and time of the offence in the message, and Qasa will take up the matter,” Seirlis said. Qasa was able to assist motorists who required disabled parking accreditation, or they could also contact the metro police, he said.

Official brazenly breaks rule

A whistle-blower that the Tribune spoke to said he was surprised to see a municipal official brazenly parking in a bay for the disabled at a customer service building.

“What was even more surprising was that the security guard on duty who witnessed the official parking in a disabled person’s bay, ignored the misdemeanour. I took a picture and reported the incident to the metro police, but I don’t know whether they acted on it,” said the informant.

The eThekwini Municipality has since appealed to motorists who visit shopping malls and public service facility buildings not to use parking bays designated for wheelchair-bound motorists if they are not accredited to do so.

eThekwini spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa said the city’s transport authority was mandated to assess the need for the demarcation of parking bays for the disabled.

“We have sufficient for those who request them. An admission-of-guilt fine for illegally parking in a bay demarcated for the disabled, in terms of the National Road Traffic Act is R750, and is issued to offenders,” she said.

Sunday Tribune