Persons with disabilities are defined as persons who are permanently or temporarily disabled, elderly persons as well as delivery and service personnel but should include anyone who has a “non-standard” requirement to operate in a particular environment. Persons with disabilities hence may include persons with varying degrees of blindness, deafness, mobility and physical functional limitations as well as those persons with cognitive and communication limitations and those with varying degrees of intellectual and mental disabilities.
Therefore aspects around the physical integration of people with diverse requirements is only one area of application to which Universal Access has been applied in the past and particularly through the South African National Building Regulations, (SANS 10400 Part: S (2011)) and this is the reason for the focus of UDAfrica to have a broad scope in terms of their approach to integration. UDAfrica approaches the application of Universal Access holistically and is therefore not limited by the requirements as stipulated in the respective South African National Building Regulations, but also employ international best practice regarding areas beyond that of the physical environment indicated in SANS 10400 Part: S (2011). International best practices also include areas of focus for access which are not specified in the South African National Building Regulations, such as colour contrast levels, Braille, Audio readings, ect.
The UDAfrica team use South African National Building Regulations as a minimum standard and employ international best practice in Universal Access to all areas within service delivery, built infrastructure, information dissemination and communication. In addition to the services of Universal Access audits and reviews of built infrastructure, UDAfrica also offer drawing reviews of infrastructure prior to council submission and construction, as well as the ability to offer services related to online material and information (websites), communication, systems design and processes.
Universal Design is a process which involves all aspects of planning, design and communication and is therefore best employed from a holistic approach which is integral to the nature of Universal Design.
Imperatives, which include the South African Constitution, the Integrated National Disability Strategy, the Employment Equity Act and more recently the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Discrimination Act as well as other human rights laws, have reinforced the importance of addressing the social integration of people with disabilities into all areas of society. These significant legal instruments have generated new requirements for the planning and management of all public and commercial activities as part of a much larger responsibility placed at the door of the private and public sectors. One of the consequences of this combined legal framework to promote equity, is the responsibility that now lies with the corporate governance of any private sector entity as well as with public domains to address the needs of persons with disabilities and to ensure an improved quality of the environment for all users.
The following are examples of extracts from pieces of legislation, as indicated above, which are of the most prominent with regard to Universal Design, and these three instruments, together with the SANS 10400 Part S: 2011 of the South African National Building Regulations are generally the basis for determining the level of compliance to be achieved.
|Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, No. 4 of 2000||Section 9:“no person may unfairly discriminate against any person on the ground of disability, including(a) denying or removing from any person who has a disability, any supporting or enabling facility necessary for their functioning in society;(b) [no longer valid](c) Failing to eliminate obstacles that unfairly limit or restrict persons with disabilities from enjoying equal opportunities or failing to take steps to reasonably accommodate the needs of such persons.”|
|UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [SA a signatory as of 2007]||Article 9:“1. To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia:
2. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to:
|Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act No 4 of 2000||Section 6Neither the State nor any person may unfairly discriminate against any person.Section 9Subject to section 6, no person may unfairly discriminate against any person on the ground of disability, including-a) denying or removing from any person who has a disability, any supporting or enabling facility necessary for their functioning in society;b) contravening the code of practice or regulations of the South Africa Bureau of Standards that govern environmental accessibility;c) failing to eliminate obstacles that unfairly limit or restrict persons with disabilities from enjoying equal opportunities or failing to take steps to reasonably accommodate the needs of such persons.|