Berea SAPS: DA to report lack of access for elderly and disabled to HRC

By: Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison THE DA will today write to the South African Human Rights Commission after a recent visit to Durban’s Berea SAPS exposed a lack of suitable access for the elderly and disabled – a situation which has led to police officers attending to such individuals either in their cars or on the side of the road. The oversight visit, which took place last week, revealed that there is no access route available to wheelchairs or elderly from Botanic Gardens Road. Instead, there is an extremely steep path up to the station which ends at stairs. A wheelchair ramp built some three years ago is only accessible from an unmarked narrow back road and is so poorly constructed that most wheelchairs cannot get around the corners. It is also too steep for the elderly to use it safely. It is unacceptable that this already vulnerable sector of the public must endure further hardship when trying to report a crime. The same visit also revealed numerous serious infrastructure defects at the police station. While the police have occupied the premises for some 45 years, the building itself is almost 100 years old. Some of the problems I witnessed include; – The building, constructed mostly of wood is a fire hazard due to numerous exposed electrical wires throughout due to poor maintenance – The Community Service Centre (charge office) is cramped with limited seating for the public – The wooden floor boards are seemingly infested with wood borer with police officers having to watch where they step – The holding cells have been condemned with arrested persons having to be transported to Durban Central Police Station, meaning that vehicles which should be used for patrols are now used for prisoner transport – The staff and public toilets are crumbling and in an unhygienic state while the station only has one cleaner who cannot handle the volume of work – There are no proper parking facilities for police vehicles, forcing SAPS members to use a narrow residential back road or double park on Botanic Gardens Road. This unsecured parking has resulted in many accidents and damage to police vehicles and parking fines from eThekwini Municipality – Facilities for police staff are in a very poor state with their rest area small and dirty Despite three different promises that the police station had been prioritised for renovation, nothing has happened to date. This has had a massive impact on police morale and the many dedicated and hardworking police officers at this station are increasingly unmotivated by their poor working environment and the lack of support from provincial police officials regarding these conditions. I will today write to KZN Community Safety MEC, Willies Mchunu, requesting that he look into the current maintenance programme at this police station. I will also ask what has happened to plans to build a new SAPS station – land for such a facility has already been identified – and request that he provide an update on progress made in this regard. Neither SAPS officials, nor members of the public can be expected to use the current facility any longer. [end] ##################################################################################### Scanned by MailMarshal – M86 Security’s comprehensive email content security solution. Download a free evaluation of MailMarshal at www.m86security.com #####################################################################################