People living with disabilities in Bulawayo have said Zupco buses remain inaccessible to them at a time when the country is under lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.
As part of lockdown measures to curtail the spread of the pandemic, only Zupco buses, which are failing to meet demand, are allowed to transport the public.
Speaking during a Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) public resource management meeting Thursday, one of the participants, Bizwelihle Ncube, said accessibility of Zupco buses remained a challenge for people with disability.
“Accessibility of Zupco buses is quite a challenge for people with disabilities,” said Ncube.
“I personally use a wheelchair and I cannot really board a bus. It has become a challenge for me to access other services, even visiting a doctor, I cannot do that using the public transport. I have to hire a car to take me there.”
Speaking during at the same occasion, Thandekile Ngwenya, a legal practitioner, said rights of people living with disabilities were being overlooked during the lockdown.
“On the issue of rights of disabled persons and vulnerable groups there are some gaps because there isn’t that much of contribution and input from the public and MPs when these Statutory Instruments (SI) are being crafted,” said Ngwenya.
“There is no input from the public, from different sectors and other stakeholders. Certain issues are overlooked.”
She said there was a need to continue to lobby and advocate for vulnerable groups’ rights so they could be included and be able to access certain facilities even under lockdown.
“There should be ways to continue to lobby and advocate for a consideration in terms of those issues that have been left out,” she explained.
“Like we have seen these SIs being amended, there could be an opportunity to identify the gaps and say this is an important issue so that disabled people access certain services. They need to access health care facilities. How do they access those facilities if they only have to use Zupco for transport?