Disabled or not, we park unpunishedBy: TANJA BAUSE
INCONSIDERATE behaviour is making the lives of disabled people even more challenging – they can rarely find a parking spot in Windhoek.
Parking places marked with the wheelchair symbol are supposed to be exclusively for the use of disabled people, but they are routinely used by the able-bodied without penalties.
These parking places are not only closer to shop entrances but are also wider to allow easy wheelchair access. Ordinary parking spaces are too narrow for people in wheelchairs to get in and out of their cars.
To use disabled parking places legally, a person must apply to the local traffic authority, providing a doctor’s certificate as proof of disability.
Upon payment of N$50 a year, a disabled person can then get a sticker authorising them to use disabled parking places. This sticker is renewable each year.
When disabled people have to use ordinary parking spaces, they have to feed the parking meter too – in effect paying twice for parking.
Those who park in restricted parking places illegally can incur a fine of N$150, but the law does not seem to be enforced in this regard. Even Police and Traffic Police cars have been seen parked illegally in disabled parking spots in Windhoek.
At the Game shopping centre in Windhoek yesterday, many people parked in the disabled parking bays, including an NDF vehicle and branded company cars belonging to JB Cooling & Refrigeration and Aircondition & Pure Water.
A car belonging to Namibia Wildlife Resorts also pulled into one of these bays, but the driver changed his mind when he saw that he was being photographed and instead chose a place a few metres further.
“That is really disgusting, they can all walk and are just too lazy, they should all be tied to a wheelchair for a day just to see what it is like not being able to walk,” said one passer-by.