The Running Commentary

SAPS neglect for disabled….

no respect

One of my roving reporters dropped me an article (pictured with this post) pertaining to the South African Police Services and their apparent disregard for the disabled.

The story centres around the fact that two parking bays reserved for the disabled were occupied by vehicles from the Douglasdale police station.  They had responded to an armed robbery at the Fourways mall earlier.

So let’s accept that in emergency situations that there may be a requirement to do something out of the ordinary, given that this deed may actually save a life. If they, for a short period of time, need to inconvenience people to help in a process, I think we can all give them that.  What should happen after this is, as soon as the situation has been normalised, they should remove their vehicles.

In this situation the scene had been stabilised for some time, in fact so much so that people were going about their normal shopping. The emergency was clearly over and what’s more there were many other parking bays available.

 The response from Balan Muthan of the Douglasdale police station, indicates something a little more worrying, I quote:

In an emergency situation, police parked in disabled bays for quicker access to the malls. He explained that police vehicles travelled at high speeds and the wider disabled bays enabled them to park easily…..

So let’s dissect this further….Police speed into the mall parking lot (hello first problem – what about the pedestrians?), then because they are unable to park their vehicles correctly they choose the wider bays reserved for disabled people? Then they hang around and continue to occupy the space after the situation has been normalised…Come now chaps this is simply ludicrous.

I accept that emergency situations may give rise to use of extraordinary means, but does this mean that they can use this term to cover any “emergency” situation. Maybe we need to food, in an emergency?

I think that life is about choices and in this situation I am of the view that the officers in question chose to continue to inconvenience others. They should have moved their vehicles out of the bays as soon as they could. This small act would have demonstrated their acknowledgment and respect of fellow South Africans while at the same time carrying out their duties.

So unfortunately the Douglasdale SAPS get the dung ball today, simply because I feel that they could have shown a huge amount of consideration in this instance.

disabledSouth AfricaSouth African Police Services

Mike • September 3, 2009

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