Report of the CIB Expert Seminar on Building Non-Handicapping Environments,
Access legislation in Lesotho and the involvement of the Lesotho National
Federation of Organizations of the Disabled (LNFOD) in legislation and policy
Cecilia M. Sehlabaka, Lesotho National Federation of Organizations of the
Meaning of access
Access has a very broad meaning. For our present purposes
let us consider this one: a free mobility in a non-handicapping physical
environment. The areas of accessibility to be discussed are buildings, roads
and transportation in Lesotho.
Is Lesotho accessible?
In Lesotho access is for the benefit of non-disabled
people, hence Lesotho is not accessible in regard to buildings. Although
there are some public buildings with elevators, this does not mean that
disabled people were in the builder's mind because you will find that the
way to and from the elevator is not accessible at all. With roads and transport
it is a disaster because they are the things we use most. There are no walkways
and drivers are always too much in a hurry.
The reasons I am going to give are not my personal
point of view. I have received a number of reasons from different people,
some of whom were not aware that I am going say them. The main and foremost
reason is unawareness which is a result of various factors. When these buildings
and roads were made, the number of disabled people was low, and since suitable
methods of mobility were not available, they were kept at home or physically
carried to their requested destination. The appropriate facilities were
not available as is the case at the moment in our International Airport.
They also claim that the facilities are expensive, and that they cannot
do such things for few people. Sometimes you will find reasons like: 'The
ideas falls behind our minds' or 'We seem to ignore the fact'.
Access is for the non-disabled people in Lesotho.
For instance, in the "1969 Road Acts", nothing on disability is
found. The only piece of legislation not yet gazetted is the "Building
Control Order and Regulations 1989", which has relevant access provisions.
Building Control Order and Regulations 1999 - Order:
To provide for the promotion of uniformity in the law relating the erection
of buildings in Lesotho for the prescribed building standards; and for matters
Part III - Powers of the Minister:
Building Regulations 15. (1). The minister may, by. notice in The Gazette,
make building regulations which must include any or all of the following
(u). Regarding the safety, health and convenience of occupiers or users
of buildings or of persons otherwise present in buildings or having access
thereto, hence the compulsory installation or supplying of equipment, installation
or services in connection therein;
The government of Lesotho building regulations introduction
Section G. 3. 0: Facilities for Disabled
G. 3. 1: As far as practicable,
facilities for disabled persons shall be included in the design and construction
of any public building, or hotel, or dormitory, or any other building where
a group of persons are accommodated, or work.
G. 3. 2: The owner of any
building shall provide, pursuant to Regulation G. 3. 1 of these regulations,
means of access, which shall be suitable for use by disabled persons, including
one confined to a wheelchair, or one who is unable to walk or negotiate
up or down steps, from the outside of such building up to the main entrance
door, or from any parking area within the building to such main entrance
door whether the main entrance door be on the ground level storey, or any
G. 3. 3: The principal entrance
to any building shall be designed in such a manner so as to enable any person
with any disability to comfortably use such entrance and it should be clearly
marked to facilitate ready location.
G. 3. 4: Toilet facilities,
purpose-designed and constructed for disabled Persons shall be provided
in any such buildings and shall be accessible with minimum assistance, such
G. 3. 5: Where parking for
motor vehicles, used by disabled persons, has been set aside, the route
to such facilities, or any space, which shall be provided to accommodate
wheelchairs shall be free from any obstruction which may impede or endanger
the travel of disabled persons.
G. 3. 6: The Building Authority
may grant exemption from the requirements of the Building Regulations in
respect of any building which shall be designed as a home, or hospital for
disabled, provided that such exemption shall be granted only upon application,
which shall specify the regulation, from which, exemption is sought.
G. 3. 7: The requirements
of Regulation G. 3. 2 of these regulations shall be deemed to be satisfied
where any ramp, which shall be not less than 1. 2 meters in width, shall
be provided for the use of disabled persons in a wheelchair; and shall be
constructed at a gradient not steeper than 1:15; and finished with non-slip
G. 3. 8: A tread of any stairway
in any public building, or hotel, or dormitory, or any building in which
a group of persons are accommodated, or work, shall be designed, and constructed
so as to have the edge of such tread delineated by contrasting color from
other color of the remainder of tread; and the Building Authority may require
that the handrail to any stairway shall be labelled in Braille at each floor
level to show the number of that floor.
G. 3. 9: Pursuant to Regulation
G. 3. 4 of these regulations, the number of toilets, or sanitary facilities,
which shall be provided for disabled persons in wheelchairs, shall be determined
in accordance with Table 2G2; and in any building which shall be used as
a hotel, or lodging, or hostel, not less than one guest room for every 100
guest rooms, or part thereof, shall be designed, or constructed, or adapted
for use by disabled persons.
Involvement of the Lesotho National Federation of Organizations of the
Disabled (LNFOD) in the formulation of legislation and policy
LNFOD played a significant role of contributing access
to the benefit of disabled people in Lesotho in the work for the above mentioned
It is still working hard to ensure that the draft legislation becomes formal.
In the area of 'access to roads and motor transportation', the plan of action
accommodates raising public awareness with the relevant minister. Because
really this people's reaction to us is caused by ignorance and unawareness.
The purpose of the Public Awareness Campaign will be to influence policy
makers to amend the existing legislation which impede free mobility of people
with disabilities but really not to force the community.
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