Sunday Tribune

Disabled parking abuse leads to wheelchair injury


MY DRIVER, Alpheus Matheki Sibheko, and I wanted to enter the KFC fast food outlet at Bedford Centre, Johannesbu­rg, but found the disabled access ramp blocked.

An able-bodied person had parked his bakkie in the disabled parking.

We politely asked him to remove his bakkie.

He refused and said we could find another way to enter. I sought another accessible entrance and drove into a pothole with my electric wheelchair. I did not see it as there was no warning sign.

My chair tipped and I fell out on to the tar. As I lay in pain, my left knee injured, my driver went to the outlet to ask the bakkie driver to come and help me. He said no, threatened my driver and said he should not be helping someone like me.

Someone else picked me up and put me back in my wheelchair. I took pictures of the bakkie for the record.

Even when others asked him to remove his bakkie, he refused.

We called security, staff and the manager for assistance and no one would apply a wheel clamp.

Security’s response was: “Why did you call us?”

My wheelchair was scratched and damaged.

The man got into the bakkie and, reversing, nearly pushed me over. When he drove off, I had to steer my wheelchair out of the way.

After he left, statements were taken and I was driven to hospital. I had soft tissue damage.

I went to the Bedfordvie­w police station, where I was told I could not open a case as it was a civil matter. JUAN-PIERRE BIANCHINA


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