The Executive mayor of Chief Albert Luthuli Municipality (CALM), Daniel Nkosi, launched a Disability Forum at the Dundonald Disability Centre on September 12.
According to Nkosi, the forum is a remarkable initiative reflecting CALM’s unwavering commitment to inclusivity, accessibility and social equity within the municipality. In his keynote address Nkosi said, “The launch of this Forum is not just a symbolic gesture, but a significant step forward in our journey toward building a more inclusive and compassionate community. It underscores our belief that every individual, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, has the right to participate fully in our society and have their voices heard.”
He added that the Disability Forum will serve as a platform for dialogue, collaboration and action. It will also provide a space where individuals with disabilities, their families, caregivers, advocates and community members can meet to address issues, share experiences and work toward solutions for improving the quality of life for everyone in CALM.
“We understand that meaningful change requires the collective effort of our entire community. It requires us to challenge stereotypes, raise awareness and create a culture of empathy and understanding. It also requires us to collaborate with local organisations, businesses and government agencies to implement policies and practices that would ensure equal access and opportunities for all,” explained Nkosi.
The mayor also said ten representing each unit in the municipality, including the head office candidates (two members each), to act as representatives of Emanzana, Elukwatini, Ekulindeni, Empuluzi and Carolina to join the Executive members, be thirteen in total, to drive the process.
The gesture was welcomed by the community members, especially those who are living with disabilities. Clifford Sithole, who was born disabled, requested the mayor and his cabinet to support the Forum in such a way that the provincial government will automatically get involved.
“I am glad that the municipality recognised and saw a need that we must have a forum that we will discuss our issues. We hope that it will be heard and if intervention is needed the municipality will step up. We need the support from the mayor and his councillors.
They must keep in touch with us,” he said. He also asked the mayor that when the municipality had jobs or businesses, they should also consider those with disabilities and that the government building should make it possible for disabled people to visit.