THE ISSUE of disabilities has always been a sore point for the university and, barring a few extraordinary individuals, it has been treated with reluctance and a measure of reservation.
Everybody in management knows how to talk the talk to impress university stakeholders and guests. But the reality is much different.
When having a conversation with the head of the disability unit, Dr Anlia Pretorious, one learns quickly that she undoubtedly has the credentials and the profile of a person who understands and has worked alongside people living with disabilities. That is commendable, but one cannot help but ask whether she uses these qualities to serve the community of differently abled persons?
To date, apart from a few technological upgrades and renovations at the main disability unit offices, there is yet to be tangible changes for the differently abled.
Students are still left to the mercy of a system that is ignorant to their needs. Apart from a few intermittent awareness campaigns, that are known to be hamstrung by bureaucracy, not much has gone towards achieving solutions except for the odd individual case.
It is safe to state that Dr Pretorious is not being given the space to operate to the best of her ability.
The disability unit needs a strong, reliable person as a head who will understand the nature and the social position of the student that comes to its doors needing assistance.
These are mostly previously disadvantaged youths aspiring to obtain a worthy qualification so that they can lead better lives.
Does anybody hear us, or see us, or is willing to ‘walk’ with us?