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Grant Oosthuyzen went to ushaka with family for a ride and whilst there he tried out the new ramp to the beach for the disabled. PHOTO: Facebook
USHAKA beach in Durban is the first of many which saw the wheelchair beach mat initiative rolled out. The Quad Para Association (QASA) and the eThekwini Municiplaity are the main drivers behind the project aimed at making the beach accessible to wheelchair-bound residents.
According to the spokesman for QASA KZN, Frank Kruger, the pilot project is a first for South African beaches.Kruger said uShaka beach was used frequently adding that there is a high demand for it in other main beaches in the province.
eThekwini Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa said, “The project is still under construction and an announcement will be made once it is complete.”
According to Mthethwa the City is also looking at rolling out the project to Amanzimtoti and uMhlanga beaches.
According to Kruger, City Architects – Urban Design Branch were asked to research and arrange the purchase of the mat by the Parks and Recreation Department.
“The research was done by Martin Prange to find a local product that would suit the application before importing the supplied product, which came about Martin making contact with the overseas company, who then put me on to their local agents in Cape Town. This entire project was municipal funded and is a huge step forward,” said Kruger.
Kruger said the benefits for the disabled will be significant.