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Disabled parking dispute in court

By Lethiwe Makhanya

The employee claims the court refused his request for a disabled parking bay.

disabled parking

A Pietermaritzburg High Court staff member has taken his supervisors to court over a request for a disabled parking bay.

The employee claims the court refused his request for a disabled parking bay. However, the Pietermaritzburg High Court denies this, saying that they offered him two parking bays but he refused to take them.

The matter has been brought by Deshen Govender against court manager, Mbusowezwe Zondi, and the acting director of court operations at the time, Emmerentia Catherina van der Merwe, and the office of the chief justice.

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In his affidavit, Govender said he is seeking his rights, as a person with a disability, to be afforded the use of a designated disabled parking bay but the court officials are refusing his request. He said the purpose of a designated disabled parking bay is to afford the user peace of mind.

The space, designated disabled parking bay, allows me the extra space needed to go in and out of my vehicle without fear of damaging other vehicles. I should also be allowed to enter and leave the parking bay whenever the need arises freely and without any obstacles or hindrances.

He is also seeking compensation in the amount of R100 000 from each party against whom the application is, for the hurt and distress caused to him, which has led to his becoming depressed. This has also aggravated his current health conditions and caused him further unnecessary pain.

“It has also caused my working environment to become extremely stressful and tense, since they [the respondents] are my managers and I report to them.”

Govender disputed that he did not want the suggested parking bays that were offered to him. He said what was offered was not suitable for his medical condition and health.

Van der Merwe said in her answering affidavit that Govender was asked to submit a medical report confirming his disability, but the report stated that his disability was temporary. She said there was no time period provided as to the expected period of recovery.

He was allocated a parking bay which is closer to the entrance of the court building, but he did not want it stating his reasons. He wanted the court manager to allocate him the undercover parking bays for disabled people. Because the ones he requested are further away from the entrance door, he was allocated another parking in the front of the court building.

Van der Merwe said Govender also did not want that allocated parking bay, stating that it is the designated bay for disabled people who are coming to court.

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She added that she also inspected the two parking bays that were offered to Govender and communicated her findings with him.

I recommended that the front disability parking will be most suitable according to my observation. The back parking has steps which are very small and no disability entrance. The front parking has a disability ramp closer to the door and the door is suitable for people with disability.

Court manager Zondi confirmed the contents of Van der Merwe’s affidavit to be true and correct as far as they pertain to him.

He said he allocated two parking bays to Govender, but he turned both of them down.

“The offers are still open for acceptance by him unless the parking bays in question get taken by other people with the same conditions in the process in which event, I will have to come up with another offer”.

A date has not yet been set for the matter to be heard in court.