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The Buffalo City municipality has acquired six new disability-friendly buses to the value of R12m. The new buses have a capacity for 60 passengers, 43 seated and 17 standing. With parts sourced from various countries including Germany and Brazil, the buses were assembled in Johannesburg.

According to municipality spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya, the new buses incorporate contemporary vehicle technology and safety features and have space to accommodate wheelchairs and incorporate facilities that would enable easy access of wheelchairs.

Chairperson of the People with Disability Association East London branch Sandile Jelwana was thrilled that the municipality was “finally taking notice of the disabled people”. Jelwana said he thought what the municipality was doing was great for disabled people as they now commuted easily around the Buffalo City area.

A member of the People with Disability Association in the King William’s town area, Thembisa Adonis could not hold back her tears of joy, She said she “now feels alive”. “People treat us like we are not humans but now this is wonderful. I thank the municipality for a job well done,” she tearfully said. The municipality plans to add three more buses to its fleet before the end of this financial year. “The intention is to recapitalise the bus fleet on an ongoing basis depending on the availability of funding,” Ngwenya added.

The new buses are at the municipal depot in King William’s Town and are being licensed by the Eastern Cape Province using the eNatis system. Ngwenya said the process was expected to be complete within the next two months in order to have the busses operational.

R12m in buses for the disabled in Buffalo City