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Woman in wheelchair booted off flight shows ongoing injustices, says law prof

28 April 2017 2:03 PM
The story of a wheelchair-bound woman barred from boarding a flight because she had no companion has come to light, two months on.

People with disabilities face ongoing challenges in South Africa, laments law professor Heléne Combrinck.

This comes after 34-year-old Sebenzile Mthembu, who is wheelchair bound, was denied boarding her flight to King Shaka International.

The Durban woman was told by a Mango supervisor that the airline did not allow wheelchair users on their flights without an able-bodied companion.

The incident happened two months ago, but has only come to light this week.

Proffessor Combrinck has done a great deal of work and research in disability, law and policy and says people with disabilities experience everyday injustices.

We have to recognise that there are still many barriers that are put in the way of people with disabilities that would not occur in the case of persons without disabilities.

Prof Heléne Combrinck, Law professor at t North West University

She explains that the South African Civil Aviation Authority places the onus on individual airlines to regulate the conditions of carriage.

Combrinck says Mango was out of line and also questioned the airline's use of language when referring to passengers with disabilities in their policies.

The law professor says that more education and sensitisation is needed for the airline's staff.

Take a listen to Combrinck explain what legal recourse is available for Mthembu:


28 April 2017 2:03 PM