To be even more inclusive, the City of Cape Town’s Recreation and Parks Department, in partnership with the Western Cape Health Department, has rolled out their very first universal access mat at Muizenberg Beach, the city’s flagship differently-abled-friendly beach.
Known as the Mobi-mat, this roll-out walkway was manufactured in France and is made out of 100% recycles polyester, making it environmentally friendly and lightweight. Most importantly, the mat provides easy access for those that are wheelchair-bound or using walking aids, baby prams and walking chairs to transition over the sand to the ocean.
Through this, more people with physical disabilities are able to experience our beautiful beaches. The 50cm mat costs R390 000.
The Western Cape Government Health donated the mat through its WoW! Programme to allow people with disabilities to get onto the sand and closer to the water.
“This is the launch of the first-ever Beach Access Mat in the province, accordingly, it is expected that the installation of the Mobi-Mat would facilitate the empowerment and social inclusiveness of persons with mobility impairments through their participation in coastal recreation and leisure activities. In addition, the mat should positively influence the attitudes that prevent differently-abled individuals from participating in the community,” said the Western Cape Provincial Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo.
“As a Department, we recognised the need to give dignity and equal access to all members of society to our award-winning coastline. We are excited that these advancements in technology exist and would like to thank the WoW! Programme of the Western Cape Provincial Government who have so generously made this equipment available to us to improve the lives of those who depend on wheelchairs for mobility. Not only will make the beach more enjoyable for those with a disability/differently-abled, but it will also add value to mothers with baby strollers and the elderly,” added Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien.
In addition to this mat, Muizenberg beach already has demarcated parking for the disabled, ramps, hand railings, ablution facilities and an amphibious wheelchair, which helps those with a disability to submerge directly into the water.
The mat will be available for public use following a series of tests and all legal documentation has been finalised, which is estimated to conclude by the end of March 2020.