Include disabled persons on planning boards: Manombe-Ncube

14 Nov 2017 19:30pm
WINDHOEK, 14 NOV (NAMPA) – Deputy Minister for Disability Affairs, Alexia Manombe-Ncube has called for people living with disabilities to form part of the Urban and Regional Planning Boards.
Making her contribution on the Urban and Regional Planning Bill of 2017 in the National Assembly (NA) on Tuesday, Manombe-Ncube said including people living with disabilities would ensure that infrastructure programming incorporates the requirements for them.
This, she said, would also ensure that organisations would be consulted when standards and norms for accessibility are being developed.
“They [people living with disabilities] should also be involved from the initial planning stage when public construction projects are being designed, to ensure maximum accessibility for people with disabilities,” she said.
The Bill was tabled in the NA last week and aims to decentralise certain aspects of spatial planning in the country and to redress past imbalances in respect of access to land, land ownership, and land allocation, as well as promote the national land reform objectives.
Meanwhile, some Members of Parliament (MPs) from opposition parties for the second time staged a walk out on Tuesday, maintaining that they would abstain from any discussions on the Bill.
The opposition MPs last week refused to debate the Bill in an effort to avoid the topic of land reform, noting that since the postponement of the second National Land Conference, which was supposed to have been held in September, all talks on land related issues should be avoided.
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said although the MPs had a democratic right to abstain from the discussion, the walk-out served to deprive voters of their right, because the MPs were in Parliament to represent them.
“This is about spatial planning and not land planning. Therefore, it is incumbent of us to support the Bill and give service to Namibians,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.
Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaningwa who tabled the Bill, said she would only respond to the contributions to the discussion next week once the house had met a quorum.
A voting quorum of 49 MPs out of 96 elected MPs is required for voting of a Bill. Only 35 MPs were in the NA on Tuesday.
Furthermore, a total of 26 MPs out of 96 elected MPs are required for a sitting quorum, for any business to take place in the House.