Jeffreys Bay
Amphibious wheelchair for JBay swimmers
Kouga’s efforts to make its beaches universally accessible received another major boost with a donation of an amphibious wheelchair from the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa).Jeffreys Bay’s Dolphin Beach was chosen as one of only four recipients countrywide and the only one in the Eastern Cape.

The wheelchairs, which were donated to Wessa by the Ford Motor Company Fund, allow the disabled to go into the water and enjoy a swim with the assistance of lifeguards.

The other three recipients were the City of Cape Town, Overstrand and Bitou.

The recipients were chosen by Wessa and the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), based on beaches’ existing accessibility and facilities for persons with disabilities.

Dolphin Beach has wheelchair ramps and a deck which allow people with disabilities to access the beach, with limited or no assistance needed.

Kouga resident Jakkie Pieters, of the NCPD, received the wheelchair on behalf of the municipality at the hand-over event at Muizenberg Beach.

“The accessible ramps and amphibious wheelchair will allow persons with disabilities to enjoy not only the sandy beach but also the fresh water of the ocean.

“The opportunity is life changing and contributes to an inclusive environment for those with mobility impairments,” said Pieters.

Wessa National Coastal Coordinator Robert Slater said they were working to improve access to all Blue Flag beaches and it was hoped that future partnerships would allow them to procure more amphibious wheelchairs for more beaches that flew the prestigious flag.

“Everyone has a right to enjoy South Africa’s beautiful coastline and through this new initiative, we are making it possible for persons with disabilities to do so,” he said.

Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said the municipality appreciated the recognition from Wessa and the NCPD.

“The chair will be kept in the storeroom at Dolphin Beach and will be monitored by the lifeguards on duty,” he said.

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