The department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) together with Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM) and Rehab hosted a Big Walk White Canes Awareness Campaign to raise public awareness about the blind community and people living with disabilities.

Annually between 03 November and 03 December, South Africans celebrate National Disability Rights Awareness (NDRA) Month. December 03 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) and is also celebrated as NDRAD.

The purpose of the event is to enhance public awareness of the need for patience with visually impaired people and to provide them the freedom to use white canes to get around safely without encountering hostility from locals.

Giving her welcoming remarks at the campaign, BCMM Executive Mayor Councillor Princess Faku said: “Our responsibility as the Metro is to provide assistance to the blind and to uphold their legal rights.”

“The City also want to ensure that our residents have the same equal rights regardless of their race, disability, culture and sexual orientation,” added Faku.

“The City must strictly adhere to the needs of the blind in everything it does. For instance, if the government were to introduce technology-based job applications, the visually impaired would be left out, something we as the government are working on to address and bring attention to,” said Member of the Executive Council at Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Zolile Williams.

The march took place on Tuesday, 28 November 2023 at 08h00 from East London City Hall to Orient Theatre. Other stakeholders who were part of the campaign include Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Government of Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) and Department of Labour.