HOTspot News - Disability Expo 2005

The world's fastest blind driver, Hein Wagner, is one of the speakers at Disability 2005, South Africa's first international Trade and Lifestyle Exhibition focusing on the disabled. The conference takes place from 3 to 5 November 2005 at the Kyalami Exhibition Centre in Midrand, Gauteng.

On 8 September 2005 Hein broke the world record after racing down a Mafikeng airstrip at an average speed of 269 km/h, beating the previous record of 233 km/h. A motivational speaker by profession, Hein has been blind since birth. However, he has an impressive list of achievements to his credit, having competed in a number of marathons and climbed the ten highest mountains in the Western Cape.

Hein, who describes himself as "a blind man with vision" also received his Western Province colours in athletics and was a member of the South African blind cricket team that won the first ever Blind Cricket World Cup in India during November 1998. To cap all this, he has competed in the 1993 Cape to Rio yacht race.

The Disability 2005 exhibition will feature over 100 exhibitors of entertainment and lifestyle choices and will run parallel to the Disability 2005 Conference. The conference is themed "A Barrier Free Society - Working towards Finding the Solutions". Delegates to the conference include leaders and members of the disabled community, Government representatives, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community organisations, concerned businesses, civil society, the media, caregivers and other interested individuals.

The two-day interactive sessions will deliberate on delivery and lack of delivery, the role-players and industries. Speakers and panellists will be representative of end users with disabilities, as well as industry and related experts.

Issues to be raised include: Service Delivery at a National and Local Government level
The Disability Sector's role and responsibilities
The Private Sector's role and responsibilities; and
Way forward and resolutions

Topics to be tackled include: Public Services including health, education, social services and labour legislation.

Environmental factors such as public works, rural housing, rural transport, hospitality, facilities management and assistance devices.
What the Disability Sector is doing to overcome barriers (organisational, environmental, attitudinal, preventative measures), improve services in urban and rural areas, health, social upliftment, sports and recreation, education and training, monitoring progress and disabled tourism.

The Conference will conclude with a practical session on specific resolutions and commitments being reached. For more information on Disability 2005, contact Bette McNaughton on 021 683-1117 or e-mail

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