Blind Paralympian wins case against winery

Hendri Herbst and his guide dog, Stan.

The outcome of legal proceedings in which a settlement has been reached between the South African Paralympic athlete, Hendri Herbst, and a Cape winery, is not only a victory for visually impaired people, but will assist greatly in creating awareness of the rights of people with disabilities not to be discriminated against.

This is according to Dr Theo Broodryk, Head of the Law Clinic at Stellenbosch University (SU).

The Law Clinic recently instituted legal proceedings in the Equality Court on behalf of Mr Herbst.

The winery has admitted to discriminating against Mr Herbst in 2014, when he was refused access to the winery’s restaurant due to the presence of his guide dog.

In terms of the settlement agreement, which was made an order of the Equality Court on September 26, Durbanville Hills will issue a public apology in which it admits to discriminating against Mr Herbst and undertakes to take “steps to ensure that all staff employed by Durbanville Hills will take part in sensitivity training from the Guide Dog Association of South Africa”. Durbanville Hills will further contribute R50 000 to the Guide Dogs Association “for the purpose of a media campaign to be run by it, in order to raise awareness in respect of guide dogs”. Durbanville Hills will further pay an amount of R50 000 to Mr Herbst as compensation for the incident.

“The steps taken by Durbanville Hills are welcomed and will assist in raising awareness of the rights of people with disabilities not to be discriminated against.

“The outcome of this matter should, however, also send a stern warning that discriminatory conduct towards vulnerable individuals such as Herbst will not be tolerated”. 

For more information contact Monja Posthumus-Meyjes, attorney at the SU Law Clinic, on 021 808 3600/2707, 083 311 2664 or mpostm@sun.ac.za or visit www.sulawclinic.co.za