Community mobility and transport use of urban adults who attend public healthcare in Gauteng, South Africa

Hester van Biljon, Lana van Niekerk


Introduction: Older adults with limited socio-economic means, living in South Africa’s most densely populated province, Gauteng, have experienced historical restriction and challenges to their freedom of movement. Interviews were conducted with older adults attending public healthcare facilities that offered rehabilitation service in Gauteng, to capture their community mobility experience and the modes of transport they used. These interviews explored the difficulties the older adults experienced and the strategies they employed to overcome them, with an invitation for them to give suggestions for improvement.


Method: An exploratory concurrent mixed methods study design saw 84 rehabilitation clinicians, interview 393 older adults visiting public healthcare facilities where the clinicians practiced. Clinicians kept 109 field notes and took part in a cumulative five hours of discussion. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics and qualitative data through inductive content analysis.


Results: Walking and mini-bus taxis were the most prominent forms of community mobility. Fiscal and transport poverty, crime and poor infrastructure were barriers participants experienced.  Community involvement and leadership accountability were suggested solutions.


Conclusion: Involving stakeholders themselves in conceptualising and applying solutions to challenges is an acknowledged approach within the collectivist paradigm. The community mobility and transport use realities of older adults, and the rehabilitation professionals who interviewed them, as well as the existing strategies and suggestions they gave to overcome the barriers they experienced should be taken note of by policy makers and service providers. The presentation of these is to stimulate further consideration and development.


Key words: transport poverty; limited socio-economic means; community involvement; leadership accountability; stake holders, ubuntu

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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