Hands off our healthcare staff - Gugs residents

Cape Town - Enough is enough! That was the resounding cry from Gugulethu residents as they marched the streets to express their displeasure at the level of crime threatening their service delivery.

On Thursday, about 100 people picketed outside Gugulethu community health centre (CHC) and went to several non-governmental organisations in the area, demanding community members also "stand up and take back the streets" following incidents of crime and attacks on health and social development service providers.

Gugulethu residents are up in arms over the poor delivery of medical services, which they blame on criminals. Picture: Tracey Adams. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

They said hijacking and attacks on ambulance staff and other service providers such as social workers had been on the increase while vandalism of health, social development facilities and creches had also spiked.

One of the incidents targeted at local health workers was the recent attack on a Gugulethu CHC doctor who was stabbed in the head. The alleged patient apparently became "impatient" with the female doctor and stabbed her for "being too slow" when attending to him.

Monique Johnstone, spokeswoman for the department, confirmed a mentally unstable client physically attacked one of the doctors in her consulting room on September 5.

"The doctor was badly bruised with a stab wound to the head. Security caught the perpetrator and contacted the police. The incident was reported to the police by the doctor and management," she said.

Nowhi Mdayi, deputy chairwoman of Gugulethu Health Forum, said the march was a warning to criminals in the area that "the community is not going to stand back and watch you destroying our community".

"By picketing here today we are telling those criminals who attack our doctors, ambulance staff, social workers and break into clinics and our early childhood development centres that we are not going to sit back and watch while they destroy our communities."

Captain Louis Solomons from the Maitland police station says that they are often called to escort ambulances into areas - and this should not be the case.

FED-UP: Elderly Gugulethu residents are up in arms over the poor delivery of medical services, which they blame on criminals.Picture: Tracey Adams