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Still no clear-cut answers on closure of clinics across the Cape Flats

Patients at the Ravensmead Clinic waits before being helped by staff. File Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency

Patients at the Ravensmead Clinic waits before being helped by staff. File Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency

Published Apr 18, 2022

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Cape Town - Although the City of Cape Town denies it plans to close any of its clinics when it amalgamates with provincial Health Care Centres, activists and residents say the opposite is true.

Mayco member for community services and health, Patricia van der Ross, said no closure of City clinics had been confirmed even though some had been earmarked for “mothballing” and others closed.

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“Please note there will be community engagement once there is greater clarity on the way forward,” she said.

However Mitchells Plain United Residents’ Association deputy chairperson Michael Jacobs said: “It is a fact that Eastridge and Rocklands clinics are earmarked for mothballing, which will have a detrimental effect on health services in the broader Mitchells Plain.”

The Mitchells Plain Community Health Centre was taking strain as it accommodated patients from Zakhele clinic in Khayelitsha, which closed in October last year, Jacobs said.

“The Mayco member for community services and health has up till today not entered into consultation with the respective communities and community organisations in Eastridge and Rocklands.”

Equal Rights Forum president and Nyanga resident Thulani Phike said: “To even consider closing a clinic in our area is an insult, not only to our people but to democracy, because one killer of democracy is service delivery.”

Phike said residents were subjected to inferior health care, and inhumane practices and mistreatment by healthcare workers at clinics and hospitals.

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“Nyanga doesn't have a 24-hour health-care system. They close at 6pm, but the area that it serves is too big and people have to go to Khayelitsha District Hospital (KDH).

“KDH is also understaffed and far from the main Nyanga area, and also when you are there people are subjected to the rude behaviour and unprofessional conduct by health-care workers.”

Health and Wellness MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said there were 10 joint facilities where the provision of personal clinical primary health-care services by the City functioned alongside the provision of comprehensive health services by the department.

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The transfer of the joint facilities to the department would be concluded by June 30.

The facilities are: Dirkie Uys Clinic (Goodwood), Durbanville Clinic (Durbanville), Heideveld Clinic (Heideveld), Kasselsvlei Clinic (Bellville South), Nolungile Clinic (Khayelitsha), Nyanga Clinic (Nyanga), Parow Clinic (Parow), Ravensmead Clinic (Ravensmead) and Scottsdene Clinic (Kraaifontein), and Fisantekraal (Durbanville).

“There are 10 joint facilities to be transferred to the province in this budget year, and while the processes on assets and staff are being followed, we are allocating R18.094 million this year towards the transfer of these facilities. We don't have any knowledge of the clinics that will be closed,” Mbombo said.

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ANC shadow Health MEC Rachel Windvogel said the City was being disingenuous.

“Everyone knows plans are afoot to close down clinics in Mitchells Plain, Nyanga and Gugulethu. In some instances, staff have been notified of the imminent closures. The provincial government and the City must tell the truth.

“We have consistently said that closing down any clinics in the City would bring public health care to the brink of collapse.

“If no clinics will be closed down then the MEC and Mayco members must tell us,” Windvogel said.

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Cape Argus

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