05/02/2014 A burned clinic at Rethabiseng township near Bronkhorstspruit. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Johannesburg - The Gauteng government will not rebuild the R3 million clinic that “thugs and criminals” destroyed during “so-called service delivery protests” in Bronkhorstspruit last month.

On Tuesday, the Gauteng Department of Health threatened to direct its financial spending to areas that need the health facilities.

MEC for Health Hope Papo issued this warning in reply to questions in the legislature on Tuesday.

The DA’s Les Labuschagne had raised concerns that the people of Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria, had to travel more than 50km to go to Mamelodi Hospital for healthcare.

“These people had to use more than three different taxis – some six – to get to Mamelodi Hospital.

“These people are suffering from the injudiciousness of including Kungwini in the Tshwane municipality.”

In 2010, Kungwini was dissolved as a municipality and incorporated into the Tshwane metro following Municipal Demarcation Board recommendations just before the 2011 municipal elections.

“Why is the Gauteng government’s Health Department taking so long to take over the Netcare Hospital there, and what is the problem?” Labuschagne asked.

Papo, who celebrated his birthday on Tuesday, accused the DA of asking legislature questions merely to score electioneering points.

He accused the DA of supporting “thugs and criminals” hell-bent on destroying public buildings.

His comments came after residents of various communities in Zithobeni, Rethabiseng and nearby areas went on the rampage, setting alight several buildings, including the clinic.

The residents were reportedly protesting because they were unable to buy prepaid electricity.

Seven buildings were set alight.

“The people who burnt down the R3m clinic were thugs and criminals. Because of their actions, there are a lot of referrals to Mamelodi Hospital. The actions of these thugs have clogged the system at Mamelodi,” Papo said.

“My department will not be rebuilding the clinic or any other public health facility destroyed by these thugs. We will take the budget to other regions where it is needed.”

Regarding the progress of the feasibility study to take over Bronkhorstspruit Netcare Hospital, which was started seven months ago, Papo said it would be completed in the next three months.

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The Star