North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha during his visit at clinics in Kanana, Klerksdorp. He is considering deploying armed security guards at clinics in the area to protect staff from gangs. PHOTO: Supplied

RUSTENBURG - Armed guards are set to be posted at various clinics in Kanana near Klerksdorp, the North West health department said on Tuesday.

"North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha has advised head of security in the department of health to position armed guards at Grace Mokhomo Clinic in Kanana Location near Orkney while looking for a permanent solution to protect health professionals. The decision follows an unannounced visit to the clinic by MEC Sambatha to assess level of healthcare service delivery," department spokesman Tebogo Lekgethwane said.

Sambatha made the unannounced visit to the clinic on Monday and health professionals told him they were fearing for their safety and no longer enjoy serving due to gangs terrorising them.

"We live in fear. Day and night gangs are terrorising us. They fight wherever and come here for assistance and expect us to leave everything and everyone or else…," one nurse told Sambatha.

"Our security is helpless in such situations as gang members come here heavily armed. The police do assist but they respond late. We need to feel safe when serving our people."

Sambatha said the situation was not conducive and that the safety of healthcare workers was a priority, hence the need to do a security assessment.

"I am going to mobilise the community to stand with our healthcare workers and general staff in all the clinics in Kanana so that when health professionals need the community to protect them they do receive protection.

"The security director in the department will visit the Grace Mokhomo Clinic and all clinics in Kanana to do a security assessment to see what additional security methods we need to improve security of our members," he said.

Patients at the clinic complained that long queues were a problem.

Maria Chabaku, 35, said patients wait forever to get a file and that the service is slow.
 
"We need more nurses," she said.

Sambatha, who also visited the Ruben Buzile Nzima Clinic in Orkney, made a commitment to attend to all service delivery problems facing the clinic. 

African News Agency (ANA)