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No electricity at Lillian Ngoyi Community Health Care Centre

The Lillian Ngoyi Community Health Centre in Soweto.Image: Boxer Ngwenya

The Lillian Ngoyi Community Health Centre in Soweto.Image: Boxer Ngwenya

Published May 18, 2022

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The Lillian Ngoyi Community Health Care Centre, next to Bara Hospital in Soweto has been without reliable electricity supply for two months.

Since then, the facility has been relying on a faulty generator for energy supply.

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The said generator has been the subject of daily maintenance due to an ongoing leakage. Scores of patients have subsequently been turned away, told to wait or referred to neighbouring facilities for their medication and ailments.

When The Star arrived, the situation was the same it has been since the start of the electricity problem

This week the generator has tripped daily with daily maintenance restoring power intermittently for an hour or two.

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Frustrated patients have been queuing regardless of the situation with the hope that they will eventually be attended to.

A security guard manning the gate said the problem has been going on for a longtime and has become a problem. It is a very long story and I can't be the one to tell you because of my job. Please speak to the staff gathered there," she said.

Jane Mabaso (69) who recently relocated to Turffontein after being a resident of Soweto for many years says this situation is giving her sleepless nights as she is running out of her medication.

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" I was here yesterday and am here again. I was told that there's no electricity and I must come back today. But today and still there's no electricity. I have run out of medication and do not know what else to do as I was turned away when I tried to go to the Rand Clinic near my home. I am using public transport which costs me money," she said

Speaking on his way to City Power, Scebiso Masondo from the councillors office in ward 24, told The Star that he was this morning alerted about the situation by one of the affected patients.

" We are trying to get City Power to help us with this issue as I have been told that this has been happening for at least two months. A lady affected by the situation called me this morning telling us that the issue has been happening for at least two months. From what we have heard, City Power was not alerted about the matter as they do not have a reference number. I suspect that maybe they did not report this issue with them and replied on the generator which has now tried and said to be leaking," the community leader said.

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A senior employee and the health centre's shop stewart who wanted to remain unidentified for fear of losing his job told this newspaper that there is nothing they can do until the issue of electricity is resolved and the generator they have been using is fixed.

"It is unfortunate that we can't work without electricity. We need machinery to examine and prescribe the correct medication for our patients. It pains us to have to turn the patient's away, but there is little we can do until the issue has been solved. We refer some of them to the newest healthcare centres and those who are critical, we try to take them ourselves to the nearest healthcare centre using this clinic's transport. However, some patients do not understand our dilemma and swear at us in frustration," he said.

A mother of a small boy, Pamela Madikizela who was there said she was now forced to use the little money she has to take a taxi to the Chiawelo Clinic a few kilometres away.

" I have no choice but to now go to Chiawelo Clinic as my son is sick. I was here yesterday and waited a long time for help but was forced to go back home. Today I was told there will be a taxi taking us to Chiawelo but after waiting a long time again, I have decided to use my own money to seek help elsewhere," frustrated Madikizela said.

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