Staff refuse to work at clinic after fence stolen


By Thamsanqa Mbovane for GroundUp

Staff at Mabandla Clinic in Kariega, Nelson Mandela Bay, refuse to work at the facility after the fence was stolen on Wednesday evening. Nurses at the clinic say they fear for their safety.

The clinic serves about 500 patients daily.

“Please don’t stand at the fence. The clinic is closed until further notice,” shouted a female security guard when a pregnant woman stood outside and wanted to know why the clinic’s gate was closed.

The security guard told her to visit one of the nearby clinics.

A nurse, who wishes to remain anonymous, told GroundUp: “We are not lazy, as patients claim. We demand safety for ourselves and our patients. It will be very easy for criminals to break into this clinic and steal our handbags, mobile phones and laptops, including those of patients.”

A member of staff said that their colleagues had been robbed earlier and that a clinic without a fence would be targeted.

“We have been reporting the problem to the Department of Health since December 11 when the fence was stolen piece by piece. The problem has now worsened and it is the department’s fault,” another nurse said.

When GroundUp arrived at the clinic on Friday morning, the toilets were not flushing and the taps were dry.

Nurses say patients have been yelling at them about this since last year. “We told them we are not plumbers. We have to use the toilet ourselves and use buckets of water from a Jojo tank on the yard to flush the toilet.”

Samkelo Msila, regional secretary of the union Nehawu, said the union was aware of the closure at the clinic due to security and operational health issues, including the lack of running water.

Sizwe Kupelo, spokesperson for the provincial department of health, said the department had deployed a delegation from the district to determine the facts and deal with the issue. “We are also in discussion with the ward councilor to convene an urgent meeting with the community,” he said. “In the meantime, patients who require primary health care will be assisted at nearby clinics while we seek an urgent solution to the problem.”

  • This post was originally published on GroundUp and is used with permission on RNews.