Call for action to improve health services

Hundreds of concerned Gugulethu residents took to the streets on Wednesday September 4.

About 300 Gugulethu residents gathered in NY3A on Wednesday September 4, before going to the KTC Day Hospital, NY3 Dental Clinic and Gugulethu police station calling for action to improve the health facilities and safety for all in the area.

The peaceful protest was sparked by the poor services at the health facilities and lack of police visibility.

The call was made by a social movement, the Movement for Change and Social Justice (MCSJ) which is an alliance of organisations aiming to improve the health and lives of people living in and around the area of Gugulethu.

Organisers said that the MCSJ originated out of a need to address several health and social issues that have emerged in various neighbourhoods. It is also working to strengthen the relationship between various non-governmental organisations and community organisations in the area to address crucial issues and improve access to health and social services.

Spokesperson for the movement, Tantaswa Ndlelana, said to achieve these goals, the movement host workshops, open dialogues about sensitive issues in the community, organise short-term campaigns to address specific challenges and promote gender equality and the improvement of men and women’s health through education and health promotion.

“The movement is a joint initiative between several partners who share the same values and would like to collaborate to bring change in our community. Together with other stakeholders, we have embarked on a peaceful protest to demand better health services, safety and security with other civil servants that are rendering services in our communities and working in such difficult conditions. We are a group of organisations coming together to demand attention to these demands,” she said.

She added that they demand a brand-new Gugulethu Community Health Centre because the current day hospital has serious structural problems that impede the provision of services.

Ms Ndlelana also said the mobile police station needs to reinstated. “The mobile police station outside Gugulethu CHC is no longer there. This institution is at the centre of the ‘murder capital’ and it should be treated as such. Bring back the mobile police station.

“The SAPS need to be visible in our communities and attend quickly to any emergencies when there is a crisis, cases to be investigated and justice to be served for our communities,” she said.

The marchers also demanded that Nobantu Primary School be properly secured. Those who are rendering services at the school say the pupils are not safe because of the lack of proper fencing, closed-circuit television cameras and 24-hour security guards.

Addressing the crowd, Thembisa Qabazi of the MCSJ, said the organisation was working hard to ensure that they did what they could to prevent crime, and that Gugulethu residents had access to good healthcare.

Thando Ngodwane of the Gugulethu-based non-governmental organisation, the Rebuilding and Life Skills Training Centre (REALISTIC) said his members attended the march to show support to the people of Gugulethu.

He said crime in the area was a major concern and called on all the NGOs to continue the fight against crime.