Gugulethu Community Health Centre staff, including the security personnel, are working in fear after violence erupted there on Saturday November 24.
A group of residents flung rocks at the clinic, leaving holes in the roof. The trouble started when two men were refused entry to the clinic by the security guards.
They had apparently been trying the enter the clinic under false pretences and were refusing to be searched before a fight broke out. The authorities said this incident happened just after two suspects acting as patients were detained by security and arrested for stealing sick certificates.
The two irate men apparently then left and returned with more than 10 people to assist them in stoning the clinic
While authorities said no one was injured when Vukani arrived at the clinic, blood could be seen splattered at the main entrance and on the premises. Vukani heard that at least one person was injured. The situation was under control but the atmosphere was tense.
Vukani was given different versions of what had taken place.
According to Monique Johnstone, spokesperson for the Department of Health, five men brought an injured man to the clinic.
She said upon their arrival they all wanted to accompany the man to the trauma unit but only one person is allowed to do so. She said when they were not allowed to go in, an argument ensued.
“They then went away and came with a mob who pelted and threw stones at the security guards,” she said.
However, a source told Vukani a completely different story.
They claim the irate men were looking for staff members who were involved in the fraudulent selling of sick certificates.
“This has been happening for the past five years. Certificate books and stamps get lost here. People have lost jobs because of some staff members who are fraudulently selling sick notes. But those who lost their jobs always refuse to tell the truth. The fight was about that not the other way round. Many of us hope that now that the fight has happened and individuals were identified, steps would be taken against them. We are tired of living in fear because of fraudsters.” While Ms Johnstone denied the fight was about about the sick notes, she confirmed that two men had been arrested for stealing sick certificates. According to one security guard at the clinic, fights constantly break out during this time of the year at the clinic. He blamed the community of Gugulethu for this.
“I fear for my life here. You do not know who to trust. This community always fights with us. Everybody fears for his or her life here,” he said.
The Western Cape Government Health said an investigation is under way to determine the reason for the vandalism.
“Due to the criminal activities that directly affected the safety of the staff and patients at the facility, a mobile police station was set-up to provide more police visibility at the facility and the surrounding areas.”