The communities of Gugulethu and KTC took to the streets on Wednesday May 24, to show their anger and frustration at the crime faced by staff at the Gugulethu Community Health Centre (CHC).
They marched to the Gugulethu police station where they handed over a memorandum of their grievances.
Among their demands was for crime-fighting initiatives to be beefed up, with at least two police officers permanently stationed at the clinic.
The protest follows the killing of Andile Magama, a porter at the clinic, on Sunday May 7. He was stabbed to death while waiting for a taxi outside the clinic gate.
The irate residents said it was becoming dangerous for staff and increasingly difficult to visit the facility because of the crime in and around the clinic.
Ncedisa Ngcobodwana, from the Treatment Action Campaign, called for the safety of staff to be prioritised.
She urged residents, particularly from the nearby areas, to play an active role in fighting crime.
“We need them in times like this. People should understand that this is their facility. This is for them when they are sick. The fear is that one day no one would want to work here. That will mean the closure of the clinic,” she said.
“We are also marching to say communities must stop collaborating with thugs who are coming here to destroy what we have. Remember, this is not the first incident. Just before they killed Andile, two sisters were robbed and a security guard was shot dead. They then shot a doctor who is now paralysed.”
The protesters demanded a speedy investigation into Mr Magama’s murder. They also demanded 24-hour police visibility at the facility and on the streets.
Gugulethu Health Forum member, Nowi Mdayi, condemned the crime. She urged residents to speak out and identify criminals.
“As a community we know the criminals. Long ago, there was operation Mpimpa. This is what we need to do as the community. I fail to understand why are we not mpimping. I am urging the community to speak out before we lose this facility,” she said.
She said she was happy that the community had finally stood up and protested.
Zethu Xapile, primary health care manager for Klipfontein region, thanked residents for supporting staff.
She also reiterated the call for an end to crime in and around the facility.
She said crime threatened good working conditions at the facility.
“It is in times like these that we should unite. The killings should stop not only at the facility but in Gugulethu as a whole. We call on police to be visible. We also call on people to protect and guard the facility. This is their facility,” she said.
Gugulethu police spokesperson Constable Sindiswa Ngqele confirmed that police received the memorandum.
She said the memorandum was passed on to the Nyanga Cluster.