Thugs target health care facilities

Some of the staff members are still visibly traumatised.

Health officials, the City of Cape Town and community representatives say they will not tolerate robberies at health care facilities and are calling on everyone to act harshly against the perpetrators.

They met on Friday August 3, at the Khayelitsha Youth clinic to plot the way forward following a spate of violent robberies at facilities around Khayelitsha.

In a recent incident, staff at the Youth clinic, in Site B, were robbed at gunpoint on Thursday July 19.

Criminals got away with their cellphones and other valuables, forcing a shutdown of the clinic for three days. It is alleged that four thugs came in, while the security guard was in the bathroom, and demanded the staff’s valuables.

Affected staff are receiving counselling.

Last Friday concerned groups met at the Youth clinic to listen to the staff and console them.

Led by area east mayoral committee member, Anda Ntsodo, community representatives stressed that robberies at health care facilities posed a major threat to staff and patients.

Mr Ntsodo said he was embarking on a series of discussions with the affected facilities so to find solutions. “I am calling on the whole society of Khayelitsha to prevent incidents of this nature. It must not happen in any institution. People should not keep quiet while criminals are running amok and chasing away our professionals,” he said.

Mr Ntsondo said the incident was an indication of some of the country’s social ills. “I will raise the matter with the Khayelitsha Development Forum and other community structures here. We cannot allow the criminals to rule us this way. This cannot be acceptable,” he told journalists.

Mr Ntsodo said a number of proposals to improve safety and security were being considered. These include tightening up security, depending on the available budget . He urged the community to work with the government to identify perpetrators of crime. He also commended staff for their bravery and continued determination to deliver healthcare services to the people.

Mzanywa Ndibongo, chairperson of the Khayelitsha Health Forum condemned the robbery, but accused Mr Ntsodo for visiting the facility for political reasons – which Mr Ntodo denied – and called on the security company to give answers regarding the incident.

“If the security company is not working it should go.That is as simple as that. You cannot have a security company that cannot protect the facility,” he said.

City Health manager, Ntombikayise Konile, said staff at the clinic were still traumatised and that some had even refused to go back to work.