Concerns have been raised about the increasing number of burglaries at health facilities in Khayelitsha. At least three health centres have been broken into recently, resulting in crippled essential services.
The City of Cape Town and the Khayelitsha Health Forum (KHF) have condemned the break-ins.
Site B Youth Clinic and Kuyasa Community Health Centre were broken into recently, with Nolungile and Town Two clinics also having been targeted.
The youth clinic was broken into on Friday July 21, resulting in extensive damage. Barely a week later, the clinic suffered another attempted break-in, before repairs could be completed.
On Saturday July 29 Kuyasa was hit by the criminals, with extensive damage being caused to the building, including electrical cables being cut off.
Mayoral committee member for area east, Anda Ntsodo, said at the end of May, the Town Two Community Health Centre had been burgled, with extensive damage being done to the property, and computers and medical equipment stolen.
“It is a growing pattern, it hampers essential services and is crippling the state health facilities. This was the third burglary at Town Two recently.
“The impact of these criminal acts is widespread and potentially devastating. The City insurer stated that further claims could be repealed if this spate of break-ins is not halted,” he said.
Mr Ntsodo said the reception area was always the worst affected.
He said seven computers were stolen, which meant staff were unable to look up patient information, leading to delays and an increase in waiting time for the patients.
He said data capturing was also compromised, leading to poor performance against set targets.
“Every time a burglary takes place, patients attending that facility on the day have to be deferred until the police investigation is concluded. Only emergencies can be attended to, which has a negative impact on the clients. A certain amount of valuable data is lost with every break-in,” he said.
He added that to replace stolen equipment could take weeks, jeopardising the quality of service provided to patients. He said the burglaries also affected staff morale.
Mr Ntsodo called on people living around the facilities to stand up and guard them as they would their personal assets.
KHF chairperson Mzanywa Ndibongo called on the City to put 24-hour security at the clinics.
He said some clinics like Town Two were situated in crime hot spots and that while the forum had discussed the security issue with the City, nothing had yet been done about it. “The challenge lies with the City. There is security in the day but not at night. There should be 24-hour security at the City’s facilities. They do not care about our facilities. That is not healthy,” he said.
“We cannot allow criminals to vandalise the (health facilities). Maybe we need to mobilise the communities and make them aware how crucial these facilities are,” he said.