RESIDENTS of Seshego Zone 1 outside Polokwane are demanding the refurbishment and re-opening of a clinic in their area as they express dissatisfaction over having to go to the Seshego Hospital for primary health care.
It is said the community clinic has not been operating since 2007, forcing residents to travel to neighbouring communities for assistance. Ward 13 councillor and EFF member Oupa Ramaphoko said residents were being deprived their constitutional rights.
“Each and every community deserves to have a clinic and that is what the constitution says. Whether the clinic is regarded as an old facility that dates back to the apartheid era, we all deserve to have a clinic. The hospital they are talking about is nothing more but a disaster as it does not even have the capacity. Long before there were any extensions in Seshego (referring to the newly built houses of Lithuli Park, Legae Labatho and Juju Valley), we were receiving services from our own community clinics. Now they want that old hospital to maintain all residents that come from Seshego, Moletji and Lithuli Park. This is not going to work. That hospital is nothing but an old facility and it has been incompetent for years in rendering quality services,” he said.
Ramaphoko said they felt as if they had been left out as the department prioritises other areas. He said they had written numerous letters the department with very little success.
“They have been telling us the same excuse that they want to consider rural areas first. What we do not understand with their argument is that they think that people in urban areas do not get sick. This whole thing is some sort of political plot to make the people of Seshego suffer. They have been dragging their feet intentionally,” said Ramaphoko.
He accused the African National Congress-led provincial government of punishing the residents of Seshego for voting for the EFF during the last municipal elections.
“What they are simply saying is that since EFF took over ward 13, services should not go there. How can our government turn a blind eye in investigating these kinds of issues?
“The issue of healthcare is a very serious matter and we do not know how they can be so cruel. This hospital is not safe; people are even scared to go there because the maintenance in that facility is very low.
“The manager of the hospital is always crying for assistance but no one is willing to assist her,” said Ramaphoko.
Department of Health spokesperson Derrick Kganyago confirmed that they had received complaints but they could not assist Zone 1 residents as the renovation is not feasible in terms of the department’s budget allocation for the development of rural areas.
“They have indeed come to us for assistance but we have explained to them that why the clinic is closed. We did not close the clinic without any plan because we also opened a gateway clinic at the Seshego Hospital. At the moment we cannot regulate the renovation because we do not simply jump into a project without a plan. According to the plan we have at the moment, there is a dire need for clinics in rural areas. To be honest with you, there are a lot of rural areas that we are considering now.
“So we cannot just simply jump them and give people of Seshego a clinic without first providing those that had been requested in the past. The clinic they are talking about has long been shut down and the only thing that has made us move from there was that the facility was not complying with some of the safety regulations,” said Kganyago.