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By Dimakatso Modipa

EFF subregion 5 leader Bongani King Ramontja and Carol Mnisi RCT members of Tshwane appealing for new clinic Mamelodi West, Tshwane
EFF subregion 5 leader Bongani King Ramontja and Carol Mnisi RCT members of Tshwane appealing for new clinic Mamelodi West, Tshwane

Mamelodi political activists Bongani King Ramontja and Oupa Mtshwene are appealing to the City of Tshwane municipality to build a new clinic in Mamelodi West.

This as the one presently serving the community can’t cope with the large number of people that flock to the facility daily.

The activists highlighted several complaints which residents have regarding the clinic, and they include shortage of staff, patients being turned away before being examined by a doctor and standing in long queues for more than three hours.

Although patients, especially the elderly get free primary health care, they complain about the fact that they are in most cases they are told to go back home due to shortage of staff at the clinic.

Many of them told Tshwane Talks that they woke up as early as 4 am to stand in the long queues only to be turned away and advised to come back the following day.

They pointed out that once it strikes the hour one in the afternoon, chances of getting medical treatment become slim.

Mtshweni, who is the leader of Concerned Mamelodi Residents for Service Delivery, told Tshwane Talks that the issue of turning people away after they have been standing in long queues for many hours has been persistent fir many years at the clinic and no one is willing to fix it.

Tshwane Talks has realised that the clinic starts operating officially at 7.30 am but patients get turned away as early as 1pm, even though the clinic officially closes at 15.30.
“We have only one clinic in Mamelodi West and one clinic in Mamelodi East, but the people of the Far East of Mamelodi have four clinics and currently a fifth one is being built for them in the Lusaka area,” complained Mtshweni.

He added that one of the clinics in the Far East of Mamelodi operates on a 24-hour basis.

“We have been pleading with Tshwane Metro to build a 24-hour service clinic for the residents of Mamelodi West to avoid these long queues and a situation whereby patients are turned away due to shortage of staff, but we are not being taken seriously in this regard,” bemoaned Mtshweni.

Mtshweni pointed out that officially, the waiting period at the Mamelodi West clinic is 90 minutes but patients have to wait for three hours or more in order to be first in line and then those who are unlucky among them get turned away.

Mtshweni told Tshwane Talks that their suggestion for patients to be allowed to get inside the clinic in the early hours of the morning so as to get warm in Winter before the clinic opens also fell on deaf ears.

“We call on the Gauteng health department to intervene on these issues of the clinic, especially the demand for a 24-hour service clinic like Stanza Bopape in the Far East of Mamelodi,” said Mtshweni.

A patient at the clinic who also happens to be a pensioner Josephina Tsiane told Tshwane Talks that though the clinic opens at 7 am, one has to wake up early and come to the clinic before then, otherwise one would be told to come back the following morning.

She complained about the fact that coming to the clinic early is no guarantee that one will get help as one might still be told to come back the following day.

“The community would be satisfied if mobile clinics were organised and more staff members hired,” said Tsiane.

Meanwhile, EFF leader in subregion 5 Bongani King Ramontja also complained that shortage of staff is a long-standing issue within the health department, but nothing has been done to mitigate the problem.

He bemoaned the fact that people spend more than the recommended time waiting in queues for medical treatment.

“Measures that have been out in place like the appointment system to avoid congestion and long waiting hours are not working as clinic staff members are overwhelmed by large numbers of clients on a daily basis,” said Ramontja.

“We have lots of doctors and nurses who are sitting at home without jobs, they must can be hired to come and work at the clinic,” he said.

Ramontja says the City of Tshwane Metro doesn’t care about the state of the clinics around townships as they have neglected them and placed all the responsibilities to manage these clinics on ordinary staff members.

Ramontja appealed to both the department of health and the City of Tshwane to build a new clinic in Mamelodi West so as to avoid all the problems at the one clinic that is serving residents presently.

City of Tshwane Metro spokesperson Lindela Mashigo told Tshwane Talks that patients are discouraged from waking up as early as 4 am to stand in long queues as the clinic only opens at 7h30 because should their condition worsen there won’t be anybody to assist them.

“The appointment system is in place whereby patients are distributed throughout the day and throughout the week,” he said.

He pointed out that staff overlap after 16h00 to finish off the number of patients who are already at the clinic after the official 16h00 closing time.

Mashigo said the matter of building a 24-hour service clinic should be directed to the Gauteng Department of Health.

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