Disgruntled community members of Marselle waited outside the local clinic on Tuesday after they were told that the clinic was closed due to a toilet problem that was reported three weeks ago and still was not fixed.
South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) members took the matter into their own hands as they felt it was an ongoing problem that needed immediate attention from the department. Sanco chairperson Thembisile Billy said that he heard about the problem from a community member and went to the clinic to see for himself and was appalled by the state that the toilet was in.
“I was really shocked that this toilet looked this dirty and it hasn’t been flushing for three weeks now going to a month. It’s so sad seeing that a health facility could look like this and as Sanco members we have decided to intervene and shut down the clinic, because what we have seen in here is a health hazard to our people. We also heard that people use the field outside, should they need to use the toilet because they can no longer use the toilet inside,” Billy said.
Attempts were previously made by the sister in charge at the clinic to let the sub district manager in Grahamstown, Nikiwe Khanise, know about the situation, but Billy said the manager kept on saying that the maintenance company that works with them, Sakhiwo, will come and fix it.
“Prior to this we had requested a meeting with Khanise about other things that are a problem in this clinic such as the fencing and the fact that they don’t have cleaners that are hired full time to clean the clinic. She came, but didn’t want to meet with us, she had a meeting with the nurses instead but our list of grievances was handed to her. When we called her for an answer she asked for a time frame of six months,” Billy said.
“We are not satisfied with the way that things are done in this clinic, we know that interviews for cleaners were conducted in June already, but still there is no cleaner six months later. The floor has stains that need to be cleaned, the state of this clinic is really not good for anyone who comes here for health reasons,” Billy said.
After sending a message to Khanise and calling the district department of health in Port Elizabeth they were told that the district was not aware of the matter, but they would resolve it urgently. At around 11am on the same day the maintenance company arrived to fix the water pipes.
“We are happy that they fixed the problem. Now that we have fixed phase one of the lists of our grievances now we waiting for the department to fix the issue of the clinic not having permanent cleaners,” Billy said.
BY NTOMBENTSHA MSUTU