Cape Town clinics targeted by petty criminals

Tammy Petersen, News24

Cape Town - The Manenberg Clinic was plunged into darkness after cable thieves struck the council facility earlier this week, leaving staff without any telephone or computer lines.

City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for health, Siyabulela Mamkeli, said the electricity supply had since been restored.

However, millions were being spent on security infrastructure and on the replacement or repair of damaged infrastructure caused by vandalism and crime.

“The bulk of our maintenance work is reactive, which means we have less money to spend on general infrastructure improvements,” he said in a statement.

Mamkeli said clinic services were badly affected earlier this year due to gang violence, but a “semblance of normality had returned”.

“However, it would appear to be a case of one step forward, two steps back with this latest incident of vandalism.

“The provision of primary healthcare services is challenging enough. To expect staff to function optimally in an environment without access to electricity or communication infrastructure is simply unfair.”

This was not the only health facility targeted by petty thieves.

Infrastructure at Nolungile Clinic in Khayelitsha was damaged in an attempted burglary last week.

“Nothing was stolen, but the criminals damaged the perimeter beam at the back of the clinic, as well as two windows, a burglar bar and a wooden back door.

“The security gate and door of a prefabricated structure belonging to a NGO was also damaged,” he said.

Criminals also targeted a clinic in NY1, Gugulethu, five times in one week during July.

“They targeted a container belonging to a NGO on site and also tried to break into the main clinic, causing damage in the process.”

He urged residents to contact the City’s Safety and Security Directorate should they have information.

“It is time for the community to turn their backs on these criminals,” Mamkeli said.