Kariega clinic reopens after residents volunteer to act as security guards

Ten residents have volunteered to rotate guarding the clinic until the stolen fence is replaced

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Kariega resident Lungeka Wiliams was among 100 community members at a meeting on Tuesday night to discuss the closure of Mabandla Clinic. The clinic staff returned to work on Wednesday morning after residents volunteered to guard the facility. Photo: Thamsanqa Mbovane

Nurses at Mabandla Clinic in Kariega, Nelson Mandela Bay, returned to work on Wednesday morning. The clinic, which serves about 500 patients daily, has been closed since 11 January after nurses refused to work at the facility due to security concerns after the perimeter fence was stolen.

Last week, nurses told GroundUp they fear for their safety because in the past their colleagues were robbed, and a clinic without a fence would be targeted by criminals.

The nurses’ return to work follows a meeting with about 100 community members on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the clinic’s closure. During the meeting, ten residents volunteered to guard the clinic on a rotational basis.

The meeting was chaired by ward councillor Sabelo Mabuda (ANC).

Lungeka Willams said: “We have a high mast light at the back of the clinic… if it can be fixed, things will be better. When the alarm rang at the clinic, we could see people by looking through the window. But now, the high mast has been dead for years.”

KwaNobuhle CPF chairperson Siphiwo Vusani agreed to donate 15 reflector vests and 15 torches for the volunteer guards. “The police also promised to be visible in the area. As the fence is going to be installed in two months, we must ensure nurses are safe.” he said.

Vusani said there were also schools in KwaNobuhle that needed monitoring. “Let us stand up and save what we have … we don’t have stadiums or halls as they were stripped [by criminals],” he said.

Councillor Mabuda said the clinic staff felt that “things would be much better” if there were security guards.

The volunteer guards were visible at the clinic on Wednesday morning.

Eastern Cape Health Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo told GroundUp that the matter was a top priority for them. “Emergency procurement processes have already ensued to ensure urgent installation of proper boundary fencing,” he said.

TOPICS:  Crime Health

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