Jane Sithole, MPL
Spokesperson on Health and Social Development:
The department of Health seems to have forgotten about the community of Hlalanikahle’s desperate need for their Community Health Centre (CHC) to be re-opened.
The clinic was closed last year following recommendations from the department of Labour due to problems relating to infrastructure, dysfunctional equipment and medication that had expired.
Since then, there has been no sign of any repair or maintenance work being done to the clinic nor has there been any indication of when it will re-open.
For those who used to use this clinic, even state health care has become a luxury because they now forced to travel to Siphosensimbi CHC which, although close by, services a population of almost 50 000. The clinic refers its critical cases to the Witbank Hospital and Impungwe Hospital which is just over 32km away.
Irrespective of its seven consulting rooms, Siphosensimbi gets overly crowded and patients have to wait for more than four hours to get help. This, while the department of health continues to underspend year after year on conditional grants allocated from the national treasury.
Last year, the department failed to spend over R223 million reserved for hospital revitalisation and lost R65 million reserved for improving health infrastructure. This money was returned to national treasury and communities such as Hlalanikahle are left battling to access even the most basic health care.
The DA will put questions to the department of health asking MEC Gillion Mashego when the Hlalanikahle CHC will be reopened. We will also ask MEC Mashego to provide a detailed action plan for the communities affected by the department’s failure to spend its grants.
As the Legislature prepares to sit in eMalahleni in March, the DA hopes that this opportunity will be used to see first-hand how it is ordinary people who suffer when the government fails. Until then, the DA will continue fighting to ensure that the clinic is revamped, reopened and fully operational by March.