The Hartbeespoort Clinic, a facility which services a large volume of patients per day under extremely challenging conditions is due for an upgrade, according to the Provincial Department of Health.
This welcomed development comes after the Hartbeespoort Community Development Initiative (HCDI), a locally based nonprofit company, received complaints from community members about the current poor state of the Clinic which services patients mainly from the local RDP settlements, informal settlements, plots, and farming communities.
In December 2018, HCDI lodged a formal complaint to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) highlighting several human rights violations, as well as the deplorable physical state of the Clinic which was reportedly initially built as a makeshift Clinic to service the residents of Schoemansville.
In September 2018, HCDI held an Anti-racism March which sought to bring to the fore the rampant and unabated occurrence of discriminatory practices being perpetuated on workers around the Hartbeespoort area and members of the public in general. In a Memorandum of Grievances which was handed over to various government departments, the marchers called on Government, including the Presidency and the Department of Health to urgently investigate key issues as well as human rights violations reportedly taking place relentlessly in Hartbeespoort and surrounding areas.
In a letter to the SAHRC, responding to HCDI’s complaint dated 17 April 2019, North West Department of Health Administrator, Jeanette Hunter acknowledged the challenges faced at the Clinic and indicated that the Department had plans to begin construction of a new clinic in the 2020/2021 financial year.
“The Hartbeespoort clinic was previously under Madibeng Local Municipality and was handed over to the North West Department of Health in 2016. The infrastructure is very dilapidated and renovation could not be done due to financial challenges. There are plans to prioritise the construction of this clinic in the 2020/2021 financial year. In the meantime, the district is in the process of the procurement and erection of a park home,” said Hunter.
She further explained that a cleaner would soon be appointed to maintain the cleanliness of the current Clinic. Community members had complained to HCDI about how the floor in the Clinic’s reception area was often filthy and how toilets were unfit for human use. “There are no cleaners at the facility because there was no cleaner post from the municipality. Cleaners from nearby facilities have been used to assist from time to time. Recruitment process was started on 07 March 2019 and is at the stage of approval”, said Hunter.
HCDI Spokesperson, Russell Baloyi welcomed the Department’s response and said this was a positive development which would be of great benefit to patients utilising the Clinic’s services. “As HCDI we are thrilled that the Provincial Health Department has indeed acknowledged the concerns brought to us by community members and we look forward to a new and improved facility that will positively benefit the local community as well as the staff members themselves,” said Baloyi.
“If anything, the current physical state of the clinic is an eyesore and a health hazard to patients and staff alike. We hope that come the 2020/2021 financial year the Department will not slack on its promise to the local community and that a new facility will be up and running as early as possible. Furthermore, we trust that complaints around a negative attitude towards patients by some staff members will be addressed,” added Baloyi.
HCDI is further asking community members for their input regarding their experiences at the Clinic, where they think the new Clinic should be located, and whether a mobile Clinic is necessary in Hartbeespoort. Submissions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The submissions will be handed over to the SAHRC so that community input can be included in the Department’s plans for the new clinic.
For more information contact Hartbeespoort Community Development Initiative on 012 253 0094 / 073 834 3226 / 072 448 2225