Democratic Alliance Eastridge ward councillor, Solomon Philander, refuted claims that Eastridge and Rocklands clinics will be closed.
This follows a protest by members of the Good political party on Monday January 10 at Eastridge clinic after reports in the community of the possible closure of the two clinics. There has also been a report in the Daily Voice, “Two clinics to shut: City’s ’secret plans’ for Mitchell’s Plain facilities”, January 6.
“I can assure the public that nowhere did the City of Cape Town say they will close the clinic,” Mr Philander told the Plainsman.
“As a councillor there is nothing wrong to assess services in various areas and to see how one can improve on services or review them,” he said.
Mr Philander said they are absolutely against closing any health care facility in Mitchell’s Plain.
“However, I support the review of services to improve access to health care as per Section 27 of our Constitution,” he said.
This section of the Constitution deals with every citizen’s right to have access to health care services, including reproductive health care; sufficient food and water; and social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants, appropriate social assistance.
Mr Philander said the statements regarding the clinic’s closure were false. “This is nothing less than desperate attempts to light a fire that was put out on November 1, when the Democratic Alliance was given a mandate by the voters to serve all people in Mitchell’s Plain,” he said.
Patricia van der Ross, mayoral committee member for community service and health, told the Plainsman that a consultative process is under way on how best the City could consolidate health services in the interest of the communities, which is being done in consultation with the provincial Department of Health.
“This process to re-evaluate the services is ongoing, and no final timelines have been decided,” she said.
She said there would be community engagement once there was greater clarity on the way forward.
Patients in the queue at Monday’s protest at the clinic who were recorded on Facebook posts said the clinic could not be closed because “Where would we go?”
Mothers stood in the queue breastfeeding their children outside the clinic. They said they could not afford more taxi fares from the Town Centre to travel elsewhere in Mitchell’s Plain.
According to council minutes dated January 28 last year, the City’s clinic network was due to be rationalised or optimised to reduce the financial burden on the City and thereby improve service efficiency, including “negotiating the transfer of shared facilities and mothballing of facilities in close proximity by June 2022, where this process must be concluded and should be appropriately recorded in the Service Level Agreement (SLA) that will be signed with the provincial department of health”.
The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Al Jama-ah, Congress of the People (COPE), Democratic Independent Party (DIP), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Freedom Front + (FF+) recorded their votes against this decision.
Good proportional representative (PR) councillor, Saul Markgraff, said there had been no public participation on the possible closure of either clinic. “This is an absolute disregard for the people of Mitchell’s Plain.
“Many residents have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in the last two years. Many people are struggling to put food on the tables,” he said.
Mr Markgraff said residents who cannot afford taxi fare, due to high unemployment rates in the area, would have to walk far distances to access these services, and may fall victim to crime.
He said Ms Van der Ross did not deny talks of possible closure mentioned in the media and in her response.
Mr Markgraff said residents should watch the City’s “Have Your Say” web page to see when matters go up for public participation and will have to reject the suggested plans of the City.
“The public can also now influence the plans by submitting a petition to the mayor, for him to consider revisiting this proposed plan,” he said.