Residents oppose plans to close clinics

A petition signed by more than 2 700 people opposing the possible closure of Rocklands and Eastridge clinics has been handed to the City of Cape Town.

Queue outside Eastridge clinic.

This follows much speculation, protests and a petition being handed to mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross by Good proportional representation (PR) councillor Saul Markgraff, at Eastridge Clinic on Thursday January 20.

The petition had 2 709 signatures.

Mr Markgraff said the clinics provided essential services to the community, ranging from primary healthcare, family planning, HIV testing, cancer screening, tuberculosis and other health services.

“Good opposes the proposed closure of clinics which provide basic healthcare to the people of Mitchell’s Plain by the DA-run administration in the City of Cape Town,” he said.

The facilities also provided Covid-19 screening during the national lockdown.

Mothers standing in the queue outside Eastridge clinic said they could not afford R150 for a vaccination at the pharmacy clinics. They could also not afford transport from Town Centre to any other clinic.

An Eastridge mother of three children, aged nine months, 3 and 6, said all of her children had received their vaccinations in accordance with their Road to Health booklets.

“I also attend here for family planning,” she said.

A woman had walked from Harmony Village to get her TB treatment.

Ms Van der Ross said they were considering how best to arrange facilities and resources to deliver a “comprehensive healthcare services package” in the relevant communities.

“This process will include community engagement to ensure healthcare services are designed around the actual needs of residents,” she said.

Ms Van der Ross said the review of services had been conducted in accordance with a January 2021 council resolution which sought to transfer City health functions to the provincial government, which is the constitutional mandate holder for primary healthcare services.

“The City aims to ensure that the transfer of functions to the Western Cape Government is done with the best interests of residents at heart, and in full consultation with residents,” she said.

The handover followed pickets at the two clinics on Monday January 10 (“Eastridge and Rocklands clinics face possible closure”, Plainsman January 12) by Good party members and ANC members on Friday January 14 at Rocklands and Eastridge clinics.

ANC Mitchell’s Plain members protest at United Democratic Front monument, across from Rocklands clinic.
A close-up of the message on one of the placards.