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Closure of Hout Bay day hospital “punishment” for protest action – activist

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Hout Bay residents and community activists have raised serious concerns over the recent closure of their local day hospital. Residents and activists are saying that they fail to understand the City’s reasoning in closing the facility. Many interpret the closure as local government’s way of punishing residents for their recent activism and protest action.

Community activist Roscoe Jacobs has argued that both staff and the facility were safe during the protest action and that no threats were made to either. He reasoned that even the local school facility which was closer in proximity to the protests remained open.

“While the protests were underway in the community there was no threat to the day hospital or staff. The protests actually occurred on the doorstep of the primary school within the community and the primary school remained open…” said Jacobs.

“It’s mind boggling as to why the decision was taken to close the day hospital when there was assurance given to the manager of the facility that staff could access the community and that there’d be no threat or risk of insecurity with the protests being underway. Our understanding and interpretation as to why the clinic was closed is because we’re being punished by the government of the Western Cape.”

The Western Cape Health Department’s Natalie Watlington has said that the facility was initially closed due to staff being unable to access the facility. However, she further explained that staff safety remains a key concern for the department and as such, the facility will remain closed until further notice.

“This is the tenth incident of protesting in two years and we have to take the safety of our staff into account as well…the clinic will remain closed, but we are in discussion with heads of the department of health about the plan going forward. We will put out that communication next week,” said Watlington.

Jacobs is calling on the provincial government to reopen the facility, saying there’s no rational basis for it to remain closed.  He indicated that community grievances are being taken to court and that accordingly there’s no current threat of further protest action, meaning that there’s no threat to the facility or staff.

“I’ve had elderly people telling me that they don’t have access to their insulin and their tablets for diabetes as well as people who are asthmatic who don’t have access to their pumps and so forth. So, we have taken a decision on Monday evening to access the courts and to ensure that the issues we have with the Western Cape government are dealt with through the courts.

We’ve taken them to court to ensure the housing challenges are being addressed and we are appearing with them on 1 October.
There’s no need for the continuation of the closure of the day hospital because there’s no threat of protest or need for protest…we’ve taken a legal route and we’ve done this as a community.”

“We are calling on the Western Cape government to stop punishing us as a community for standing up for our rights and for our dignity to be restored.”

Watlington indicated that measures are in place to ensure that those on the chronic dispensary system will receive their medication.

The Western Cape Health Department has urged residents who are not receiving medication to make urgent contact with them.
Patients in the affected Hout Bay area experiencing emergencies are asked to access services at the Hout Bay Main Road Clinic in the meantime.

VOC


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