For the last nine months, more than R750 000 in insurance claims had been submitted by the City of Cape Town’s Health Directorate due to an ongoing cycle of crime and vandalism at local clinics, the City said on Tuesday.
This, in addition to an already increased budget for security at the City’s health facilities.
“People need to start realising that the money we are spending on safeguarding clinics and fixing damage caused by the very communities who we are trying to serve has a negative impact on the quality of the health services that they’re receiving,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Health Siyabulela Mamkeli.
Between July 1 2015 and March 31 2016, the Directorate had submitted 104 insurance claims which included 77 for incidents of theft and/or burglary and 16 related to damage associated with vandalism.
The two clinics clocking up the most claims were Mzamomhle Clinic in Brown’s Farm in Philippi with nine and Nolungile Clinic in Khayelitsha with six.
Nolungile was the site of one of the recent attacks on a City clinic. Also targetted was Kuyasa and Zakhele clinics in Khayelitsha, where at the latter, over two nights, criminals made off with three computers, 50 white plastic chairs, and damaged the clinic’s front door and security gate.
Also recently affected was the Newfields satellite clinic in Hanover Park where criminals damaged the roof and stole pipes and taps, leaving the facility without water and electricity.
“We are already spending a significant portion of our budget on security measures and insurance claims – funds that could have been used to improve service delivery.
“These are only some of the most recent examples, but crime is an ongoing headache at many of our clinics,” said Mamkeli.
“It severely affects service delivery. Without computers or access to electricity, staff have to revert to manual data capturing and retrieval of client files, which slows down the rate at which patients can be attended to. You cannot run the clinic when the water supply is disrupted, so clients have to be turned away.”
These incidents took place despite an increase in related budget from R8,2 million in the 2014/15 financial year to just over R10 million for the implementation of measures such as the installation of burglar bars, fencing, alarm systems, and the employment of security guards.
“This wilful damage is demoralising for our staff and increases the risk of clients defaulting on life-saving medication when clinic operations are affected,” said Mamkeli.
“I condemn these callous acts in the strongest terms because once again the most vulnerable among us are most affected by the selfish actions of a few criminals.”[Source: African News Agency]