By Thakira Desai
The community of Hanover Park on the Cape Flats recently voiced concerns about the Health Department’s decision to relocate the Hanover Park Day Hospital amid concerns that healthcare services would be inaccessible to the community. The department insists the relocation is for the residents own well-being amid rampant gang violence. As in many parts of the Cape Flats, residents have for years been plagued by often fatal gang violence, in which rival gangs spar over territory, imprisoning residents, many of whom needing to regularly walk to the nearby day hospital.
Speaking to VOC’s Breakfast Beat, communications officer for the Department of Health in the Western Cape, Monique Johnstone, confirmed that there is a plan in place that will see the facility relocate approximately 1km from the current site, but maintains that it will remain within Hanover Park and would, therefore, not inconvenience patients.
She says that the decision to relocate the clinic came as fears of gang violence between two rival gangs continues to plague the community, leaving the lives of patients hanging in balance if they venture to the clinic.
While residents are still able to attend the current facility, Johnson noted that the new site, while it has been identified, is still under discussion.
“Last year, we had two community engagements and we are going to schedule another one, which is going to be scheduled shortly, to iron out issues around having a proposed new facility and the current reduced hours at our community centre,” she stated.
In light of the march hosted by community members against the relocation, she said the department is aware of the march but that to date no memorandum has been brought forward.
“The identified site is for the benefit of the community; we are looking at providing them with modernised and quality healthcare, because the current facility is old. It is also for their safety; it is still going to be within Hanover Park, just not where it is situated at the moment.”