The City of Cape Town has called on the public to come forward with information on Friday morning’s fire at a clinic in Strand. The Ikwezi Clinic in Nomzamo were set alight at 2:30am, resulting in extensive damage to the roof and the clinic interior, including the pharmacy and records room, where patient folders are kept. Initial damage estimates put the cost of repairs at R10 million, but this could well change. The South African Police Service is investigating the matter, as indications on scene were that the fire was started deliberately, possibly by a petrol bomb.
The City of Cape Town’s Mayco member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien said he has secured a R50 000 reward for information that will lead to the arrest and successful conviction of those responsible for the apparent arson attack.
“Staff members who arrived at work this morning were visibly distraught and traumatized. We will arrange for them to receive counselling and other staff support services, in line with the City’s Employee Wellness Programme,” he said.
“This senseless act of destruction will have ripple effects far beyond the damaged brick and mortar and we condemn it in the strongest terms.”
Ikhwezi is the biggest City owned health facility, with on average 500 patients seen to per day.
The facility also has the biggest cohort of patients on Anti-Retroviral Treatment (5 238) and treats approximately 500 clients for Tuberculosis per year. The clinic will be closed indefinitely until repairs are completed.
In the interim, residents will have to make use of the Nomzamo Community Health Centre, which is the only facility near Ikhwezi, which could affect continuity of care.
Despite the City of Cape Town’s attempts to reduce waiting times via the introduction of an appointment system, residents are now reliant on a single facility where there will be crowding and increased waiting times.
“I visited the site earlier and am saddened by the malicious damage to public property. Files, Chairs and essential medical equipment have all been destroyed by the fire. I am deeply concerned about the plight of the community of Nomzamo who dearly need this facility,” he said.
“My directorate will work tirelessly to ensure that the community receives healthcare services to minimize the impact the closure of the clinic will have on all residents.”
Badroodien urged residents and community leaders to come forward with any information they may have about what transpired in this incident.
“It is an indictment on our society when community facilities are targeted with such ease and no regard for the hundreds of people who pass through the doors daily for life-saving treatment.
“Sadly, until those responsible for the destruction of this and other community facilities are brought to book, this incident will not be the last of its kind.”