Western Province premier Helen Zille went beyond the call of duty to ease backed up traffic outside .
The Limpopo government’s failure to pay rent to an NGO has forced the closure of a clinic in the Sekhukhune region.
Though they had local residents’ interests at heart, they would not allow the clinic at the old Jane Furse hospital buildings to operate unless health authorities paid R17,500 a month for rent, Jane Furse Memorial Village NGO spokesman Tebogo Phasha said on Thursday.
About 5,000 people were affected.
“We feel pity for poor patients who come here daily and get no help since we closed the clinic on Monday. We have been negotiating with nurses since last year to pay us because the clinic is using electricity, water and toilets, which are paid and maintained by our NGO,” said Phasha.
Since the Jane Furse hospital relocated to the new premises, over 5km away about 10 years ago, the old building was returned to its original owners, the Anglican Church. However a clinic for outpatients was left at the old building.
“Now that the government no longer pays for water and electricity they must rent the space they are using and pay for these basics. To prove our humanity we still have goods and items belonging to the department of health still stored in other parts of our buildings,” he said.
Jameson Mogodumo, who accompanied his elderly mother to the clinic on Thursday, was disappointed to find the clinic closed with no signs of nurses.
“I guided my mother, 81, on foot for 3km up the mountains from Ga-Molepane village to come here for her chronic medication, but here now the clinic is closed.
“Walking for another 6km at her age and failing health to the hospital, or to another clinic at Madibong or Dichweung, is impossible - and we have no money for taxis.
“Nurses did not even inform us the clinic was closing. We would not have wasted our energies coming here.”
When asked about the clinic’s closure provincial health department spokesman Joe Maila said he had no knowledge of this.
“I will investigate the matter and come back to you”, he said.