Millions intended to be spent on the health needs of Eastern Cape residents have gone missing from d.
RESIDENTS of Bolobedu South travel long distances to reach their nearest health institutions in the hope of getting medical treatment - but most of the time without success.
The affected residents include people from Morapalala, Madumane, Morutji and Motupa.
The rural residents, who rely on clinics for medical assistance, say the doctors who are supposed to serve them never come to these facilities.
They say this has resulted in patients having to spend a long time at the clinics before returning home.
According to a resident who wished to remain anonymous, doctors who were supposed to work at four clinics in Bolobedu South had allegedly not been seen at work for more than a month.
Patients claimed they had waited for the doctors from very early in the morning until they were forced to leave after midday to return home before dark.
Sowetan investigations have revealed that the doctors - many of them foreigners - recorded in the attendance register at Tzaneen's Van Velden Hospital in Limpopo that they had provided services at the clinics when in fact they had failed to show up.
The staff at the four clinics report to their principals at Van Velden Hospital. A source said the hospital's chief executive was informed about this but had allegedly failed to take action against those involved.
"We are very concerned because the doctors are paid money out of people's taxes but they fail to help us. Nothing is being done about their unreliability," another source added.
Meanwhile, Van Velden Hospital's chief executive Helen Madike told Sowetan she was unaware of the doctors' alleged absence from the clinics. She promised to investigate the matter and take appropriate action.
She also called on communities in the Bolobedu South area to remain calm since "their problems would be quickly dealt with in a professional manner".