New R12m clinic still un­staffed a year later

Poor vil­lagers have to pay to travel to an­other fa­cil­ity

Daily Dispatch - - News - By SIKHO NTSHOBANE

NEIGH­BOURS Cecilia Njok­weni, 79, and Caro­line Ngquba, 74, are forced to spend R36 of their mea­gre old age grant to travel nearly 15km along a pot­ho­lerid­dled bumpy gravel road on the back of a loaded bakkie when­ever they need to ac­cess health care.

This is de­spite hav­ing a new mul­ti­mil­lion rand clinic on their doorstep in Tik­i­tiki vil­lage, on the out­skirts of Tsolo.

Mean­while the Tik­i­tiki clinic, which was fi­nally com­pleted last year in April at a cost of R12-mil­lion after con­struc­tion started in 1997, re­mains noth­ing but a white ele­phant.

This means the two el­derly vil­lagers, along with hun­dreds of their neigh­bours, still have to travel to the Dr Mal­izo Mpehle Memo­rial Hospi­tal on the other side of the town.

Njok­weni and Ngquba, who both use walk­ing sticks, have to travel to the hospi­tal at least twice a month to get med­i­ca­tion for arthri­tis.

When the Satur­day Dis­patch vis­ited Tik­i­tiki vil­lage earlier this week, sev­eral res­i­dents lashed out at East­ern Cape health author­i­ties for not car­ing about their plight.

“This vil­lage is huge as we have about 2 600 house­holds,” said com­mu­nity leader Bless Rosi.

“We asked for a clinic be­cause peo­ple do not work here, but now we have this doll [clinic] that we can’t do any­thing about. It’s as if this gov­ern­ment hates poor peo­ple like us.”

The fa­cil­ity is manned by guards from Tyeks Se­cu­rity, who were only brought in after thieves stole water tanks and part of the fenc­ing.

Pro­vin­cial health spokesman Sizwe Ku­pelo at­trib­uted the prob­lem to is­sues of staffing.

He said the clinic was among the eight that were re­cently con­structed by the depart­ment.

“We are busy with the process of staffing them [clin­ics],” he said, adding that the clinic would be opened as soon as the process was fi­nalised. — sikhon@dis­patch.co.za

Pic­ture: SIKHO NTSHOBANE

FED UP: Tik­i­tiki vil­lage res­i­dents, from left, com­mu­nity leader Bless Rosi, Maza Phanda, Caro­line Ngquba and Cecilia Njok­weni still have to spend R36 to travel nearly 15km to get to the near­est hospi­tal de­spite hav­ing this R12-mil­lion state-of-the-art clinic built by gov­ern­ment in their vil­lage early last year

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