More access needed

2016-09-21 06:00
THE small locked gate at the Phekolong Hospital which the community wants open. Photo: Supplied

THE small locked gate at the Phekolong Hospital which the community wants open. Photo: Supplied

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BOHLOKONG. Z The community of Bohlokong near Bethlehem has been begging the Dihlabeng Local Municipality and the management of the Phekolong Hospital for months to open the small gate on Phekolong Street, but this has not happened.

Apparently, they have to go round the hospital yard to get access to the main gate, which, according to them, is too far for many people.

Three months ago one of the local residents, Thabo Thuswa, created a petition on Facebook. A total of 148 signatures were obtained.

The petition reads: “It has now been a long time since the small gate at the Phekolong Hospital has been closed. The community is required to walk a long distance to the main gate to enter the hospital.

“Many people do not have cars and are therefore suffering severely. Some have been stabbed, some have asthma, some got burned and some have broken legs and can’t really travel that long journey. It’s winter now and it is really unfair that our own people have to travel such a long distance in order to get help.

“We want the management of the hospital to reconsider their decision and open the gate because everyone has the constitutional right to basic health care. Attempts have been made but have proven to be unsuccessful.

“By signing this online petition you will be helping and restoring the dignity of the Dihlabeng community”

Thuswa said he created the petition for awareness and said they want to fight until they get what they want.

“We believe that the people’s power is more powerful than the voice of the people in power,” he said.

However, the newly elected executive mayor of the local municipality is singing a different tune. She told the community of Ward 8 that the gate would not be opened.

“We know that the problem of the gate had been raised by different people, but our response has always been that the gate would not be opened anytime soon,” she said.

She said the reason behind the permanent closing of the gate was that people who had been committing unlawful acts inside the hospital premises, gained easy access when the gate had been open.

“Medication had been stolen and those people made use of the small gate to go out.

“The second reason was that the unruly behaviour of some people in the location spilled over into the premises when the gate had been open. This posed a danger to nurses and patients.”

She said they are still negotia-ting with the department to provide security at the gate.

“Before we get that, we will have to sign an agreement with the department.

“People should know that the gate was not closed to deny them access,” she said.

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