Clinic is a hazard — neighbours

2013-07-16 00:00

THE residents of Agate Terrace, Copesville, fear for the safety of their children, saying the clinic on their street poses a health and safety risk.

But this has been denied by the Health Department, which says it has not been informed of any risks to the residents.

Previously, the Copesville Clinic was a medication pick-up point open twice a week, but due to electricity problems in the Copesville area, the clinic was made a full-time day clinic a year and a half ago.

Residents say they have been experiencing non-stop problems with crime, pollution and health risks. They have complained to numerous officials for the past year but nothing has been done.

Maria Krotane fears for the wellbeing of her nine-month-old baby: “One morning a woman passed out in my yard. We helped her and my neighbour got blankets for her. When the ambulance came to fetch her, they told us she had extremely drug-resistant TB. We weren’t even supposed to touch her. I have a baby at home; she could have got sick. Now I don’t like her to be out of the house.”

Children no longer play outside because parents fear they will get sick. Resident Veronica Padayachee told The Witness: “One of the nurses told me the children can’t come too close to the front gate as there are viruses in the air. Our children are not safe.”

Crime has increased since the clinic opened full time. Joyce Padayachee is tired of things being stolen out of her yard. “We never used to have problems with the clinic before, now you can’t even leave your washing on the line, as it gets stolen.

“[Last week] we finally caught a thief. He stole from many houses. We called the police, and they came and took him away.” The arrest, of a 17-year-old boy, who had posed as a patient, was confirmed by police.

Ali Shaik, an immediate neighbour of the clinic, spent R3 000 to put a corrugated tin wall between his property and the clinic. He also placed barbed wire around his property.

“[The patients] stand on top of the small stone garden at the clinic and reach over the wall to take my things. People line up in front of the clinic from 4 am. The clinic only opens at 8 am. If they need the bathroom, they urinate on my property. The place stinks,” said Shaik.

It is also claimed that clinic staff dispose of urine samples and nappies in the gutter outside the clinic, adding to the stench of the place.

“I have seen the nurses dump urine in the gutter. It runs right through my yard where my vegetable garden is. It attracts so many flies,” said Krotane, who is also an immediate neighbour of the clinic.

Bobby Padayachee said: “Sometimes there are dirty nappies thrown there. They clog up the gutter in my backyard and we have to clean it. It’s not right.”

The Witness was shown where urine has allegedly been dumped and where people have urinated on the walls of private property. There was a strong stench of urine in the area.

Sam Mkwanazi from the Department of Health said: “The department cannot comment on the allegations by residents of the foul smell from urine, as these are unfounded.

“We would like to further point out that we have never received any complaints from the clinic staff nor the patients, who utilise this facility on a day-to-day basis, about such a smell.

“Also, we cannot comment on the allegations of patients urinating on the properties of residents and waking residents in the early parts of the morning to use their bathroom facilities, as there is no evidence of such from our side.”

According to Mkwanazi, the clinic does not attract large numbers of patients, as those who previously attended Masons Clinic now go to Northdale Hospital.

There is no evidence that crime has increased in the area, although Mkwanazi encouraged residents to report crimes to the police.

Copesville councillor Thandi Ndlovu declined to comment.

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