LETTER: Destroying GF Jooste hospital was easier than rebuilding it

2016-03-24 06:00

What happened to the GF Jooste hospital? This question is fundamental to many people who are without healt services.

The decision to the close down GF Jooste hospital without any immediate plan remains illogical and ill-advised. This has resulted in the congestion of the health and emergency services and continues to cause suffering to the people of Manenberg and Gugulethu.

After the closure of the hospital following the full commissioning of Mitchells’ Plain hospital, and without a clear plan for the site, the infrastructure has been vandalised.

The vandalism caused a lot of uproar from the community, civic movement and political parties.

In reaction to this the MEC of health, Premier Helen Zille and Mayor Patricia De Lille announced a way forward with regard to the GF Jooste hospital.

It became clear then that this was just a public stunt, for nothing concrete has come out of these announcements.

During the public announcement, though, they manufactured stories and imaginary plans.

The first of which was an announcement that as the land and physical infrastructure has been sold to the City of Cape Town, the city will turn it into a metro police training college. To some of us, it was clear the selling of the land and public infrastructure was meant to involve a middleman in order to increase the funding purse of the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The second announcement was a R3billion project to change the face of Manenberg by building a bigger hospital. Some of us found these statements insulting to our thinking as we are familiar with Manenberg and the fact that there was no bigger land other than the one GF Jooste hospital used to occupy.

During the State of the Province debate budget vote there was no mention of the R3Billion project. Defining the state of the province speech, official opposition leader Khaya Magaxa said: “White privilege and racial prejudice runs through every paragraph, sentence and full-stop of your address”.

Therefore, it was not a surprise that projects like rebuilding GF Jooste will for now be history.

During the debate on the SOPA as delivered by Helen Zille one of the DA speakers was MEC of Health Nomafrench Mbombo and she said: “Jooste hospital was closed because it was like an old age home.”

Comparing a government hospital to an old age home clearly demonstrated that what belongs to Black people has no value, hence the arbitrary closing down of the hospital without proper consultation.

The above statement was derogatory, to say the least because the surrounding community had to make use of the hospital for many years.

Thus, despite its shortfall it was still serving the community and closing it down without any clear plan was a disservice to the broader community.

In effect, the MEC insulted the community and the dedicated workers who were doing everything in their power to serve the working class communities.

But her statement found expression within the DNA of her party as A racist organisation, whose agenda is to defend white supremacy and polarise the working class communities.

Like many DA MECs, Mbombotried to compare the Western Cape with the rest of the ANC-governed provinces.

However, she forgets to explain the logic as to why Western Cape young people are not afforded an opportunity to study medicine in Cuba.

She failed to explain why the Western Cape policy on dialysis is different to other provinces, as a result, many patients are dying.

Masonwabe Sokoyi via email

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