Angry residents shut down clinic

2020-01-29 06:01
Burning tyres on Willowfontein Road on Sunday.PHOTOS: LETHIWE MAKHANYA

Burning tyres on Willowfontein Road on Sunday.PHOTOS: LETHIWE MAKHANYA

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“We will not stop until we get what we want.”

These are the words of Bhakabha community members in Wilowfontein who are complaining about the road construction that has been put on hold for the past eight years.

The angry residents blocked Willowfontein Road with burning tyres on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning following an “unsuccessful” meeting that was held on Sunday.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a way forward between residents, the ward councillor and the Department of Transport, but no one from the department attended.

This angered community members further, resulting in them storming out in the middle of the meeting.

Ward councillor Thabiso Molefe tried to explain to community members that he tried to get a department representative to be present, but he was unsuccessful.

“They all gave me the run around and my calls went unanswered. I even left messages but they never got back to me.

I am also disappointed with how they have handled the matter, but I will try and set up another meeting soon,” he said.

The protesters also shut down Willowfontein Clinic on Monday and Tuesday.

Patients were left stranded on Monday and Tuesday as nurses could not enter the clinic.

When Echo visited the area on Monday, nurses where waiting on Willowfontein Road and others were sitting in their cars.

The nurses eventually left the and reported to Mbalenhle Clinic and Public Order Police were then called to disperse the protestors with rubber bullets.

Residents who spoke to Echo said that they decided to close the clinic because the road that they are complaining about is a route to the clinic as well.

“We are tired of talking now. We will not stop this until our problems are attended to.

We have run out of patience now as we have been waiting for eight years for this road to be constructed.

What made us more angry is that no one bothered to attend the meeting on Sunday.

That alone shows that they do not take us seriously and they do not care about us.”

“We are tired, it ends here!”said a resident who requested anonymity.

Another resident said: “They have pushed us too far now.

We are very angry and we want answers. Actually we want a date as to when they are going to start construction.”

Last week Echo reported on the matter after the residents marched to the ward councillor’s office to submit a memorandum regarding the eight-year delay on the Bhakabha Road construction.

KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health spokesperson Noluthando Nkosi said the department regrets the disruption to normal service delivery where staff members from Willowfontein Clinic were prevented from entering the clinic by community members who were protesting.

“Local South African Police Services were present during the protest and made efforts to calm the crowd down,” she said.

“The situation is now calm and back to normal, the local leadership confirmed that no strike is expected.

All staff members have been relocated back to Willowfontein Clinic and clients inside the clinic are being attended to.

The department will continue monitoring the situation.”

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