City of Cape Town withdraws services in Samora Michel, closes clinic temporarily

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Xanthea Limberg  (Jaco Marais)
Xanthea Limberg (Jaco Marais)
  • This week it emerged that one City of Cape Town official was shot and killed while they were busy repairing a collapsed sewer in Helen Joseph Street, Samora Machel.
  • The City has withdrawn its services and has closed the clinic in the area temporarily.
  • The EFF has vowed to start mobilising the community to protest against the clinic closure.

The City of Cape Town has withdrawn its workers from Samora Michel in Cape Town after community members turned on City officials, and vowed only to return its services once the area's violence has calmed down. 

This week, it emerged that one City official was shot and killed while they were busy repairing a collapsed sewer in Helen Joseph Street, Samora Machel.

The City has withdrawn its services and has closed the clinic in the area temporarily.

Mayoral Committee Member for Community and Health Services Zahid Badroodien told News24 the decision to close the clinic was not easy.

"It pains me to see the clinic closed, but we can't have our staff putting their lives in danger. We have to be mindful of the services that are delivered by the City, and we will never expect our officials to go into violent situations."

READ | City of Cape Town official shot, colleagues robbed by teenagers

According to Badroodien, there is a political element driving the unrest in Samora Michel. The EFF has vowed to start mobilising communities to protest against the Weltevreden Valley Clinic's closure in Samora Machel.

"There is a political element linked to the protest, and there is a plan to destabilise the community. We note what the EFF has said, and it's disappointing because they should encourage the community's leadership to work with the City," he said.

The City had had ongoing discussions with the communities, police, and the ward councillor and pleaded with them to work with the City.

"Since our appeal, we have seen no progress, and until we see an improvement, we have no choice but to withdraw our services we will not put our staff in harm's way," Badroodien said.

Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste Services Xanthea Limberg said the City had condemned the attack.

"It is unconscionable to target staff who are on-site going about their public service duties, and the City will do everything in its power to assist the SAPS in its efforts to bring the guilty parties to book. The safety and well-being of staff must be prioritised, and as such, teams have been withdrawn from Samora Machel until it is safe for them to return. Sadly, this negatively impacts service delivery to residents."

ALSO MORE | Some informal settlements in Cape Town without water during Covid-19, says SJC

Acting Provincial Police Commissioner in the Western Cape, Thembisile Phathekile, told News24 they are aware of the crime in Samora Michel.

"What we have seen in Samora Michel is that crime is on the increase, particularly hijacking due to the potholes. We have been engaging on the City on that issue; the City has enough capabilities to do that," he said.

EFF regional chairperson Unathi Ntame accused the City of being "dramatic".

"... the EFF has never supported violence against officials. They [the City] should not have taken such drastic action. We are going to mobilise the community to protest against the closure of the clinic because people are not able to get their medication."

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