Taxi violence and criminal activity severely impacts health services in the Cape
Yesterday’s minibus taxi violence has severely impacted the health service delivery in the Cape metro area, which has resulted in several health services operating at a reduced capacity today.
Dr Saadiq Kariem, Chief of Operations says, “Our top priority remains the safety of our staff who, continue to bear the brunt of the violence in their commitment to providing health care to our citizens. We are deeply thankful to them for their continuous dedication. In the same breath we condemn the attacks on our staff which occurred yesterday – an Emergency Services staff member was assaulted, and the ambulance torched; several staff members were also attacked including a medical doctor.
“After doing a platform assessment of the overall impact the disruption has had on the safety of transport and our staff, many of our staff have been unable to get to their places of work, which unfortunately will result in limited services being available at health facilities in the metro.
Western Cape Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, added: "If there are no staff, there are no healthcare services. While peaceful protest is a right which needs to be protected, the safety of our staff is paramount to us as a department. I condemn any act of violence that has taken place since the beginning of the minibus taxi strike. We urge communities to ensure that our staff are allowed safe passage and protected as our healthcare services are dependent on them being at work providing quality healthcare to residents. As Minister, I am grateful to our dedicated professionals on the frontline."
We advise the public of the following service implications this will have today:
Tygerberg, Red Cross and Groote Schuur Hospital
- Elective surgery will be postponed.
- Only emergency surgery will be conducted.
- Outpatients are advised to only attend their appointments if it is safe to do so.
Community Health Centres and Clinics
- Services at all facilities will be available, but with limited capacity.
(Vanguard CHC was closed Thursday night, but is operational today with limited capacity)
Emergency Medical Services
- Access to red zone areas will only be possible with a law enforcement escort, resulting in possible delayed response.
Forensic Pathology Services
- Tygerberg and Salt River forensic pathology services are operational, but response to scenes will be delayed in red zones as this will also only occur under the protection of law enforcement escort.
“The Department’s Major Incident Response protocol was activated yesterday and will continue to receive updates from the Provincial Joint Operations Centre and adjust its service provision appropriately. We acknowledge that this will have an impact on our clients, but we assure them that we are doing everything we can to ensure that health services continue,” Dr Kariem added.