Khayelitsha protestors burn down community clinic

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Angry protesters from Khayelitsha‘s QQ section, who demanded to be relocated to Mfuleni, burnt a community clinic in the France informal settlement, last week, Groundup reports. The demonstrators smashed windows of the community clinic, chased a guard away, and forced it to shut down, said France community leader Noziphiwo Lokhwe. She said, “The protesters moved towards our community hall and threatened to burn it, but the police intervened and dispersed them.”

Lokhwe condemned the torching of the community clinic. “We don’t go along with destruction of our clinic. It’s unacceptable,” she said.

The report says this type of clinic is called a wellness centre. It was set up by the Nobel Peace Prize winning humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) (also known as Doctors Without Borders) several years ago, and has since been taken over by the provincial government.

Lokhwe said shack dwellers would now struggle to get medical attention. “The clinic helps us with tests for chronic diseases. Now we will have to travel long distances to other areas to get treatment,” she said. “Kids could not go to school today because the violent demonstration prevented transport from coming to collect them.”

Lokhwe said the QQ residents started to protest a few days before the Easter weekend. “They went on a rampage, robbing Somali traders of their stock and a Clover bakkie of milk, yoghurt, cheese and other things,” she said.

Ward councillor Monde Nqulwana said in the report: “We are already complaining about long queues at Khayelitsha Day Hospital. Now the lines will be longer as the residents will have to get treatment from the day hospital which they used to get from the burnt clinic.”

Throughout the morning, the protesters blocked Japhta Masemola Road with burning tyres, various objects and a shipping container. The report says the police tried unsuccessfully to disperse them as they regrouped and burnt objects again, preventing traffic from moving along the busy road.

Groundup report

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