Millions for new clinic

Community worker Layla Ryklief at the site for the new Pelican Park clinic.

Plans for the new Pelican Park clinic are finally coming together, and, if all goes according to plan, the new facility will be completed by November next year.

In March, mayor Patricia de Lille announced that more than R18 million had been allocated from the Cityof Cape Town’s 2017/2018 draft budget for the construction of the clinic.

After a public participation process, the budget for the clinic increased to more than R32 million.

According to Eddie Andrews, the City’s mayoral committee member for area south, the anticipated starting date for construction is mid-August 2017 and the clinic should take 15 months to be completed.

The news comes as a great relief to many Pelican Park residents who depend on a mobile clinic operating in the area, from 8am to 4pm, on Mondays and Wednesdays .

Community leaders said the service was inadequate.

Residents complained that the mobile clinic did not have the capacity to provide proper health care to everyone and they accused the City of failing to plan adequately for health services in the area (“Battle to access health care”, Southern Mail, August 5 2015).

Residents were also referred to nearby clinics, such as Klip Road and Lotus River, but the latter has since been closed due to vandalism.

Janine van der Merwe, a resident of New Horizons in Pelican Park, had been sceptical that construction of the clinic would start this year.

“I have been living in New Horizons since it was developed over three years ago and there have been talks about the clinic but I wasn’t sure whether it was going to happen in my lifetime.

“I am very happy that the clinic will be here soon because the mobile clinic is not working for the community. When my children are sick I have to go to Klip Road clinic because Lotus River Clinic was closed down. This means more money on taxi fare and it’s more of a hassle so I go to the private doctor but that costs a lot of money too,” said Ms Van der Merwe.

Community worker and chairperson of the New Horizons Civic Association Layla Ryklief said she is ecstatic that the plans for the clinic have been finalised.

“A clinic in our area will mean that one of our basic human rights, to have access to medical care, will be met, something we’ve been struggling with,” said Ms Ryklief.

“We hope and pray that everything will go according to plan and that it will be finished in the scheduled time and that more such services and developments will take place in Pelican Park.”

Ms Ryklief said there was also a need for a hall, public library and more schools.

Chairman of the Pelican Park Owners’ Association (PPOA), John Bailey said he is happy that “things are coming together” after many years of discussing the needs of the community.

“We as the PPOA want developments and projects that will benefit the people of Pelican Park and the surrounding areas. After ongoing processes and discussions we are finally getting a clinic and we as the PPOA are very happy that it’s finally materialising and that there is a set date,” said Mr Bailey.

He said although the clinic will not be a community health centre or day hospital, it would still provide services such as a the dispensing of medication for chronically ill patients and a baby clinic.

Asked if residents from the area and Ward 67 would be employed to help build the clinic as was done with the construction of the housing development, Mr Andrews said it was part of the plan.

“Local labour will be sourced from the sub-council’s database through the City’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP),” said Mr Andrews.

Ms Ryklief encouraged people from the community to register on Sub-council 18’s database. “Job creation is very important in our community and people need to get involved so that they can be chosen to build the clinic and gain experience for future employment,” she said.