Citizen Reporter
Reporter
4 minute read
27 Jun 2017
11:37 am

Protests disrupt hospital procedures, affect commuters

Citizen Reporter

Monday's protest action in the east of Johannesburg saw a fire station, hospital and commuters affected, and a pensioner suffered a head injury.

Service delivery protests raged across Benoni on Monday, June 26. Picture: Benoni City Times

The protest action in Benoni on Monday not only affected the operation of the Benoni fire station, after stones and other objects were used to break the newly revamped machine bay doors and office windows, but also affected the running of the Sunshine Hospital in Actonville.

The Benoni City Times reported that the owner and manager of Sunshine Hospital Ken Ford said: “They don’t care about people’s lives.”

According to Ford, doctors were attacked and intimidated while attempting to get to the hospital.

Ford stated that paramedics were concerned about bringing in patients to the hospital.

“Someone needs to be held accountable for the damage,” said Ford.

“We have had to reschedule operations because doctors haven’t been able to get into the hospital.”

Ford went on to say that staff members battled to get to work or arrived late due to fear of being caught in the strike.

“It’s difficult to run a hospital in this environment; the staff are sitting in fear,” he said.

According to Ford a similar strike happened about two years ago, during which he suffered injuries.

“It’s unacceptable. Something has to be done,” he added.

Several businesses in the area were allegedly closed due to a fear of looting. “One doctor was distraught after a brick was thrown at his car on his way into the hospital,” said Ford.

A Farrarmere resident said her husband’s surgery was postponed due to the protests.

Her husband was admitted to Sunshine Hospital on June 21 in connection with a motorcycle accident in May.

“He sustained a wound to his foot in the accident, and it became septic, so he was taken into surgery on Thursday [June 22],” said the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, on Monday.

“He was supposed to go in for a follow-up surgery this afternoon [June 26], but it didn’t happen.

“When I asked the hospital why, they said some of the doctors couldn’t reach the hospital due to the protests, while others’ cars were damaged.

“The hospital has been great so far; they mostly deal with motor vehicle accidents, but now they can’t because of the protests.”

Pensioner injured

Pauline Davis Court resident Samuel Rautenbach, 72, was injured on his head by a rock thrown by a protester.

“I heard the sound of a window breaking,” Rautenbach said.

“My curtains were drawn, so I opened them to see what was happening outside, and then a rock was thrown, which hit my head.”

The 72-year-old said his head bled for a bit and is still sore.

He had not been to the hospital by Tuesday morning, but planned to visit a doctor by Wednesday.

Commuters affected

The Germiston City News reported that further on Monday, commuters were affected by a violent service delivery protest near the Nancefield Station, Johannesburg, causing the Metrorail train service between Johannesburg and Vereeniging to be suspended.

All commuters traveling to and from Vereeniging were advised to make alternative transport arrangements until it was safe to resume the service in the corridor. For a time on Monday, the station was inaccessible because the protesters have barricaded roads around Nancefield.

“Sadly there are reports that some of our employees and community members suffered injuries following an altercation with protestors,” said Lillian Mofokeng, Metrorail senior manager of marketing and communication.

“It is unfortunate that when people are dissatisfied with service delivery-related issues, they then direct their anger to Metrorail environments.

“Protestors normally block railway lines and stone trains.

“This negatively affects the normal running of trains and affects the economy of Gauteng.”

Mofokeng also said Metrorail strongly condemned the opportunistic behaviour of criminals who vandalised state assets and put the lives of its employees and commuters at risk.

“Safety is Metrorail’s number one priority thus we will not hesitate to suspend the running of trains when safety cannot be guaranteed,” said Mofokeng.

“Vandalism, arson and attacks on our personnel and commuters are counterproductive.”

Metrorail management sincerely apologised for the inconvenience caused and would continue to closely monitor the situation from the ground.

Klipspruit protest

During a housing protest in Klipspruit – Holomisa Camp – on Monday, a 17-year-old teen was killed and a 23-year-old pregnant woman was rushed to hospital after they were both shot at, allegedly by security guards.

In an audio recording sent to the Soweto Urban by a source, it is alleged that three security guards fired shots at the crowd. It is believed that in retaliation, the community managed to catch one of the security guards as they tried to flee the scene. He was severely assaulted and later, he was declared deceased on the way to hospital.

Some protest action continued in the area on Tuesday.

According to reports, Metrorail said the Prasa security guards were not armed. The incident was reportedly being investigated.

Caxton News Service

READ MORE ON THE PROTESTS: 

Benoni fire station closed following damage during protest

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