The safety of patients and health workers at the Alexandra Community Health Centre has been suddenly thrown into doubt following the fatal stabbing of a patient there almost two weeks ago.
The safety of patients and health workers at the Alexandra Community Health Centre has been suddenly thrown into doubt following the fatal stabbing of a patient there almost two weeks ago. A group of men stormed the premises and killed a patient in full view of the staff and patients. The victim was being treated by nurses in the emergency rooms at around 9pm on Saturday, the 26th of May.
According to Ellen Masupa, the facility manager, the patient came through to casualty and as the nurses were about to attend to him, a number of people forced their way in and started to attack the patient with knifes and pangas. “What we are gathering is that these people were fighting in the location in a place called Council just next to Alexandra magistrate’s court. The other one came here to seek medication and I guessed that if people were fighting, the clinic would be the safe place to go to, but the other group followed him and finished him off in the facility,” she said.
Security guards at the clinic say they tried to stop the group from entering the premises but they were overpowered as the group were heavily armed. Reports indicate that the fight between the two factions started in the informal settlement known as Council where a man was stoned to death.
Residents have described the fighting between the two groups as caused by ethnic tension between Zulus and Sothos. However, it is not clear what sparked the violence. Communications manager for the Alexandra Community Health Centre, Sandile Gwayi said the clinic was closed on Sunday as nurses are still receiving trauma counselling.
“The nurses are very traumatised and we have organised the counselling, to assist them to cope with what they witnessed. We are not sure who was at the clinic. With the patients we are collaborating with the clinic committee to assist us in finding them, as I feel that they also need counselling. We appealing to patients who were at the clinic when this accident happened to come for counselling.”
The incident has shocked the community of Alexandra. “The biggest issue here is that these people came heavy armed and our security in health facilities are not suppose to be armed,” said Masupa, the facility manager.
“We have been having several meetings with community, the police, JMPD [Johannesburg Metro Police Department], councillors, the CPF [Community Police Forum], and the clinic committee to come up with strategies to ensure that our facilities are safe and that our staff do their work without fear of being attacked,” she added.
Alexandra clinic operates 24 hours, which makes the patients and staff at the facility vulnerable to attack. The police say they have arrested two people as part of their investigations into the two murders.