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Alexandra residents pay for loadshedding with their lives

Outside Masakhane Clinic entrance. Picture: Given Motsiwane.

It was cold Saturday afternoon when a man came to Sharon Mahlangu's home in Alexandra, Johannesburg, to tell her four-year -old son, Nhlakanipho, had been in an accident. The man admitted he had hit Nhlakanipho with his car.

He told Mahlangu that her son was in his car and he wanted her to come with him to the Clinic. They sped to Masakhane Clinic, which is only a few Kilometres away, hoping they could save her son's life. The boy was lying unconscious in the car, but was still breathing.

But when they got to the Clinic gate, they were turned away by the security guard. He told them there was load shedding and the Clinic was not operational, that they should go to Edenvale hospital instead.

Nhlakanipho died on the way to the hospital.

This was in July this year. Months later, the clinic still does not have a generator to continue to function during load shedding. The Clinic's Matron, Nare Kobe, confirmed that they are aware of the incident with Nhlakanipho and the management has launched an investigation.

“We are aware of the incident unfortunately on that day our generator was stolen, and we have been waiting for the management to install another one,” said Kobe.

While the Clinic management waits for a new generator, more residents' lives are at risk.

“I hate that Clinic with all my heart. I gave birth to a premature baby in the dark room where the night shift staff had to use their cellphones to do their work. After giving birth, I was left with the baby in a pool of blood in bed,” said Ncebakazi Mafokazi. She had almost lost her baby due to lack of power at the Masakhane Clinic.

Alexander residents who need urgent medical attention may get compromised care leading to further deaths, as they struggle to function during load shedding.


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