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Access to healthcare more difficult for Tembisa residents after bridge collapse

Tembisa residents take longer routes to get medical attention after the bridge collapsed six months ago. Picture: Hope Lebese

By Hope Lebese

Accessing healthcare has become harder for community members of Tembisa, east of Johannesburg, after the bridge that connects the Tembisa Hospital and Winnie Mandela community collapsed in November 2021 during heavy rains. Six months later, there seems to be no sign of rebuilding the bridge.

Khanyisile Mlambo (28), who resides in Winnie Mandela zone 3 is eight months pregnant, she said going to the hospital has been difficult without the bridge. Mlambo said she can’t walk to Tembisa Hospital as it is now a long walking distance, while before the bridge collapsed she could walk at least 10 minutes. Now she has to catch a local taxi to get there.

“I used to walk 10 minutes to get to the hospital using the bridge, but now I have to catch a taxi and take the long route,” said Mlambo. Karabo Mashao who looks after her 83-year-old grandmother said her grandmother no longer receives home-based healthcare, because the caregivers are unable to reach where they stay in Winnie Mandela zone 2. She is now required to take her grandmother to hospital for checkups and medication.

“These days the nurses no longer come here because they say it’s far for them to walk and get here, so now I am forced to take my grandmother to hospital, “ said Mashao.

Accessing healthcare is not the only challenge the collapsed bridge poses to the community. Nikita Seloga who resides near the collapsed bridge says that the bridge is dangerous for kids as they go there to play.

“Kids don’t listen, they always go there to play, and I’m scared that one day one of them will fall and get hurt” Said Seloga. sent questions to the City of Ekurhuleni about the cause of collapse and plans to rebuild, but did not receive any response.


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