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Construction of new Alex clinic back on track

Written by Ramatamo Sehoai

New disciplinary measures, a beefed-up workforce and a solution to niggling underground water issues have the delayed construction of a new public health clinic in 4th Avenue, Alexandra back on track.

After months of delays, staff repeatedly arriving for work drunk and muddy conditions making underground work impossible have all contributed to the stalling of the much-needed facility that is now expected to be ready to open by early next year.

Construction company owner Ricky Pietersen said the fact that he was given powers to deal decisively with employees coming to work inebriated means his team can now look forward to finishing the clinic without any more delays.

“So far I’ve dismissed three people and that has sent a message. The workers now know that if they receive three warnings for the same offense, they are gone,” he said.
Also among his obstacles was the niggling underground water that made it impossible to lay down any structures below ground level.

“That has since been solved after we spoke to the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) who helped me with their machines and the expertise,” Pietersen said.

Widespread criticism

He further highlighted he has beefed up his workforce to 25 employees. This will enable him to finish at least early next year so that the clinic will be ready for the occupation. The conduct of the site employees drew widespread criticism throughout Alexandra – a township severely plagued by unemployment.

“It’s painful that some of us local people have been looking for work years, while others that have jobs are just playing around,” said a disappointed community member. Another challenge has been the recent downpours.

The need to finish the clinic has become a pressing issue, particularly for those in need of the healthcare services the clinic will offer.

“Well that one, there is nothing we can do about it. We just have to push as hard as we can during dry days. That’s why we have introduced some overtime incentives,” said Thembi Skhosana, Community Liason Officer for the project.

The need to finish the clinic has become a pressing issue, particularly for those in need of the healthcare services the clinic will offer.

“Indeed we can’t wait any longer. Remember Thoko Mngoma is also under construction, so the majority of people this side are flocking to the one clinic at 18th Avenue. The workload there is too much,” said Maki Makunyane from the Clinic Health Committees.

An edited copy of this story was published by Health24.

About the author

Ramatamo Sehoai

Ramatamo Sehoai is an award-winning community journalist from Alexandra Township who curved his health journalism at FrayIntermedia and Mail & Guardian. He has written for numerous publications as a freelancer and won fellowships. Ramatamo is one of our Gauteng based citizen journalists and hosts a weekly talk show at Alex FM. He is also studying towards a BA Honours in Journalism and Media studies at Wits University.