Criminals force health group out

03 March 2016 - 02:41 By Barbara Maregele

About 120 Afrika Tikkun staff - who provide home-based care and community support services to hundreds of patients - will be retrenched at the end of the month.CEO Marc Lubner said the decision had been made because of "an escalating crime problem at the Nelson Mandela Peace Park", where the organisation had premises."Armed hold-ups are not uncommon and we have reported cases of rape of caseworkers. During 2015 we were forced to close the computer lab and training centre due to break-ins. Our vegetable gardens were also raided constantly. We lost produce and equipment," he said.The workers are women, mostly single mothers, and earn R1900 a month. One of them, Nomsebenzilo Nonbewu, said they were worried about what would happen to their patients."Our clients are also worried because they are used to us, especially the people who are bedridden and others who need their bandages changed regularly. Who will do this when we aren't there?" she said."Even if we do work in a high-risk zone, we manage to do our work."Western Cape health department spokesman Sithembiso Magubane said a new organisation would be appointed to take over from next month.Afrika Tikkun spokesman Catherine van Schoor said its staff would be invited to apply for posts with the new organisation."They stand a very good chance of being appointed," she said.Lubner said some staff could be offered jobs at the organisation's centre in Mfuleni. - groundup.org.za

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