Zimbabweans being denied access to healthcare in South Africa


Immigrants have been ejected from the Jeppe Clinic in central Johannesburg by members of Operation Dudula.

“Because he works and my husband and I live here, this is difficult. For the welfare of my baby, I must get to the clinic right away.”

She visited Jeppe Clinic early last week with a friend, and she was told to return for tests on Friday. She was forced to turn around when she arrived because Dudula members had blocked the facility. She claims that after she entered on Monday, Dudula members entered and ordered all immigrants out. The exact same thing occurred on Tuesday.

To be able to be admitted to the hospital when it’s time for delivery, Musa requires a card from the clinic. She also has to take the iron supplements available at the clinic for pregnant women, but she hasn’t yet gotten prenatal care.
She relies on others to translate because neither she nor her spouse can speak South African languages or English.
There are problems back home in Malawi, adds Musa. I hoped for a simple delivery of my child here in South Africa.
When Violet Ncube, a Zimbabwean woman, arrived at the clinic last Friday with her 3-year-old granddaughter who had the illness and a fever, Dudula members allegedly told her to leave.

Dudula entered and commanded that only South Africans could receive treatment and that all foreigners leave immediately.

She claims that some of the group’s members assaulted victims.

Ncube took the child home with him. Later, her son returned to demand that the youngster receive medical attention, and the medication was given.

“Due to Dudula’s appearance at the clinic, getting medical attention  immigrants is no longer simple. It seems as though they have callers who alert them when migrants enter the clinic so they can come and chase them out “Ncube says.

Even when they speak the native tongue, she claims that occasionally “the accent or kind of dress gives us away.”

Ncube claims

Now, some of our neighbors stay away from the clinics.
Operation Dudula was preventing patients from accessing the Jeppe Clinic, according to Ethel Musonza of Zimbabwe Isolated Women in South Africa (Ziwisa).

“Since Dudula began preying on immigrants in the clinics, we have immigrants who suffer from chronic illnesses like HIV, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other disorders and are unable to receive medication. We are being forced to enlist the assistance of individuals who have additional tablets.”

Kopanang Africa Against Xenophobia (KAAX), Ziwisa, and other organizations held a picket at the Hillbrow Clinic in November of last year to call for better treatment of immigrants.

KAAX’s Claire Ceruti says:

People should not be chased away from healthcare on the basis of their nationality; it is unjust, absolutely inhuman, and against the law.
“Everyone has a legal right to healthcare, regardless of whether they have identification. Anyone who refuses to provide healthcare to those who are already vulnerable is abhorrent.”

Denying access to immigrants, according to Ceruti, would not resolve the healthcare situation in South Africa.

She thinks that organizations like Dudula should focus on the underlying causes of the health epidemic.

Another immigrant who receives her HIV treatment at Jeppe Clinic was interviewed by GroundUp. She had to return on Monday and Tuesday without her antiviral medication. She claims to be out of time.

She claims:

I’ve attempted to ask others to give me their extra tablets, but I don’t think it would be simple for anyone to do that when they know their life depend on the medicine.
Foster Mogale, a representative for the Gauteng Department of Health, responded when contacted for comment that the department was unaware of any specific hospitals that Dudula was targeting.

“Nobody has the right to interfere with the delivery of medical care. The department spoke with the Operation Dudula leaders and advised them to voice their concerns through the correct channels rather than obstructing the delivery of healthcare and staging protests at medical institutions “said Mogale.