Residents of Northern Cape village say health department has abandoned them

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Residents of Onseepkans a village on the banks of the Orange River in the Northern Cape say the health department is failing them.

They suspect that there are many active COVID -19 cases in the area but they don’t have access to primary healthcare.

The only nurse in the small town went on early retirement in April – and now the town has no medical staff.

The town’s nearest neighbour, Pofadder is more than 50 kilometres away. Residents say they fear the infections could lead to deaths and even a lockdown of the town.

A looming disaster, that’s how Onseepkans residents describe the situation. They allege that they are being barred from access to healthcare by the Northern Cape government.

Northern Cape residents outcry for lack of access to primary healthcare services:

62-year-old Magdalena Diergaardt lost her brother to COVID-19. But because there’s no primary healthcare worker in the town, the news of his positive test result, came two weeks after his death.

School Governing Body’s Ria Pasella believes the situation is dire.

Pasella says: ”The department of health doesn’t care about Onseepkans. And our sister retired in April this year, since then there was nobody coming to Onseepkans to assist our people. We’ve got two clinics, but one is like a white elephant for years and the other one managed by assistants.”

Pasella says one school in the area also had to shut down due to learners testing positive. But in a message, the Northern Cape Education Department refuted the claim.

One resident says, ”Our school is closed now, because 330 kids were tested Wednesday and Thursday and the requirement from the Department of Health is that you need to have ten days in quarantine.”

Residents fear the virus could be spread unchecked in their area. The Northern Cape Health department was unavailable for comment.

Other towns like Hondeklipbaai, Kommagas and Kleinzee have also seen an increase in COVID-19 cases.