BY SILAS NKALA

KEZI Clinic in Matobo District, Matabeleland South province, has been lying derelict for more than 10 years after local communities contributed material resources towards its rehabilitation.

Kezi villagers last week expressed concern over the delays by the authorities to renovate and operationalise the clinic, a development that has forced them to travel to Bulawayo, Gwanda or Maphisa for medical and mortuary services.

“The local MP (Edgar Moyo), Chief (Vuyani) Nyangazonke and local Department of Public Works are all well aware of the predicament of the central Kezi community and the condition of the Kezi clinic,” said Simon Madondo, who is now based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“As community members, we have bought a compressor for the mortuary and all is required is fitting. My brother, Khumbulani Matondo, who works for an air conditioning and refrigeration company in Johannesburg, volunteered to do the installation of the compressor when he gets time off.”

He added: “We do not know if red tape will allow that because the clinic is a government institution.

“We have had bodies decomposing in that mortuary in the past. A case in point is my own grandmother in 2009 whose body had decomposed when we buried her. The compressor cost about R8 000 inclusive of the fittings. Duty at the border was about R4 000.”

Madondo said they were expecting to send gas and a few other items the technician requires to complete the installation and that costs R3 500.

“A hand-over was made to the local stakeholders amid pomp and fanfare and to date, the clinic still lies derelict,” Madondo said.

“Truth is our people are suffering. There is no money. We are one of the most marginalised districts in the country. Most of our people have been forced out of the country because of the hardships. Those left behind do menial jobs like artisanal mining,” Madondo said.

“Sometimes I wonder what sins we committed against the government. Is it the sin of having produced the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo that we are so neglected? Our women sometimes deliver in the toilets of that hospital, so I hear. Sometimes I wonder what is happening to our people during the times of this COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe the powers-that-be are happy that we don’t have health facilities. The pandemic will continue where Gukurahundi failed and exterminate the people of Kezi.”

Another villager, Elian Phiri, said the clinic’s roofing sheets were blown off by wind 10 years ago and to date, it does not have a roof.

“I remember sometime 10 years ago my aunt died and we collected her body from that mortuary and she was in a very advanced state of decomposition,” Phiri said.

Matobo North legislator Moyo (Zanu PF) confirmed that the clinic was not functioning after its roof was blown away by wind.

He, however, said despite the roofing material having been acquired, there was need to pull down the whole structure and raise a new one using modern material.

“The compressor at the hospital was burnt long back due to an electrical fault and due to age,” the MP said.

“I spoke to the doctor at Maphisa Hospital who told me that it is not the issue of a compressor that is delaying, but the unsuitable structure.

“The roof at the clinic was blown away by wind and the roof trusses which were wooden have been damaged by termites. Due to the aged walls, it was not possible for us to put on new roofing as the walls would not withstand it.”

Moyo said the roofing material was procured before he became MP for the area.

He, however, said recommendations were made that the Health ministry and Public Works must reconstruct the clinic and a budgetary process was underway.

However, Matobo district development co-ordinator Obey Chaputsira dismissed the claim that the clinic’s roof was blown off ten years ago saying it was a recent incident.

Matobo Public Works official Busani Mudenda declined to comment, referring all questions to the provincial office which could not be reached for comment.

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