Security officer Johannes Machaka has gone the extra mile during the pandemic; working tirelessly to protect everyone at the Groote Schuur Hospital.
Cape Town, South Africa (17 July 2020) – Heroes of Groote Schuur is a Facebook page dedicated to highlighting the amazing people who work or visit the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.
The page is highlighting all the incredible work being done by all staff members during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hospital has been caring for the COVID-19 patients in the Western Cape, even converting other wards into COVID-19 rooms to make more beds available.
While the hospital has been focusing on their medical staff including nurses, doctors and managers; they have turned their camera to the staff helping in other areas of the hospital, like the security department.
Security officer Johannes Machaka, shares his experience of working at the hospital during the pandemic and how he has gone the extra mile to protect everyone that comes and goes from the hospital.
“I’m a security officer for Groote Schuur Hospital. Our focus is on patients’ safety, nurses and doctors and everyone who is in the building. We make sure everyone that’s coming and going feels safe.
COVID 19 has really affected our job in as far as we now need to go the extra mile to see to it that sanitising is happening at all entrances. My job is to go to every access point and make sure there is always enough sanitiser for everyone that is coming into the hospital, staff members, patients etc.
It is very challenging trying to prevent visitors from coming into the hospital. You have to do a lot of explaining as to why people can’t come and see their loved ones. Especially when they’re bringing food because there are limited times for that – from 11 am-1 pm – when we have marshals that assist with collecting food from visitors and taking it to the patients, but after that security has to take over to help the food reach the correct people in the hospital.
People become very cross with us when we tell them they can’t come in and they think it’s just us doing what we want. Often they treat security badly and they sometimes want to take photos of us and threaten to put them on social media because we are denying them access to the hospital. We are getting used to it now. In the first place it was giving us a bad feeling but as time goes by we can see this is our challenge. God has put us here to help people like that so we are coping with whatever they do.
We also often have to prevent patients from leaving the hospital. Especially smoking patients – they need to go out to get cigarettes outside. However, security is vigilant and they pick them up because they need to have a route slip to go out and if they don’t have that security will turn them back. They get upset because they’re craving cigarettes and stuff like that and sometimes we find they’ve snuck out of their wards without being noticed and then it’s our responsibility to pick them up and take them back to their wards. Remember now with COVID it’s also a challenge because sometimes when the patient gets aggressive you are hesitant to touch them. We have to treat everyone as a COVID patient now. So it’s a big challenge with patients that are aggressive and trying to leave.
Of course, I am very worried working so close to COVID, wondering if it’s going to be me one day lying in one of those beds. But I am praying every day to say, ‘God please cover us and help us to survive this so that we can help more people as they come to the hospital every day.”
– Johannes Machaka, Security Officer