Four held over torching of Covid-19 facility in Khayelitsha
Cape Town – Four people have been arrested in connection with the torching of the Desmond Tutu Hall in Khayelitsha following a protest over land invasions.
The hall was being retrofitted as an overflow facility for clinics in the area so that residents could access healthcare services in a safe manner with a reduced risk of Covid-19 exposure.
It was allegedly torched by residents protesting over land invasions near Mfuleni.
Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said since the unrest over land invasions last week, a total of eight people had been arrested.
“The areas where protests occurred are still being monitored by our members to maintain law and order.
“Since last week, four people have been arrested for public violence in Mfuleni pertaining to the incidents of violence in the area and yesterday four suspects were arrested on a charge of arson following the torching of a hall in Khayelitsha,” said Traut.
Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido condemned the destruction of the hall.
“We support the protest but not criminals who destroy community facilities. The hall has been helpful for the community and what is sad is that they destroy something that is meant to save their lives.
“A protest which has criminal elements is no longer a protest, it has
lost its legitimacy. The hall was to facilitate clinic overflows to reduce Covid-19 in our community,” said Tyhido.
Mayco member for community services Zahid Badroodien said it was a tense situation outside the hall with extensive damage to the infrastructure in the reception area and also to the clinic overflow facility that was meant to open in the next week.
“We should have helped with high numbers of patients currently visiting clinics in the community around Desmond Tutu Hall. Sadly, this means the community will no longer be able to access this facility, which inhibits our efforts to promote a safe and healthy clinical environment for parents, mothers and children to access health services in a safe manner.”
Meanwhile, law enforcement officers removed Joe Slovo residents near Dunoon who had invaded land and built shacks at the weekend.
Community leader Andile Maya said: “Families are now forced to sleep outside because they have nowhere to go and my worry is that most families have little kids who are going to sleep outside in this cold weather.
“As residents we will not give up the fight till our demands are met by the City. The City has been promising us for years to build flats on this land but we have seen no action and when we build the houses ourselves they evict us. We have nowhere to sleep, we are unemployed and we can’t afford to pay rent,” said Maya.
On Thursday while responding to land invasions in Mfuleni, City officers and vehicles were stoned, with a staff member hospitalised due to serious injuries.