WATCH: Covid-19 facility in Khayelitsha set on fire by illegal land invaders
CAPE TOWN - A coronavirus (Covid-19) clinic extension in Khayelitsha in Cape Town has been set on fire by illegal land invaders, mayor Dan Plato said on Sunday.
"It is with shock and disgust that I heard today [Sunday] about the torching of a brand new Covid-19 facility in Khayelitsha," he said in a statement.
"On Saturday morning, the city’s brand new clinic extension facility in Khayelitsha was set on fire by illegal land invaders."
This clinic facility, built in record time to the tune of close to R1 million, was opened earlier this week in Makhaza in Khayelitsha and was intended to serve among the most vulnerable Covid-19 positive patients with treatment, testing, and isolation Plato said.
"The destruction of this vital facility is the true cost of vandalism and illegal protest action. I am truly appalled by this criminal behaviour and the city will do everything we can to ensure that those responsible are brought to book. I am calling on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to identify those responsible, ensure that they are arrested and that they face the full might of the law."
It was a depressing fact that for some criminals nothing was sacred – not a church, a children’s park or, as just demonstrated, not even a medical facility built to serve among the poorest of communities in the most desperate of situations.
"Without this facility, where will these residents get tested, where will they get treated and how will they isolate themselves? These are questions that those responsible neither think nor care about. Their callous actions... have the potential to put entire communities at risk," Plato said.
The future of the clinic extension would have to be decided now. It was a desperately needed facility and was built in response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for local governments to ready themselves for the rise in Covid-19 infections.
More public money, which ironically could have been used to create housing opportunities and deliver other services, would now have to be spent on keeping the facility secure and possibly doing repairs and replacing expensive medical equipment.
"All of us need to stop illegal invasions and violent protests. The poor simply cannot afford them anymore," Plato said.