Broken toilets, generator concerns during Lebogang Maile’s visit to vaccine roll-out sites
Pretoria - For two years the ablution facilities at one of the two sites earmarked for public vaccination against Covid-19 in Atteridgeville have not been working.
The toilets at the multipurpose centre remained unrepaired despite several efforts by the community to report them to the municipality.
Local councillor Mthobeli Celiphile expressed concern about the broken toilets yesterday during a visit by Gauteng Human Settlements MEC, Lebogang Maile, to inspect the state of readiness at the sites identified for vaccination roll-out.
"I was raising that concern because last week there was a distribution of food parcels there and people couldn't access those toilets," he told the Pretoria News.
“There was generally a concern about lack of maintenance of municipal facilities, which were often vandalised because there was no security to safeguard them, he said.
"We have raised the issue of poor maintenance through a petition, including the one about the toilets, but so far the city has not responded," Celiphile said.
Inside the spacious multipurpose centre, there were chairs to accommodate more than 800 people. The site will soon be furnished with desks for administering vaccine shots and recording people's personal details.
Some Department of Health officials were concerned about the non-availability of a generator at the same site to assist in the event of power outages.
According to them, only 11 of the 21 toilets were not working.
Officials also pleaded with Maile for a political intervention to source more funds for the sites operations, saying they anticipated to run out of a R135 million budget set aside for the vaccination programme by the end of next year.
In response, Maile expressed confidence that work was on "track in preparing for the vaccination programme".
He said the two sites, which included the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium, will be used for public vaccination.
However, Maile shot down the suggestion that a tent should be pitched at the stadium for vaccination, saying it was unnecessary at the time when the government was beset by financial constraint.
"We think it is not necessary when there are community structures like community halls and churches," he said.
Regarding the faulty ablution facilities at the multipurpose centre, Maile said: "That place is owned by the municipality and it will be fixed by the municipality so that by the time the roll-out starts the infrastructure is up to scratch and it is able to handle the number of people who will be coming to the facility."
He was unhappy about a lack of a back-up generator and a plan B conceived by the health officials to transport the vaccines to the nearest site during power failure.
"We were not happy with that and we want them to work on the basis that we will buy a generator. Anyway, that is a municipal facility and buying a generator will be a long-term investment. The community will be able to use the benefits beyond the programme of vaccinating our people," Maile said.
Tshwane's MMC for Social Development, Sakkie du Plooy said the sites will be used during the Phase 2 vaccination roll-out expected to start in mid-May.
He said the municipality will make efforts to find one generator from the clinics and that the toilets will soon be repaired.
The city has offered a community hall, located a stone's throw away from the stadium, as an alternative site, according to Du Plooy.