CIVIL SOCIETY STATEMENT ON HEALTH CONCERNS IN CALA
Sakhisizwe Civil Society Structures Forum gravely concerned about the Eastern Cape Provincial Executive’s decision to quarantine 18 Suspected COVID-19 patients in Mioca Lodge, Cala
The Sakhisizwe Civil Society Structures Forum is a collective of NGO’s, ratepayers and residents associations and people’s organisations based in the two towns, villages and farms of Sakhisizwe municipal area. Its focus is on local government accountability and promotion of people-driven socio-economic development.
It has come to our attention that the Eastern Cape Provincial Executive has made arrangements to move 18 suspected COVID-19 patients from Dordrecht to be isolated at MIOCA Lodge in the Cala Reserve village just outside Cala.
We wish to bring attention to the fact that we, the citizens of Cala Reserve and the Sakhisizwe municipal area that Cala Reserve is part of, were never consulted on this decision, or informed thereof by the relevant authorities.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa, no positive cases have been identified in Sakhisizwe. We are concerned about the capacity of Sakhisizwe’s public health facilities to handle an outbreak of COVID-19, including whether our healthcare workers have enough personal protective equipment to adequately protect themselves and prevent further transmission when attending to COVID-19 patients. We are more generally concerned that the Sakhisizwe Municipality’s communities are poorly serviced with the necessary social and economic infrastructure to withstand the spread of COVID-19.
We are thus unsure why the Provincial Executive plans to move COVID-19 patients to Cala, and are unclear on what measures have been put in place to protect those patients, the healthcare workers and community members of the surrounding areas. We fear that, in the absence of a proper containment plan, the move can ignite the spread of COVID-19 throughout our area, with dire effects.
As structures that are concerned about accountability, we demand the same accountability from the relevant State authorities with regard to this matter.
We therefore request that the relevant authorities provide us, as concerned and affected residents, with the following information: The reasons for the decision to relocate the affected patients to MIOCA Lodge in the Cala Reserve;
The containment plan to ensure that those patients do not spread COVID-19 to the surrounding areas;
Proof of the readiness of the Sakhisizwe Municipality’s public healthcare system and workers to adequately care for the COVID-19 patients;
Proof of the readiness of the MIOCA Lodge to ensure that COVID-19 is not spread throughout the surrounding communities;
Proof of the measures taken by the Sakhisizwe Municipality’s public healthcare system and workers to prevent any further spread of COVID-19 to the surrounding areas;
The healthcare plan for if and when COVID-19 does reach the Sakhisizwe Municipality’s communities; and
Reasons for why the surrounding communities were not consulted on this decision.
Should the relevant authorities be unable to ensure that this planned move does not result in the introduction of COVID-19 to the Sakhisizwe Municipality’s communities, we call on the relevant authorities to find an alternative venue to quarantine the COVID-19 patients.
We wish a speedy recovery to every single one of the people who have been affected by the disease. We are keen to support the fight against the pandemic, but we demand transparency and involvement of those who are directly affected by decisions.
Statement issued and endorsed by the following organisations:
1. Cala University Students Association – CALUSA
2. Cala Reserve Planning Committee
3. Elliot Advice Centre
4. Elliot Residence Association
5. South African National Civic Organisation – SANCO (Sakhisizwe)
6. South African Youth Council – Sakhisizwe
7. Siyazakha Land Rights and Development Forum
8. Vulamasango Singene Campaign