September 21, 2021 | PICS | Four charged after new Covid-19 facility torched in Khayelitsha


A case of public violence had been opened following the attack on the new facility in Makhaza.

A case of public violence had been opened following the attack on the new facility in Makhaza.

City of Cape Town, Supplied

  • The brand-new clinic extension facility in Makhaza opened last week.
  • Mayor Dan Plato says it was opened after being built in “record time” – worth close to R1 million.
  • Four people, aged between 19 and 28, are expected in the local magistrate’s court.

Four people have been charged with public violence after a brand-new Covid-19 facility was torched in Khayelitsha over the weekend, mere days after it was opened.

According to Cape Town mayor Dan Plato, the brand-new clinic extension facility in Makhaza was set alight on Saturday morning, the same week it was opened after being built in “record time”, with a price tag of close to R1 million.

The facility was part of the local Desmond Tutu Hall.

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Fire and rescue services spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said resources were dispatched shortly before midday on Saturday, with Khayelitsha’s fire crew escorted to the scene by police. 

Six fire engines and two specialised vehicles with 26 staff members responded to the blaze.

“The front section of the building was totally destroyed, including offices. The roof of the entrance collapsed as well. The medical storeroom was also vandalised,” he confirmed.

The fire was extinguished two hours later.

The brand-new clinic extension facility at the Des

The brand-new clinic extension facility at the Desmond Tutu Hall in Makhaza was damaged days after it opened.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said a case of public violence had been opened.

Four people, aged between 19 and 28, had been arrested on Sunday and were expected to appear in the local magistrate’s court on Monday.

Plato charged that the fire was started by “illegal land invaders”. 

“The destruction of this vital facility is the true cost of vandalism and illegal protest action,” he said, following numerous instances of unrest over the last week.

“It is a depressing fact that, for some criminals, there is nothing sacred… not even a medical facility built to serve among the poorest of our 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 [on Saturday] have the potential to put entire communities at risk”.

Khayelitsha accounts for 7 444 of the Cape Town metro’s 59 235 cases.

The Western Cape has 23.6%, or 85 926, of the countrywide 364 328 cases.

Plato said the Khayelitsha facility was “intended to serve among the most vulnerable Covid-19 positive patients” with treatment, testing and isolation.

“The future of the clinic extension will have to be decided now. It is a desperately needed facility and was built in answer to President Ramaphosa’s call for local governments to ready themselves for the rise in Covid-19 infections,” Plato said.

“More public money, which ironically could have been used to create housing opportunities and deliver other services, will now have to be spent on keeping the facility secure and possibly doing repairs and replacing expensive medical equipment”.

The attack on the facility is alleged to be in retaliation to a thwarted land occupation attempt in nearby Mfuleni.

The facility had been opened last week after being

The facility had been opened last week after being built in “record time” with a price tag of close to R1 million, mayor Dan Plato said.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith claimed that, among others, “known” shortcomings in the Prevention of Illegal Eviction Act and “poorly written and problematic Regulation 36 of the lockdown regulations” in terms of the Disaster Management Act have led to an environment within which land invasions are proliferating.

He alleged that “unscrupulous, greedy” activists with political ambitions, who seek to profiteer from the sale of plots, are instigating land invasions daily.

According to Smith, anywhere between five and 10 major land invasions are reported and tie up the authorities, preventing them from doing crime prevention and important work elsewhere.

The ANC caucus in the City of Cape Town also condemned the incidents, while it also “acknowledged and respected the need for people to get housing opportunities as their basic human right, which will restore their dignity”.

“However, the ANC condemns the recent spate of illegal land invasion that has occurred at Du Noon, Kraaifontein, Mfuleni, Strand and Khayelitsha,” it said in a statement on Monday.

“The ANC is disturbed by these developments as some pieces of these lands are earmarked for development and building houses.

“The ANC is against land invasions and condemns it in the strongest possible terms.

“We acknowledge the right of people to protest peacefully. However, we condemn and are against criminal elements that tarnish the genuine struggles of destitute families.

“We demand that law enforcement agencies be tougher, not only to discourage such thuggery, criminality and violence, but also to arrest those responsible”.

This post originally appeared on and written by:
Tammy Petersen

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