NATIONAL NEWS - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has demanded that the departments of health and public works should urgently intervene, investigate and resolve the “untenable situation at a quarantine facility in Durban”.
In a statement on Friday, the party said its MP Tim Brauteseth and MPL Martin Meyer “discovered the full extent of a horror quarantine” facility where “hundreds of South African repatriates” have been housed during an oversight visit on Thursday night.
Brauteseth said that after the ship Carnival Fascination docked in the Durban harbour on Thursday, more than 300 South African employees from the Carnival Cruise Line disembarked and were taken to local quarantine facilities.
He said some from the 300 were taken to hotels in North Beach and Umhlanga, while others, around 200 people, were taken to the Coastlands Self Catering Apartments “in the notorious Point red light district”.
“When the group was dropped at the hotel, they were greeted by staff who were not prepared for their arrival. The group were placed in rooms that were filthy replete with dead pigeons and cockroaches galore. The facilities in most of the rooms are broken and rusted and there are no cleaning materials. The hotel has an overwhelming smell of mould which is affecting many of the group’s health. Many of the group opted to sleep in the lobby rather than the rooms.
“The hotel’s air-conditioning does not work, making the rooms saunas and there is no Wi-Fi for guests to make contact with the outside world.
“To make matters even worse, there is absolutely no health protocol being applied at the facility. Members of the group are not screened and are free to roam in and out of the facility as they wish. There is no real food provision to the point where members of the group simply leave the hotel to buy their own fast food.
“Further contamination risk was evidenced by the arrival of an ambulance after our visit dropping off unknown persons,” said Brauteseth.
He said the conditions at the facility made it clear to the DA that there was no planning at all with the designation of this site as a quarantine facility.
“The provincial departments of health and public works have no clue as to the situation and their national counterparts are missing in action, ignoring our correspondence and calls for an urgent intervention.
“The DA is determined to regain control of this rudderless ship and call on the minister of health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, and the minister of public works, Patricia De Lille, to urgently intervene and remove all members of this group from this hellhole and immediately place them in a safe and secure facility with proper quarantine protocols.”
The KZN health department was contacted, but did not respond to questions about the facility.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)