Burning of Covid-19 clinic in Khayelitsha: Suspects in court

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  • The destitute and desperate have been flocking to vacant land in a section of Khayelitsha since last week.
  • The City of Cape Town has been demolishing shacks the occupiers have been erecting.
  • Four men are in custody over the fire damage to the Desmond Tutu Hall and a Covid-19 clinic.

Four people appeared in the Khayelitsha Magistrate's Court on Monday to face charges of public violence, following the burning of the Desmond Tutu Hall and a Covid-19 clinic in Makhaza during a land occupation on Saturday.

"Four suspects aged between 19 and 28 were arrested" on Sunday, said Harare police spokesperson Captain Siyabulela Vububi.

The clinic extension facility, which cost close on R1 million according to the City, had been opened earlier in the week.

Fire and Rescue Services said the "front section of the building was totally destroyed, including offices".

Spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said the "medical storeroom was also vandalised".

PICS | Four charged after new Covid-19 facility torched in Khayelitsha

In a statement on Tuesday, Mayor Dan Plato said: "A strong message must be sent that wanton acts of vandalism are unacceptable and only rob the community of much-needed services."

He said "extreme volatility" had forced the City of Cape Town to suspend provision of basic services, such as rubbish collection.

People have been flocking to vacant land near Noxolo Xauka Primary School since the weekend before last, in spite of law enforcement officials repeatedly demolishing their shacks.

ALSO READDan Plato condemns torching of vehicle, attack on News24 journalist in Khayelitsha

Zimkhitha Mzimba said the occupiers came from Makhaza.

"Some of us are retrenched from restaurants, construction companies and hotels. Others work short time. Others don't work at all," she said.

She said the occupiers had moved onto the land because it had been vacant since 2012.

Nolitha Yalo said she and other land occupiers had been sleeping outside on the land since the first eviction.

"We feel cold at night. We scrape cash together to buy bread and share it."

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