#Unrest SA: Most KZN vaccination sites up and running again - MEC

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • Most Covid-19 vaccination sites are back up and running in KZN following a week of unrest.
  • Many health facilities could not properly function due to looting, or lacked staff who could not travel due to the violence.
  • Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane called on communities to protect healthcare facilities.

Health facilities in KwaZulu-Natal are beginning to return to normality following a week of unrest in the province that saw the disruption of vital medical services.    

"We are quite satisfied with the gradual return to normal working conditions at health facilities throughout the province. We are still calculating the real costs of the damage, but we are pleased that most staff have returned to work. Yes, the queues are a bit longer than usual, but they will become shorter as more people get seen," Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane said on Wednesday.

The province and Durban in particular were akin to a warzone last week when protests related to the arrest and imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma escalated into large-scale looting and violence, claiming 215 lives and costing KwaZulu-Natal R20 billion in the space of a few days.

Medical services were also severely disrupted, with Covid-19 vaccination sites shut down and medical facilities running short of staff who could not get to work due to the unrest.

Simelane said that, as services began to return to normal, citizens should protect their health facilities.

"We need for communities to take full ownership of health facilities in their communities. When such facilities get vandalised, it is ordinary people – including the poor – who suffer the most, and may end up dying."

READ | KwaZulu-Natal police roll out vaccination drive after delays caused by unrest

The MEC was speaking after visiting Imbalenhle Community Health Care (CHC) and KwaPata Clinic in Pietermaritzburg, during one of a series of inspections to assess the damage caused by the social unrest that swept through parts of the province last week.

While Imbalenhle CHC was spared any damage, KwaPata Clinic had one of its vehicles' windows smashed and three tyres removed.

"We'd like to emphasise that communities need to protect health facilities from acts of vandalism and protect them. They also need to protect our staff, and not block them from going to work, because lives get lost that way,” said Simelane.

Services returning to normal

A vehicle that was damaged at KwaPata Clinic in Pi
A vehicle that was damaged at KwaPata Clinic in Pietermartizburg

She said the supply of auxiliary services - such as food, oxygen and fuel - "continues to run smoothly".

"And our emergency medical services are up and running. So are our Forensic Pathology Services. We are also happy that the vast majority of Covid-19 vaccination sites (192 sites) are now up and running."

The province has now vaccinated a total of 986 311 people, including health workers, educators and people aged 50 or over.

A total of 217 511 people aged between 35 and 49 have been registered on the Electronic Vaccine Data System, and are scheduled to commence vaccinations on 1 August.

The province has, meanwhile, registered 1 007 new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 377 395.

There are currently 15 695 active cases, while 47 new deaths were registered during this last 24-hour period. This brings the total number of fatalities to 11 175, with 349 031 recoveries.

The province currently has 1 814 patients admitted in both private (1 004, 55%) and public (810, 45%) hospitals.

Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
The 2021 Matric exams have been brought forward to avoid clashing with elections. This is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
A disaster - kids are stressed enough
45% - 395 votes
Not the best idea, but necessary
15% - 127 votes
No big deal, it's just a few days
40% - 353 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.