By MZUKISI MPAHLWA
This is an update from the Makana Covid-19 Joint Operations Committee, based on its weekly meeting on Tuesday 28 April 2020.
Covid-19 cases in Makhanda and screening
There are no new infections in Makhanda since the two previously recorded. The update on the one positive case is that the person is leaving quarantine on Thursday.
There was also an incident where a farm worker went to a clinic to have herself checked out. She presented with Covid19 symptoms but she was eventually diagnosed as negative. All 20 other people with whom she was in contact were screened and all tested negative. Recent media reports saying that Makhanda was a “hotspot” caused concern among residents. Health officials have clarified that this was because of the one positive case (see above) and emphasised that even one case is one case too many, because we are in a pandemic situation.
About 40 000 screenings have been done so far in the Health Department’s Makanna Subdistrict (which includes Makana and Ndlambe).
Health authorities are expecting high volumes of screenings to continue after 1 May. Everyone is urged to wear a face masks when you are outside (this has since become compulsory).
Since lockdown, the police have issued/ made 456 fines and for contraventions of lockdown rules. Three schools have been vandalised – in Alicedale, Riebeeck East and Joza. Councillors have been asked to accompany the police on community awareness campaigns, and to speak to groups about lockdown rules via their PA systems.
There is still strong concern about low levels of adherence to lockdown regulations in most areas. There are too many people on the street – the need to protect yourself and others by staying at home hasn’t sunk in.
There are 19 people staying in two adjacent buildings established as temporary shelters for the homeless – Albany Recreation Hall and Crown Hall. Two women and 17 men are staying in separate accommodation.
New arrivals are screened by the Department of Health. The toilets have been repaired and the residents have been supplied with plastic bags, hand sanitiser and gloves. Social Workers from the Department of Social Development are negotiating with the families of some of the group to take them back into their original homes.
They are getting three meals a day through the DSD, but still need some items to make them feel at home and occupy their time, such as books, magazines, soccer balls and cards. Please drop off any donations for the shelters at the Fire Department in Knight Street.
About 350 food parcels were handed out at St Johns, Hill Street on Tuesday via the Circle of Unity group and a further 900 on Wednesday via door-to-door deliveries across our town. We’ve agreed in principle that organisations with established clients will continue to service those people when it comes to supplying food; however, this does present a difficulty for councillors who were not party to the process of selecting people in that area for food distribution by a private group. While councillors have been required to collate names from their ward for food distribution via the Department of Social Development and SASSA, the community doesn’t differentiate between private and government initiatives. This puts them under pressure to explain what criteria were used for every food distribution initiative in their area.
Makana Municipality also confirmed that 110 JoJo tanks from the Department of Water and Sanitation have been installed in informal areas and the outlying areas.
- Makana Mayor Mzukisi Mpahlwa is the chairperson of the Makana Covid-19 Joint Operations Committee and also its designated official spokesperson. This Makhanda C19 JOC is a multi-sector reporting group that combines government and civil society organisations.