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Outcry grows over use of Cala lodge to isolate virus patients

There has been an outcry after a lodge in Cala, owned by the daughter of transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, was handpicked and used to house patients who tested positive for Covid-19 in Cacadu.
There has been an outcry after a lodge in Cala, owned by the daughter of transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, was handpicked and used to house patients who tested positive for Covid-19 in Cacadu.
Image: FILE

South Africans need to be focused and unified on defeating the coronavirus pandemic, and cannot afford to be sidetracked by unnecessary actions.

This is according to political parties and civil society organisations in the Eastern Cape after revelations that a lodge in Cala, owned by the daughter of transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, was handpicked and used to house patients who tested positive for Covid-19 in Cacadu.

Questions were raised on whether there was nepotism when Tikana-Gxothiwe’s daughter Kwakhanya Tikana’s Mioca Lodge was used as a quarantine facility.

A total of 14 people were under quarantine there before they were moved to a local hospital on Friday after DispatchLIVE inquired.

The Sakhisizwe Civil Society Structures Forum said it was concerned about the provincial government’s decision to quarantine the people at Mioca Lodge.

The forum, which comprises eight organisations in the Cala area, said it was “never consulted on this decision, or informed thereof by the relevant authorities”.

The forum said it was “unclear what measures have been put in place to protect those patients, the healthcare workers and community members of the surrounding areas”.

We fear that, in the absence of a proper containment plan, the move can ignite the spread of Covid-19 throughout our area, with dire effects

“We fear that, in the absence of a proper containment plan, the move can ignite the spread of Covid-19 throughout our area, with dire effects.”

SACP provincial spokesperson Siyabonga Mdodi said on Sunday it was important that “proximity to leadership of both the movement and government does not mean or raise suspicions of unduly benefiting in government tenders”.

Mdodi said the relaxation of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) “should not be an opportunity for looters to thrive”.

The SACP said what was concerning was that health MEC Sindiswa Gomba had told a radio station that the process to appoint Mioca Lodge had not been led by her department, and that the patients should have been taken to a healthcare facility to receive medical care instead.

Mdodi said: “There can be no justification of such actions if the allegations are proven to be true, and any defence of such conduct constitutes a direct attack on the core values of the congress movement.”

He said there must be a clear process to prevent any looting, “for it will undermine the good efforts by government to cushion the people against the virus”.

EFF Eastern Cape chair Yazini Tetyana said although he applauded the decision to reverse the accommodation, it was concerning that premier Oscar Mabuyane had expressed no intention to investigate Tikana-Gxothiwe.

“We can confidently say now that there has been no move to punish her for seeking to profit from the pandemic. We believe that Weziwe enjoys this kind of special treatment and protection because of her blood relations with [ANC national chair] Gwede Mantashe,” Tetyana said.

Before the reversal of the decision, Mabuyane issued a statement defending the initial decision to house the patients at Mioca Lodge. He then ordered that they be hastily moved to another facility.

In the statement he said: “People who are quarantined and isolated will be accommodated at decent and suitable facilities because they are humans whose human rights and dignity must be protected by all of us in government and in society.”

Tikana-Gxothiwe could not be reached for comment on Sunday.


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