Municipality wrong to issue Covid-19 stats, says Eastern Cape health MEC Gomba

Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba.
Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba.

The Eastern Cape government has been criticised for poor  handling of the Covid-19 outbreak and failing to communicate statistics on a daily basis.

This has led to fake news spreading on social media, which has created confusion and stigmatisation of the virus.

Now, the Emalahleni municipality has encroached on the health department’s responsibilities by announcing that some of the people  admitted to Glen Grey Hospital in Cacadu after testing positive for the coronavirus  had been discharged.

Under-fire health MEC Sindiswa Gomba said they were shocked when the local authority released a statement at the weekend announcing that 14 of 16 people had been given a clean bill of health after being under quarantine.

“They had no role in announcing positive and negative cases from their area. They did not communicate this with us and we are the department monitoring this situation.

“There was a misunderstanding. They were also not supposed to announce the details of these patients when they were admitted,” Gomba told  DispatchLIVE on Tuesday.

By law, no municipality is authorised to announce Covid-19 details, Gomba said.

Emalahleni spokesperson Luthando Nqumkana asked that questions be e-mailed to him but at the time of writing he had not commented on why they had made the announcement on Sunday.

The MEC had earlier in the day announced that the province had 42 recoveries.

“We are hoping these recovered patients will also teach others because we do not want people to die from something that we could have prevented.”

In the statement on Sunday, Nqumkana, said: “We were shocked yet thrilled to hear [the] good news that members of our community isolated in Glen Grey Hospital are now negative. This is the message of hope that indeed if you are attended to fast, isolated and adhere to certain precautionary measures, you can beat the virus.”

Provincial health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the patients were between two and 87 years old. The recovered patients would still be under self-isolation, while two remain under quarantine, Kupelo said.

“Two are remaining in hospital because they remained positive and must be kept there  for seven days.”


DispatchLIVE reported that 14 patients had been kept at Mioca Lodge in Cala, which is owned by Kwakhanya Tikana, the daughter of transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe.

They were hastily moved to Glen Grey Hospital after questions were raised as to whether due processes had been followed when Tikana’s B&B was chosen as a quarantine site.

One of the 14 recovered patients, who cannot be named to protect her identity, told of their stay at the hospital.

“Our food was slid in under the door. We would like to thank everyone involved in our recovery. We will stay in our houses and not allow any visitors in.

“The lockdown has not ended and we have been told to stay at home and not roam around the streets,” she said.

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