“We should long been on the streets over these appalling conditions our people face daily.”
This is the opinion of South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, after he travelled to Sada in the Eastern Cape for the funeral of his sister, who died of suspected Covid-19.
Sada is about 20km from Queenstown, on the road to Balfour.
Vavi, who contracted Covid-19 himself in late March or early April but has since recovered, turned to Facebook to describe the nightmarish results of trying to get help for his sister-in-law, who fell ill after his arrival in Sada.
“Just to get you a feel of the crisis facing the poor!” he posted.
“Arrived early hours of this morning at Sada for the burial of my sister tomorrow! Reminded that there is water restrictions! Taps have water only between 5 and 10:00. If you need to use the little room you must have water in the buckets!
“A call came through that my other sister is vomiting and weak! So I rushed to the doctor! As I arrived my sister in law was getting out of the doctors rooms. She had short breadth. I have to rush her to Hewu hospital.
“There were long queues for the doctors and nurses at the hospital! Only two doctors and two nurses had to deal with the long queues. The third doctor was in the maternity ward for another crisis! Told half of already few and overburdened doctors and nurses had to be quarantined.
“Opted to rush the sister in law to Frontier Hospital in Queenstown 33 km away while sister condition improved! There queues were better. Tests conducted not good. She is being admitted. Still at the hospital waiting for X-ray results!
“That’s my first day at home – hardly able to support my late sister’s kids.
“Now put your self in the poor’s shoes with no car to drive the sick – no face shield, no mask, no hand sanitizers, no nothing,” he said.
After the death of his sister, MaMzondi, the labour leader also tweeted about what had happened since she had fallen ill.
“My sister didn’t survive! She was rushed to clinic early morning today with short breath. She passed on this afternoon. All signs point to a coronavirus even though she died without the results. Rest In Peace MaMzondi,” the message read.
He later tweeted that his sister had “been rushed to Hewu hospital. Been to the doctors twice in 2 weeks! Was tested on the 1st June at Frere hospital. Results not back in 4 weeks! Local clinic closed due to infection of CHWs! In the hospital being admitted to she has to bring own blankets and pajamas.”
(Compiled by Carina Koen)