Take Covid 19 testing to rural areas urges Holomisa

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa wants the government to embark on a massive Covid-19 testing campaign targeting people in rural areas.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa wants the government to embark on a massive Covid-19 testing campaign targeting people in rural areas. Image: SIMPHIWE NKWALI
With only 77 people having been tested for the coronavirus in the Eastern Cape, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa wants the government to embark on a massive testing campaign targeting people in rural areas.

The Eastern Cape, which had 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus at the time of writing on Monday afternoon, has a population of 6.5 million people according to the last census of 2011.

Holomisa, who is still waiting for his results after testing for Covid-19 in Komani last week, believes having “military hospitals” at voting districts would go a long way in getting as many people as possible tested and treated before the virus spreads further.

Holomisa said pumping billions of rands into Covid-19 programmes without testing those in rural hinterlands would not yield the desired results — instead “you will hear that the money has been looted”.

He said there had been enough awareness campaigns done about the dangers of the virus, but people were either not taking it seriously enough or were keen to make a profit ahead of human lives.

“There’s a general lack of discipline in SA,” he said.

Holomisa said nurses and soldiers should be deployed to his envisaged field hospitals at voting districts to test residents.

“This virus is an eye-opener because I had suggested that we use the IEC blueprint, their map, and go where the voting districts are and we immediately take such services to people, instead of people having to go to town or hospitals, which might be too far from people, just to be tested.

“If we used the IEC voting districts to have military hospitals people would walk across the road and get tested, get treatment, hand sanitisers or gloves, but the government are dragging their feet. I don’t know their plan on how this is going to work in rural areas.

“I think those are the things that we should be working on before this thing breaks out in even bigger numbers,” he said.

The former Bantustan army general said he was expecting his results by Wednesday at the latest.

“This virus is an eye-opener because I had suggested that we use the IEC blueprint, their map, and go where the voting districts are and we immediately take such services to people, instead of people having to go to town or hospitals, which might be too far from people, just to be tested.

While he had no symptoms consistent with Covid-19, Holomisa said he had been in self-isolation since last week.

He is at his Mthatha family home while his family is in Mqanduli.

Asked if he was scared of the test results, he replied: “If I test positive I will just treat it because I have started the process by testing. I cannot be scared of something I cannot see. I don’t have time for that nonsense.”

Holomisa took the test  after ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe tested positive for Covid-19 last week. ACDP chief whip in the National Assembly Steve Swart has also tested positive.

Meshoe, President Cyril Ramaphosa, Holomisa and other politicians were in the same room with them while addressing the media earlier this month, prompting fears that more leaders might test positive for the virus. Ramaphosa’s results came back negative.

By MKHULULI NDAMASE – TimesLIVE

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