The abandoned caravan park in Modjadjiskloof was supposedly renovated by the Greater Tzaneen Municipality and handed over to the Limpopo Health Department in September last year. It was reportedly meant to be used by the department as a quarantine facility to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Bulletin visited the site last week. A solitary security guard perched at the entrance to the premises escourted us on a tour through the chalets. Moss covered pathways cut their way through knee-high grass towards vacant chalets. A total of 20 rondawels are scattered in two separated blocks around the park – there are 13 big units and seven newly constructed smaller units hidden on the other side of the dense bush that separates the two blocks.
All the units were empty, though all their lights were on. The guard said the lights were permanently burning. According to him not a single person had visited the site in the last few months, barring one man who frequents the site. We were not sure who the man was but believe it to be a construction worker charged with painting the buildings as we noticed drums of pva paint stashed in one of the rondawels. In the same rondawel we saw two big piles of new bed mattresses still wrapped in plastic. There were no mattresses in the other buildings.
The ablution facilities resembled a building on the business end of an artillery barrage. Windows broken windows and rotting door frames bore testament to a site that had long since seen the touch of a maintenance project. During our visit to the site, we could see no visible signs of any upgrades to the structures or the grounds of this once pristine facility.
“We handed over the quarantine site to the department of Health when we completed with the renovations. It is for them to use it how they see fit and as, and when, they have people who need it,” explained Greater Letaba Municipal spokesperson Lovers Sibanda. “Let’s remember that it was a requirement for every municipality to make a place available as a contingency plan in case some families don’t have homes that are suitable for isolation. The [health] department is also responsible to provide furniture for the rooms like beds and linen and other things. We cannot dictate how they use it, as long as it benefits the communities.”
Sibanda could not answer our inquiry regarding the budget for the upgrade nor could she dismiss the rumour of R2 million spent on these unnoticeable renovations. She was also not able to offer an exact breakdown of the renovations. “I am not sure at this stage, but I will find the information and revert to you.”
We contacted Neil Shikwambane, the spokesperson for the Limpopo Health Department, and asked him about the facilities and the bedding and mattresses laying unused in the chalets. “The facility was meant to be used in case we had families and individuals who needed to be isolated during the first wave of the pandemic. Now there is no use for the facility. I will check on the matter of our property still at the site.”
This is a developing story and we will publish a follow up in our next edition.