Cape Town – Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille on Thursday announced that her department had identified 37 properties in various provinces which could possibly be used as quarantine sites.
"Some of these sites will be available to people living in informal settlements where there are no such facilities available," De Lille said at a media briefing in Parliament on the interventions by her department and the construction and built environment industry to respond to Covid-19.
De Lille also said teams from her department have been visiting all districts to assess properties and the process was ongoing.
"Some of the sites have already been communicated to the Minister of Health," she said.
De Lille said they have communicated to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize that her department was engaging all provincial public works departments and municipalities to ensure they were able to identify possible quarantine sites in all 44 districts and eight metros in cases where there are no available Department of Public Works and Infrastructure-owned properties.
"As we confirm that sites can be used as quarantine facilities, they are communicated to the Minister of Health. This process is ongoing."
De Lille announced that another key intervention was the installation of a fence at Beitbridge border between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
"This is to ensure that no undocumented or infected persons cross into the country and vice versa.
"This is in line with one of the measures announced by the President in that South Africa’s borders and ports are to be secured with immediate effect," she said.
De Lille also said she has invoked emergency procurement procedures in relation to the erection and repairs of the border fences, east and west of the Beitbridge border post.
"I issued a directive to my Department on Monday 16 March, to allow them to proceed with emergency procurement procedures."
According to De Lille, 40 kilometres of 1.8-metre high fence has to be erected, 20 kilometres on either side of the Beitbridge land port of entry.
A contractor was appointed on Wednesday and would be handed the site to commence with the work on Thursday.
"Due to this being an emergency, my department has instructed the contractor to substantially increase the number of teams deployed and the rate of delivery ten-fold."
The installation of the 40km fence is expected to cost about R37.2 million and would be finished within one month.
De Lille also said some provincial departments have already advised of state-owned properties to be used for quarantine.
Free State will avail two of its hospitals – the Trompsburg Hospital and the Ladybrand Hospital – to be used as quarantine centres.
KwaZulu Natal Department has availed a number of properties for use as quarantine sites in Durban North, Pietermaritzburg, Richards Bay and Port Shepstone.
Limpopo will avail four properties to possibly be used as quarantine sites in Waterberg, Vhembe, Capricorn and Mopani districts.
North West will avail several sites across the province, including four hospitals.