Vaccination sites, burial and cremations all closed until further notice in Durban

Covid-19 vaccination sites were shut down on Monday by the eThekwini municipality until further notice because of the riots in the city.

The city has also halted all burials and cremations until further notice as a result of the wave of looting and violent attacks that have swept across Durban and other parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng since the weekend.

City communications head Lindiwe Khuzwayo said the city had been unable to open a number of its community vaccination facilities on Monday morning because of the unrest. 

Threats had also been made against clinics, which would also be closed until the situation stabilised, Khuzwayo said.

Violent looting incidents were reported around Durban and other parts of KwaZulu-Natal on Monday, with the first troops deployed as part of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) response to the attacks.

One man was reported to have been shot dead in a looting incident in the Umbilo area on Sunday night. At the time of publication, unconfirmed reports were received that another man had been killed in a clash between looters and community members in Phoenix in north Durban.

Inmates at the Umzinto Correctional Centre on Monday set fire to the prison’s remand section in an apparent escape attempt, which may be linked to the ongoing riots in the province.

One of the prisoners, who had attempted to escape through the roof of a prison building, fell to his death.

Correctional Services spokesperson Sibongabakhe Nxumalo said that none of the awaiting trial prisoners held in the facility’s A Section, where the fire was started, had managed to escape during the incident, except for the prisoner who fell to his death.

The incident at the prison took place at the same time as a number of incidents of looting on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, Zululand and Durban, which had resulted in more than 120 arrests by Monday morning.

Nxumalo said they were yet to establish whether the fire was related to the riots in the province.

“We are working with investigators to understand what made these remandees start the fire,” Nxumalo said.

A number of water tankers belonging to the Ugu district municipality on the South Coast, which has been battling with water shortages for the last three years, were burned on Monday, according to the municipality. A fresh produce market was also looted and burned in the attacks, and a municipal office plus a number of council vehicles were torched.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

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