AfriForum is sending an urgent letter to the relevant authorities today on behalf of a group of South Africans currently quarantined in Coastlands, a hotel in Durban. The approximately 160 people are part of a group that arrived by ship in port. They are supposed to stay in quarantine in the hotel for the next 14 days. AfriForum is requesting the authorities to transfer the group to another facility as soon as possible, or to allow them to self-isolate for the remainder time of their quarantine period.
According to various complaints received by AfriForum, the hotel is not clean at all. Members of the group state that their health is not being monitored as quarantine facilities are supposed to do and that they do not receive three meals a day. Furthermore, they report that they do not feel safe at all. Earlier, they had been told that they would be transferred to another facility, but it was subsequently confirmed that this will not happen.
AfriForum issued urgent court documents on 4 June 2020 to request, among other things, that people returning from abroad should have the right to self-isolate. This procedure is currently standard practice in most countries. In South Africa, however, the state insists that people returning from abroad have to stay in state facilities and there are recurring problems with facilities that do not meet quarantine standards, as well as other issues such as unsatisfactory meals and difficulty for those returning to obtain medical assistance.
According to Alana Bailey, Head of Cultural Affairs at AfriForum, returning South Africans are helped in all possible ways, but despite repetitive legal action and media pressure, the problems continue.
“It feels as if we are continuously patching a broken system, instead of finding a sustainable and meaningful solution. No sooner does someone leave a bad facility, or receive medical aid, or the next crisis crops up elsewhere and then the process repeats itself. People are being quarantined against their will and often under inconvenient or even dangerous circumstances and, in addition, taxpayers are footing the bill for this, while these people can mostly self-isolate in their own facilities at their own expense. Coastlands is yet another example in this regard. We hope that the case will help us to find a solution that will be in the interest and will ensure the safety of all concerned,” says Bailey.