Sakunda defends itself against resident’s fears of establishing coronavirus medical clinic in residential suburb

SAKUNDA Holdings says it will take proper mechanisms and standard
measures in the construction of a medical facility to cater for some
patients suffering from coronavirus in order not to endanger the lives
of some residents living in Mt Pleasant suburb.

Sakunda Holdings made the undertaking in response to an urgent chamber
application filed on Saturday 28 March 2020 by Roger Stringer, a
resident of Mt Pleasant suburb in Harare, seeking an order to stop the
establishment of a medical facility in a residential suburb to cater
for some people suffering from the deadly coronavirus.

In an application filed at the High Court, Stringer, who was
represented by Jeremiah Bamu and Obey Shava of Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights, protested against the renovation and upgrading of Rock
Foundation Medical Facility, which according to media reports is being
turned into an isolation centre for the admission and management of
people suffering from coronavirus by Sakunda Holdings and Health and
Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo.

Stringer, who resides at a property that is adjacent to the medical
facility is apprehensive that he is being exposed to a greater risk of
contracting coronavirus should the medical facility be used for the
admission of some patients and that his right to an environment that
is not harmful to his health or well-being is about to be violated.

The Harare resident argued that Sakunda Holdings and Moyo are not
authorised by law to violate his entitlement to the protection of the
law in relation to the role of the local authority in managing
infectious diseases and the right to be consulted afforded to
residents in Mt Pleasant suburb.

He argued that no measures have been or are being put in place to
minimise the exposure of himself, his family and other residents
brought upon by the use of such a facility as a referral centre for an
infectious disease.

Stringer said the site for the medical facility is connected to a
reticulated sewer main across Norfolk road in Mt Pleasant suburb which
is intertwined with water supply and with the same sewer reticulation
mains which service his household and therefore puts himself and his
family at greater risk of contracting the highly infectious
coronavirus.

Stringer said Sakunda Holdings and Moyo can make use of some
established facilities for infectious diseases such as Wilkins
Hospital and Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital which are all
run by City of Harare for the admission and management of patients
diagnosed with coronavirus and of which these facilities have not been
proved to be inadequate for the purposes of containing the deadly
outbreak.

But in a notice of opposition, Sakunda Holdings tried to ally
Stringer’s fears by claiming that his close proximity to the medical
facility does not endanger him and his family.

Sakunda Holdings, represented by Norman Chimuka and Nigel Sithole
argued that Stringer’s fears should not be allowed to stand in the way
of a public project.

In setting up the medical facility, Sakunda Holdings claimed that it
was assisting and augmenting government’s efforts to fight coronavirus
out rightly on a charity basis and for the public good and nothing
more while the public stands to benefit from services offered by the
medical facility.

Rock Foundation Medical Centre, Sakunda Holdings argued, will be
operated in a manner that does not endanger Stringer and his family
and had put in place facilities and experts to avert the spread of
coronavirus within the vicinity of the medical facility.

Sakunda Holdings also denied being in any form of partnership with
Ministry of Health and Child Care to upgrade Rock Foundation Medical
Centre, but was doing it for God and not for any profit making
purpose.

Moyo, the Health and Child Care Minister, was given up to the end of
day on Monday 30 March 2020 to file his opposing papers as he had not
done so when High Court Judge Justice Happias Zhou heard the matter on
Sunday 29 March 2020 with his lawyer advising the court that he could
not locate the Minister hence he needed to be given more time to
ascertain the whereabouts of Moyo before filing his papers.

Justice Zhou is expected to hand down his ruling on Tuesday 31 March 2020.