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 is 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.
Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights