South Africa: Protesters Burn down New Hospital Wing
A section of the Dora Nginza Hospital in Zwide, Eastern Cape, was severely damaged by fire late yesterday when protesting residents torched it.
They are angry that a construction project at the facility is employing people from outside the area..The burnt section, which is still under construction, is earmarked to house the hospital’s emergency wing. A security guard who works at the hospital said: “It all happened so fast. The protesters had been singing and dancing peacefully all these days. Some of them sneaked [in] unnoticed and set fire on the building. We tried to douse the fire on our own but our efforts were dashed by the heavy wind that was blowing against us. We were then helped by the firefighters. They also struggled to extinguish the blaze because of the wind.” employed residents of Zwide and New Brighton have for the past week cordoned off the construction site demanding that Transtruct, the company building the structure, employ them.A resident of a nearby street, who himself is unemployed but was not part of the protest, said: “It was not a big group that did this. In fact at first I thought they were dispersing for the day since it was around 5pm. But we were shocked to see the fire coming out of the place. While I don’t support the burning and destruction of important infrastructure during protests, the officials should also try to engage peacefully with the communities. This protest is valid. It is a government requirement with all projects that unskilled jobs are given to local people.