Imagine if, before the Covid-19 pandemic started, some benevolent institution, some philanthropic billionaire, had funded the construction in the heart of Pietermaritzburg, of a fully-equipped, fully-staffed hospital.
Well, that’s what happened.
In 1898 the Vicar Apostolic of Natal, Charles-Constant Jolivet, consecrated Saint Anne’s Hospital, a sanatorium staffed by Augustian nuns, as a gift from the Catholic Church to the people of Pietermaritzburg
It was transferred to the Natal Provincial Administration – then under the political control of the National Party government in 1970 – and handed as a going concern to the new ANC government in 1994.
So what role did Saint Anne’s Hospital play in ameliorating the dreadful impact Covid-19 has had on the citizens of Pietermaritzburg?
Desecrated by the ‘broad church’ of the African National Congress as part of its ‘good story to tell’, it lies abandoned and derelict, a shell slowly being colonised by trees and plants which now reach for the sky where a roof once existed, taking lonely root where operating theatres and maternity wards once bustled with human life and healing.
It is an apt metaphor for the consequences of the ANC’s ‘National Democratic Revolution’ and for its illegal deployed cadre patronage system which lies at the heart of the Beloved Country’s incremental drift towards becoming a dysfunctional and bankrupt state.
I was reminded of this when the Naspers newspapers published photographs of the once-thriving Jim Fouche holiday resort in the Orange Free State.
These newspapers had been alerted to this tragedy by a media release from Dr Roy Jankielsohn MPL – Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Legislature.
The media release was headlined ‘Ruined Jim Fouche Resort a mirror image of Magashule’s legacy’ and you can read it here.
The ANC’s de facto focus on self-enrichment through corruption as part of its deployed cadre patronage system, combined with its utter indifference to the concept of preventative maintenance has been reflected in headlines for the past two decades:
- 1 June 2008 – Untreated sewage – Eastern Cape baby deaths
- 22 March 2013 – Boundary fence at navy base collapses
- 21 May 2014 – Sannieshof municipality closes down
- 19 November 2015 – Abattoir blood contaminates Welkom water
- 6 January 2016 – No preventative maintenance in Belfast
- 23 June 2016 – Tshwane scores worst for maintenance
- 14 December – 2016 – Sewage floods home in Pietermaritzburg
- 6 February 2017 – Daveyton Golf Course abandoned site
- 2 March 2017 – Roof collapses at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital
- 23 March 2017 – SAPS lift plunges four floors
- 27 March 2017 – Mankweng Hospital ceiling collapse
- 9 May 2017 – Couple almost drowned as septic tank explodes
- 7 December 2017 – Eskom culture of ‘maintenance deferral’
- 8 May 2018 – Gauteng school building deterioration
- 5 August 2018 – Dead pigeons, bird lice at Durban High Court
- 28 December 2018 – Dam wall collapse, Benoni
- 26 February 2019 – Makhanda drowns in sewage
- 15 May 2019 – SABC building evacuated after diesel leak
- 18 November 2019 –Pothole fixing drive stalls
- 3 December 2019 –Burst pipe causes sinkhole
- 3 February 2020 –Broken city
- 14 February 2020 –Potholes, rubbish and broken street lights
- 11 August 2020 –Revolt over unmaintained roads
- 23 September 2020 – Unending sewage spills in Graaff-Reinet
- 29 September 2020 –Railway infrastructure abandoned, pillaged
The ANC has acknowledged that its multi-billion rand farm land claim reclamation project has utterly failed and former white-owned farms which produced food valued at hundreds of millions of rand annually and employed thousands of people have been abandoned and now lie fallow – see here and here.
In most cases this is because the successful claimants lacked the necessary expertise and government help.
The most obvious manifestation of the ANC’s twin evils of corruption combined with complete indifference to preventative maintenance is the way the bankrupt and dysfunctional municipalities its deployed cadres exploit for financial gain have turned the Vaal River into an open sewer to the detriment of the poor who live on its banks.
An enduring monument to the ANC’s combination of corruption and indifference to preventative maintenance is one of which I have personal experience.
Rocklands Villa is a row of semi-detached apartments behind the SABC building on the Sea Point beachfront. It was built at the turn of the last century and, until the ANC took control of this regional office two decades ago, it was used as low-rental accommodation for maintenance technicians on 24-hour call and lower income employees. In what was perceived by non-ANC aligned employees as a routine, self-enrichment scam, the ‘new’, ‘transformed’ SABC evicted all its employees from Rocklands Villas and gutted the building with the clear intention of selling it as a refurbished building.
Most of the evicted employees were from the Cape Flats and, in what I called “District Six revisited”, these scatterlings were once again cast adrift by the ‘transformed’, ANC-controlled SABC management.
Once the building was reduced to a shell, the rapacious new overlords discovered that a former employee had registered the building with the National Heritage Council. The building was effectively abandoned and quickly occupied by drug dealers, prostitutes and feral street children who made life untenable for neighbours. At one stage it caught fire. The plight of those living nearby was ignored until the Cape Town municipality declared it a problem building and threatened prosecution. Reluctantly, the SABC fenced it off.
It’s been 21 years since the ANC-controlled state broadcaster evicted its own employees from Rockland Villas in a stymied get-rich-quick scheme. A former employee put in an offer to buy the building through his lawyer. The SABC did not respond to the letter.
Rocklands Villas, a tangible metaphor for the consequences of the ANC’s deployed cadre patronage system and the consequent countrywide decay, is now barricaded and unoccupied, having lost millions of rands in value. Rooms which once echoed to the happy laughter of children now hear only the ghostly rustle of rats, scurrying along foetid, flame-scarred passages.
All part of its glorious National Democratic Revolution, of its ‘good story to tell’ by those who claim to be the ‘authentic voice’ of the South African people.
It should be on the itinerary of every tourism company in Cape Town because it is a very real symbol of what has become of this country since the Last Jacobins of Africa took control and of what it is yet to become.