THE Western Cape government will be paying R15 million to use the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) as a mass vaccination site for the next six months.
The provincial government, together with the City, which are shareholders in the CTICC, recently announced hat the convention centre would be the first mass site to come online for the Cape Metro area.
Speaking at a weekly press conference, head of health in the province Dr Keith Cloete, said they expected the site to come online in the first week of July. It would act as one of two public sector mass centres in the Cape Metro. Plans are under way to add Athlone Stadium to the mix.
The province has 205 active vaccination sites, with 65 public sector sites in the metro and 107 in rural districts.
“Assessments have been carried out at the Athlone Sports Stadium. This site will be able to accommodate a mix of fixed vaccination and drive-through stations. It is likely that this site will be brought on board as a mass site five to six weeks after CTICC.
“The successful go live and functioning of these sites will depend upon receiving an adequate supply of vaccines from the national Department of Health.”
Speaking during the sitting of the Provincial Legislature on Thursday, Premier Alan Winde said the low supply of vaccines to the province was impacting vaccination sites.
“We wanted 70 stations for roll out in the city, and right now we are sitting with 65 that are enabled and ready to roll out. We are now having to slow down because we don’t have sufficient vaccines in the system,” he said.
“It is difficult to keep the machine running with what we have coming in. We have received 245 000 vaccines of which around 220 000 are already in arms. The last few we have in stock are being utilised around the province.
“The scary part is we are having to tell some of the stations that we might not have stock for them tomorrow or the next day.”
Winde’s spokesperson Cayla Murray said the CTICC was contracted for six months.
“The contract period is from June 18, 2021 to December, 27, 2021. This period allows for the set-up, running and breakdown of the site,” she said.
“The preliminary budget for this endeavour is R15.1 million. This budget has been secured as part of the Western Cape Government’s response to Covid-19. The contract is on a cost-recovery-basis and is not a rental charge. It will cover the costs that the CTICC would incur during the contract period and not a rental for profit.”
Last year, the CTICC was used as a field hospital for 11 weeks, at a cost of R44.77m, paid by the department of transport and public works for hiring out the facility and using it for storage. This provided some much-needed financial relief to the centre impacted by lockdown restrictions on mass gatherings.
In the CTICC’s latest annual report for the financial year that ended June 30, the company stated that the agreement with the provincial government allowed them to recover a portion of its costs and preserve its cash flow as much as possible.
As many as 76 events were either cancelled or postponed resulting in a decline in revenue of R91.4m.
In January, the City, a 71.4% shareholder, approved the investment of R200m to assist the company.
“It is unlikely that the company would be able to operate at the level seen pre-lockdown,” read the report.
“Management has prepared forecasts and projections, taking into account the likely scenarios and accounting for possible changes in the trading performance. The outcome of the analysis reflects that the company has sufficient cash reverses to sustain itself for at least the next financial year without the requirement to obtain either loan funding or a cash injection from its shareholders.”
Article written by: Tshego Lepule
Photo credit: CTICC