NATIONAL NEWS - While walking her dog, a woman came across Covid-19 test swabs that were dumped in a drain in Vorna Valley, Midrand.
Vorna Valley resident *Maureen said she was angered that authorities took long to attend to her complaint concerning the dumped Covid-19 test swabs after having found them two weeks ago.
“My dog led me to the drain and I saw at least three test kits lying there with people’s names on them,” said Maureen, adding that The Courier Guy branding was also found alongside the swabs.
She contacted the Midrand Police Station and the department of health concerning the issue, but it received no attention for over two weeks.
“The police told me it’s not their business to investigate the dumped swabs. I don’t understand why,” she said.
“Eventually I got hold of [Ward 132] councillor Annette Deppe, who assisted me.”
Deppe contacted the police, the health department and a number of other parties to fetch the swabs and investigate. They arrived on the evening of 11 August to assist.
Deppe spoke to the Midrand Reporter saying: “The police should have been investigating this as a criminal offence. I think it’s appalling that they did not take action two weeks ago.
“The fact that the courier company had the audacity to dump this in a residential area is disgusting and they need to be investigated.”
Deppe shared a video of herself and Maureen at the scene on 11 August, which brought the issue to the attention of senior police officials among others.
Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said: “I can confirm that this matter was brought to the attention of police management on Tuesday 11 August, and, guided by the District Commissioner of Johannesburg, police are investigating and working closely with all relevant stakeholders to get to the bottom of this incident of alleged dumping of medical substances.”
Attorney at The Courier Guy Marno Kruger said they were aware of the dumping incident and photos.
“We are currently involved in a full comprehensive investigation regarding the Covid-19 test swabs which were dumped and found, of which photographs are being distributed, with one of these photos being a photo of our flyers, however not indicating that the swabs were transported within the flyer,” said Kruger.
He added that The Courier Guy had no record of any clients shipping or transporting Covid-19 tests nor have they received any complaints from any clients stating that they are missing any consignments related to this.
Kruger said that as a general rule, The Courier Guy did not take on any work pertaining to Covid-19 testing.
He said that they were also investigating the probability that The Courier Guy flyers at the scene may have been from a hijacked vehicle.
“We wish to notify any and all parties that we have had no involvement in the dumped and found Covid-19 test swabs and we are currently investigating the matter with the due diligence it deserves.”
Deputy director of media relations at the City of Joburg Nthatisi Modingoane acknowledged that on 11 August, the department received the complaint from Deppe.
He explained that upon arrival at the scene, it was discovered that Deppe had already picked up the swabs from the drain and placed them in a plastic bag, compromising the investigation.
In the drain, there was a The Courier Guy packaging bag.
Modingoane said that an email was sent to the courier company seeking clarity on the matter. He added that The Courier Guy explained that they do not collect Covid-19 swabs from clients.
“Taking into consideration the response from the company and the fact that the swabs in question were not found in the packaging of the alleged company, therefore this department cannot take further action against this company,” said Modingoane.
*Maureen did not wish to disclose her surname out of fear of victimisation.