Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says the province must move to level 3 as soon as possible, preferably before the end of May, despite it being the biggest Covid-19 hotspot in the country.
The province currently has 4,367 active cases of Covid-19 and 2,283 recoveries, with Winde now in self-quarantine after coming into contact with eNCA cameraman Lungile Tom, who died of Covid-19 on Wednesday morning.
In his address on Wednesday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced some areas would move to level 3 restrictions by the end of May depending on the number of recorded cases.
Said Winde: “The Western Cape government will use the process of consultation announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to make clear our position that the entire province must move down to level 3 as soon as possible, preferably before the end of May 2020.
“With our healthcare system prepared, it is simply no longer possible to maintain Level 4 restrictions anywhere in the Western Cape or South Africa.
“The economic crisis caused by these restrictions has resulted in a life-threatening humanitarian disaster that will only worsen in the months ahead.
“The Western Cape has adopted a data-led, evidence-based approach to our Covid-19 response, with targeted interventions in hotspots. These hotspots are not whole provinces or even districts. They are geographical areas where people live, down to street-level.
“This is the plan that we presented to the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize on Saturday, and which had already been adopted by our cabinet.”
This comes as Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen prepares to announce the party’s court action against government’s lockdown regulations.
The DA has called for the national Covid-19 lockdown to end “swiftly”, following Ramaphosa’s address on Wednesday evening.
According to Steenhuisen, the lockdown has destroyed more lives than it has saved, with millions of jobs lost.
“The DA supported the first three-week national lockdown, to buy time to gather healthcare resources and prepare hospitals. Sadly, this did not happen, except in the Western Cape. Heads must roll.
“The initial lockdown was also an opportunity to build test, track and trace capacity so that a smart lockdown (localised lockdowns) could be pursued. Sadly, this has not happened, except in the Western Cape. Heads must roll.
“The last two to four weeks of lockdown have not been necessary, rational or justified. Cyril Ramaphosa is being disingenuous in suggesting that the lockdown has saved lives. It has merely delayed the peak. But the peak is inevitable whether we lock down or not.
“It is not a rational strategy and has not been so for weeks. It is irrational and disproportionate to the scale of the risk that Covid-19 poses, relative to other risks. And it has not been supported by an adequate safety net for poor people and small businesses,” said Steenhuisen.
(Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde)