Call to relax Covid-19 restrictions in Western Cape draws mixed reactions
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Cape Town - Premier Alan Winde’s call for the further relaxing of restrictions to boost the economy as the province passes the peak of the third wave of Covid-19 infections has been met with mixed reactions.
On Wednesday evening, Winde said he would petition the president to move the Western Cape down to alert level 2 as soon as possible.
“This will enable the weekend sale of alcohol, a later curfew and an adjustment to the size of gatherings permitted.
“While the Western Cape continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the country, it remains unacceptably high for our standards and jobs are still being lost,” said Winde.
Agreeing that the economy needs to reopen, provincial ACDP leader Ferlon Christians said: “Where we as the ACDP strongly disagree with the premier is on enabling the weekend sale of alcohol.
“We know that the abuse of alcohol puts unnecessary strain on our hospital capacity. We believe that the restrictions on alcohol should remain in place.”
Freedom Front MPL Peter Marais said Winde was being bold and pragmatic and needed public support.
“Covid-19 is a monster with many heads. Cut off one and a new head grows to replace it. We cannot shut down our economy when we are facing a possible recession.
“We did not ever shut down our businesses because of deaths caused by HIV, diabetes, heart diseases, or tuberculosis. We must learn to live and accept that which we cannot change. Death will stalk us from the day we are born,” said Marais.
Good party MPL Brett Herron said: “The premier must understand that it is not a choice between lives and economy, they are co-dependent.
“His habit of premature announcements undermines the economy because it undermines the health precautions necessary to save lives. No economy will thrive without fully functional and healthy people active in it.
“We are all eager to move on from the disruption that this pandemic has unleashed on our lives and our work. But we have learnt three times now that premature relaxation eventually leads to another disruption when the transmission increases and these disruptions are harsh and debilitating.”
ANC provincial health spokesperson Rachel Windvogel said: “With less than a third of the Western Cape population vaccinated, it is also too early to just throw open all controls and hope for the best. The risk is still too high.”
EFF provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego said: “The only economic sector which remains restricted is the hospitality and leisure sector. Most sectors continue to operate at full capacity.
“It is clear that the premier wants the poor to be caught up in perpetual alcohol use to keep them subdued. He forgets that Western Cape is a leader when it comes to foetal alcohol syndrome cases and together with the massive drug problem the province faces.
“The EFF said from the beginning of the lockdown that politicians must give scientists the opportunity to do their work and be the ones to pronounce on whether restrictions must be downscaled or not,” said Xego.