Cape Town - Premier Alan Winde thanked the women of the Western Cape for their contribution to the fight against Covid-19 over the past year since the first case of the virus was reported in the province.
Premier Alan Winde was joined by Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer, provincial director general Harry Malila and head of Health Keith Cloete at an interfaith prayer ceremony.
The ceremony was led by female leaders of various faith-based organisations to commemorate International Women’s Day, and in remembrance of all the people who have died due to Covid-19 in the Western Cape.
Among the women of faith who led prayers at the gathering were Nompithizelo Sibidla representing Christians, Ghanaan Philander Adams from the Muslim Judicial Council, Adrienne Jacobson from the Cape SA Jewish Board, Nondumiso Mtshiselwa representing African traditions, Madelyn Uithaler representing the Khoisan and Nalini Gangen, representing the Hindu faith.
In brief remarks made at an interfaith prayer gathering held at the concourse of the provincial legislature building, Winde said: “Covid-19 is still with us in the Western Cape over 1 000 people are currently still in hospital, and we have lost 11 258 lives.
“We must still do everything we can, every single day to ensure that we protect ourselves and our loved ones so that we can save lives.”
He later added that the event was also an opportunity to reflect on the hope that vaccines now bring in the year ahead.
“Women across the Western Cape have done so much during the last year, despite experiencing some of the most difficult circumstances. From healthcare workers, to volunteers at soup kitchens; from police officers and teachers to social workers; women across the Western Cape have stepped up during the past year to fight this pandemic.
“Sadly, we must also acknowledge that for many women in our province this was done in face of continued violence and discrimination.
"We must also acknowledge that the last year has seen many women lose their jobs, encountering a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. And so, this International Women’s Day the Western Cape Government also commits to ensuring an economic recovery that enables more women to access economic opportunities, and the dignity that this brings,“ Winde said.
“I again want to reiterate my heartfelt appreciation to every woman in our province for what they have done, and what they continue to do, to keep our province moving forward. We honour you today.”
Dr Cloete said: “Covid-19 has redefined what the world is all about. The virus has redefined what society is about and what it should be for the next generation.”
“As we mark a year since our first case we must firstly acknowledge the losses Covid-19 brought to us, grieve and mourn what the virus has done to us individually as well as to our society,” Cloete said.
Agriculture MEC Meyer said: “The power of a woman’s prayer carries a home during times of crisis.”