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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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National state of disaster extended despite appeals from many quarters to end it

Premier Alan Winde finds the government’s extension of the state of disaster unacceptable. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Premier Alan Winde finds the government’s extension of the state of disaster unacceptable. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 16, 2022

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RESTRICTIONS

Cape Town - Despite appeals from Premier Alan Winde, businesses, activists and politicians calling for an end to the national state of disaster and lockdown, the government has extended it for another month.

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Winde said despite having months to prepare alternative public health measures that would normalise their response while enabling them to focus on creating jobs, it seemed the national government had not finished the job.

“This is unacceptable, and President Cyril Ramaphosa owes South Africa an explanation,” Winde said.

He said it was also of concern that the extension took place without a President’s Co-ordinating Council (PCC) meeting, which meant provinces were unable to engage with the national government on the matter.

“This is also despite Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma herself indicating that the PCC would be the appropriate platform for engagement on this issue, after my correspondence to President Ramaphosa in February, following his State of the Nation Address commitment to end the declaration,” Winde said.

On March 11, his office received a further letter from Dlamini Zuma, effectively saying the disaster would end once “adequate measures are introduced”, he said. No details of when were provided, Winde added.

The State of Disaster has been extended until April 15, Dlamini Zuma announced in a notice published in the government gazette yesterday.

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Director and chief economist of Efficient Group, Dawie Roodt, said many countries were phasing out Covid-19 restrictions.

“Because of the war, the SA economy is likely to be affected negatively. We can’t afford any form of economic restriction,” he said.

Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Jacques Moolman said: “Things will carry on as usual in that the adjustments business has been compelled to make have already been taken, unless and until the minister decides to change the regulations. She has already compelled us to take it.”

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Moolman said those who were unable to do so had already closed their doors, and those who had made changes in light of the regulations that they could afford and therefore obey, have done so.

“The question is how the general public will react. Will they continue to wear masks? Will the police enforce mask-wearing in the streets? Will the present regulations governing restaurants remain in place? And is this extension of the State of Disaster necessary, or have we not yet been told of some new Covid-19 threat?”

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