Western Cape residents who don’t wear their masks could soon face consequences
Cape Town - Premier Alan Winde has said the Western Cape Government will be looking into a system of consequences for not wearing masks and that this was one of the things he asked President Cyril Ramaphosa about during Wednesday’s meeting of the Presidential Coordinating Council (PCC).
Speaking during his regular digital news conference on Thursday, Winde said: “In the next few days, we will definitely up the law enforcement side of things.”
Winde said: “I have asked the president that we need to have a look at consequences of not wearing your masks. What are those consequences? Well, we will definitely see if we can be much much stronger.”
“While we shouldn’t have to spend all our time policing our way out of this, we will make sure that the law enforcement is there and visible in places where people are not following the golden rules. In cases like that, we’ll definitely have to come down on you very hard,” said Winde.
“There have been extensive media reports in the last 24 hours about potential plans by the National Government to re-introduce alcohol restrictions and move the curfew earlier. The Western Cape Government would not be in support of such interventions. They would be a double blow to our struggling hospitality sector, which employs tens of thousands of people in this province.”
“Instead, we need to work with these establishments to ensure compliance, and where it doesn’t happen, ensure there is proper enforcement with real consequences.”
“I do, however, believe that the current requirement allowing 250 people to gather indoors is very high given that we know that Covid-19 spreads easier in crowded and closed spaces with poor ventilation. Any limitation on the number of people who can gather in an indoor space must be based on thorough scientific evidence and advice to ensure it will be impactful.”
“Quite frankly, the power is within the hands of the citizens. Let’s work together in ensuring that over the next 30 days we flatten this curve,” said Winde.
Previously, Winde used Wednesday's Presidential Coordinating Council (PCC) meeting to argue against a lockdown being imposed on the province, and in favour of targeted, local interventions based on scientific evidence.
Winde said: “The discussion Wednesday morning was about the Garden Route and the Eastern Cape, and looking at measures in which to curtail the spread of this virus.”
“The Western Cape has seen a resurgence of Covid-19 in recent weeks, and the increase in cases must be carefully monitored and managed. The Western Cape does not, however, support a lockdown being imposed on the province,” said Winde.
“We believe that local, targeted interventions, based in science and common sense will not only help to flatten the curve of infection but will also protect businesses and the economy from the negative impact of a lockdown.”
“We await further announcements from the President around potential interventions at a national level and in terms of the Disaster Management Act.”
Even as Winde was speaking there was criticism from the leader of the provincial opposition, Cameron Dugmore (ANC), who said: “From the outset, the DA leadership tried to undermine the national lockdown. They called for the ban on alcohol and cigarettes to be lifted. They even spread mixed messages about the wearing of masks.”
“It is ironic that the provincial government is now talking about its own lockdown. It is the clearest admission that they were wrong. As the ANC, we need to consider serious interventions in the hotspot areas. We do not support a blanket lockdown,” said Dugmore.
Good Party MPL Brett Herron said: “If the science and health professionals recommend that we need localised restrictions in order to reduce community transmission, then we have no choice but to follow that advice.”
“It is unfortunate that the DA and the provincial government have spent the last seven months criticising, challenging the various lockdown rules that were implemented across our country. They have undermined the urgency and seriousness of the restrictions implemented by the National Covid Command Council by consistently arguing that they were largely unnecessary,” said Herron.