Western, Eastern Cape partner to formulate travel protocols between provinces
Cape Town - The Western Cape and Eastern Cape have released a joint statement on travel protocols between the provinces which is expected to be submitted to government and the National Command Council.
Premier Alan Winde said that a meeting was held on Thursday morning to discuss solutions to improve management of traveling, transportation of bodies between the Eastern and Western Cape provinces during the Covid-19 pandemic.
From that meeting, they resolved that four regulatory protocols must be drafted by the two premiers and submitted to national government for processing.
The virtual meeting, was attended by Eastern Cape Premier Lubabalo Mabuyane, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, Police Minister Bheki Cele, Health MECs, Sindiswa Gomba and Nomafrench Mbombo, Safety and Liaison MECs Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe and Albert Fritz and the Police leadership from both provinces.
"The meeting follows a discussion during the Presidential Coordinating Council where the two provinces reported that they were in talks trying to find protocols of cooperation," Winde said.
The protocols being developed by the two provinces will focus on:
- Joint cooperation on agriculture to specifically manage the movement and employment conditions of seasonal workers between the two provinces.
- Management of funerals with a focus on restricting movement of bodies of Covid-19 related deaths.
- Management of general travelling of people between the two provinces given the easing of restrictions and to manage traveling when schools and universities are opened.
"The meeting agreed that the situation affecting these two provinces is not unique to the two and needs national government consideration to better manage travel and the transportation of bodies nationally in a manner that helps to contain the transmission of Covid-19," Winde said.
"The two provinces have committed to work together to hold joint operations and cooperate to ensure the proper management of travel, to curb emerging criminality and ensure the dignified transportation of bodies for funerals of people who die in the Western Cape to be buried in the Eastern Cape."
Eastern Cape Premier Mabuyane added: “I must say that on almost every discussion we had during the meeting, we are agreeing. There is a sufficient consensus around such discussions. Some of these discussions are inter-provincial so they need to be done in the context of national regulations, hence the importance of having Ministers participating in that bilateral."
Winde said that the provincial government welcomes the opportunity to engage with the Eastern Cape on this matter, "as travel between our two provinces by seasonal farm workers returning home or two work, and to attend funerals is common".
"Regulations and protocols must be designed in such a way that they limit the spread of the virus, but still allow people living and working in the Western Cape who need to return to the Easter Cape to bury loved ones, to grieve appropriately," he said.