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Winde and Mbombo says draft health regulations are costly, irrational and detrimental

Premier Alan Winde with Health MEC, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

Premier Alan Winde with Health MEC, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Apr 14, 2022


Cape Town - The Western Cape government has come out against the draft regulations, which, if promulgated, will mostly come into effect under the National Health Act.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the state of disaster had been lifted in March, and thereafter, the draft health regulations were published for public comment.

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These regulations are an attempt to continue some of the state of disaster rules. Four sets of draft regulations were released for public comment, with the public participation period closing on April 16.

The president said once the comments had been considered, the new regulations would be finalised and promulgated.

In a joint statement by Premier Alan Winde and MEC of Health Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, they said that following agreement by the provincial cabinet last week Wednesday, the Western Cape government has submitted its comments on the four sets of draft regulations to the national health department.

“We have consistently argued for the ending of the state of disaster and for the normalisation of our response to Covid-19 so that we can focus on the second, now more urgent pandemic of joblessness.

“In doing so, we believe that residents should be empowered to play a leading role, through their own agency, in the response, going forward.

“We have also said that we would push back against any proposed regulations that are not based on the best possible scientific advice, factoring in all the latest evidence. This cannot be a back door to introduce measures that are not necessary to manage Covid-19,” they said.

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“The Western Cape cabinet accordingly agreed that the draft health regulations as published are not supported.”

They said that many of the proposed provisions were not based on the latest available science and evidence, and they are “at times, onerous, costly, irrational and detrimental to the economy and job creation”.

They added that, in their view, some of the draft regulations could be found to be unconstitutional.

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“Overall, we are concerned that the draft health regulations do not adequately consider the reality that Covid-19 is transitioning into an epidemic phase. This brings into question the rationality of many of the proposed initiatives.

“To be frank, some parts of the draft health regulations take us back to March 2020, ignoring much of what we have learnt over the last two years,” they said.

“The Western Cape cabinet is also concerned that the draft health regulations reflect a Covid-19 bias and should therefore not be applicable to all Notifiable Medical Conditions (NMCs). This is likely to have costly and burdensome unintended consequences for how other NMCs are managed,” they added.

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They stated that the Western Cape government remains prepared for future waves, leveraging all the previous lessons learnt and innovations introduced and will await feedback from the national government on their plans going forward.

Cape Argus