Cape Town - Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has said he will reiterate his call that President Cyril Ramaphosa lift the national state of disaster immediately during this morning’s meeting of the President’s Coordinating Council.
Winde has been calling for the restrictions to be eased and lockdown regulations to be lifted since since September 2021.
Winde said South Africans - especially those that are unemployed - should not have to wait until 15 April “because the national government has simply not done their job in time, despite having months to prepare”.
“It is concerning to me that despite public utterances that the priority of the national government is to create jobs, its actions seem to show otherwise. It's time to bridge this gap and show the courage needed to get our economy growing again.
“The Western Cape understands the importance of taking this bold step now,” Winde said.
He said according to an industry poll conducted by the province’s department of economic development and tourism, a significant number of businesses had been impacted by Covid-19 lockdowns and related restrictions:
- 81% of respondents cited major disruption to their businesses over the last 18 months, 12% of respondents indicated moderate disruption;
- 85% of respondents indicated that their revenue was impacted upon by Covid-19 in the last 18 months;
- 71% of respondents indicated that their business activity was impacted upon by Covid-19 in the last 18 months;
- In terms of impact on revenue, 38% of respondents indicated that their revenue decreased by approximately 81-100%;
- In terms of employment, 24% of respondents indicated that their staff complement decreased by 81-100%;
- 85% of respondents indicated that business activity decreased in the last 18 months;
- 67% of respondents did not identify new business opportunities because of the pandemic, however, 33% did; and
- 69% of respondents indicated that cancellations (orders/bookings) from customers have increased over the last 18 months.
Winde said Ramaphosa was wrong if he thought the status quo was not hurting the economy, and that the current restrictions were merely health regulations.
“The events industry, in particular, continues to be impacted by a nonsensical restriction on the size of the gathering. Many countries have lifted these restrictions some time ago,” Winde said.
“This is especially problematic if you consider the cultural and creative Industries’ direct contribution to South African gross domestic product and the major decline it has experienced.
“Indeed, it has declined from R84.3 billion in 2019 to R42.2 billion in 2020 – around 50%.
“While there has been some recovery in 2021, which is expected to continue, the impact on these industries on South Africa’s GDP in 2021 is expected to be R46.9 billion – still 44% less than in 2019.
“When one considers the ongoing impact of load-shedding and the global impact of the Russian invasion, ending these regulations will send the right message to the economy, and especially the unemployed, that this government takes creating jobs seriously,” he added.
The premier said it was now time to walk the talk, without further delays.
“It is time to lift the national state of disaster immediately.”