Mayor pleads for people to adhere to the Covid-19 regulations. File Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)
Mayor pleads for people to adhere to the Covid-19 regulations. File Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

Deadly third wave fears for eThekwini

By Thabo Makwakwa Time of article published Aug 18, 2021

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DURBAN - ETHEKWINI Metro is expected to be the Covid-19 epicentre as KwaZulu-Natal officially entered its third wave.

Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda on Tuesday announced during the municipality’s Executive Committee (Exco) sitting that the province had officially entered another deadly stage of the Covid-19 pandemic, and pleaded for people to adhere to the Covid-19 regulations.

He said the city was expected to be the centre of the disastrous third wave that hit Gauteng in the past couple of months. “We encourage all Exco members and the public to get vaccinated and prevent the worst, which may happen due to the third wave.”

Kaunda said this was a setback as the city and province had also suffered a serious economic blow during the unrest that swept the region last month, resulting in the looting of shops and the destruction of infrastructure.

Mayoral spokesperson Mluleki Mtungwa told the Daily News that although the response had been positive with many people getting vaccinated, the city was still at great risk as it was the economic hub in the province and many people continued to flock there.

“The vaccination roll-out has been very positive and many continued to visit our sites to get vaccinated. What makes this a success is our awareness campaigns and the opening of these sites on weekends,” said Mtungwa.

On Sunday, Premier Sihle Zikalala confirmed that KZN was now in the third wave.

He said that for three consecutive days the province had recorded more than 3 000 new Covid-19 cases, and was reporting the second-highest number of daily confirmed cases with more than 2 000 new cases.

Zikalala added that last week the province had observed a 31% rise in the number of new cases, causing a drastic increase in the number of admissions in public and private hospitals, with some reporting extremely high occupancy rates in intensive-care unit beds.

Kaunda told the Exco sitting that he had met various businesses, including those affected by the unrest. He indicated that they had expressed the desire to continue doing business in the city.

“While many companies have started trading in the city, including big players such as Toyota and others, LG has indicated that it has considered leaving the country due to what had happened during the unrest. We have tried our best to assure them that as the government we have been putting together plans to ensure that affected companies are assisted.

“Samsung assured us that it would start operating soon after it was looted, and its building on Queen Nandi Drive set alight. We hope that other companies remain in the city as we rebuild. We have also made resources available to assist where we can.”

He added that he and the city’s leadership had also met the SA National Taxi Association (Santaco) as it was one of the most affected industries.

“Santaco is one of the pillars of the economy, and we know that their taxis could not operate during the unrest, and we appeal to the banks not to take drastic action and repossess their vehicles. Santaco must not be left out as we rebuild.”

Meanwhile, Exco member and DA eThekwini leader Nicole Graham raised concern about a possible shutdown on August 23. She asked, with no success, for the mayor to include this on the Exco agenda. She wanted the issue of the potential threat and possible safety measures to be discussed.

Kaunda dismissed it, saying it was rude of Graham to discuss matters not on the agenda. However, he reassured the DA that the matter would be discussed at the next Exco sitting.

Graham was also concerned about the use of the deputy mayoral perks, which included the provision of security and access to the vehicles assigned to the deputy mayor. She alleged that a certain councillor, who had not been elected to the position, was already using the perks. The mayor denied the claims.

Daily News

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