Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency
Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency

ANC allies calls for intervention in Western Cape over escalating number of Covid-19 infections, deaths

By Siviwe Feketha Time of article published May 11, 2020

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Johannesburg - ANC alliance partners in the Western Cape have called for direct intervention by the national government and stricter lockdown measures amid an escalating number of confirmed Covid-19 infections and deaths.

The only DA-controlled province has become the epicentre of the coronavirus accounting for more than 50% of both total infections and deaths in the country. 

By Sunday, the number of infections stood at 9 420 and the death toll at 186. The SACP blasted the manner in which the province has handled the pandemic, describing it as “Trumporiented” and disorganised compared to the other provinces.

SACP provincial secretary Benson Ngqentsu said the national government had to urgently intervene if the curve was to be flattened in the province.

“There has to be a strong team with authority deployed by the national government here. The main sources of infection are in retail and farms and there is no leadership to ensure that these people are not infected. The workers there go back to their homes and infect their families and what is worrying is that there is not even a provincial command centre here,” Ngqentsu said.

Meanwhile, the DA is campaigning for the national lockdown to be brought to an end, as it said it was serving no purpose and instead destroying the economy and livelihoods.

Ngqentsu said the SACP was instead lobbying the National Command Council (NCC) to consider reviewing and escalating lockdown regulations in some parts of the province including Cape Town, due to escalating infections. He said the call for an end to the lockdown was “self-serving”.

“The obsession of the DA to end the lockdown is driven by those who own the industries. They are all about profits at all costs,” he said. Cosatu also accused the province of a lack of proper enforcement of the regulations and ensuring that all sectors complied.

“We need a co-ordinated response to curb the further spread of the virus in this province, not the arrogant partypolitical approach that has been adopted by the Western Cape government,” Cosatu said.

At the weekend, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize visited the province where he received a briefing from seven experts working with the provincial government to curb the pandemic.

Mkhize said transmissions in the province had happened earlier and faster than expected, which resulted in the numbers who tested positive being high. Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said the provincial government had come up with sector guidelines, which were now published for businesses to comply with.

Political Bureau

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the government's 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or go to SA Coronavirus for more information.

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