Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and Premier Alan Winde on Saturday. Picture: Zweli Mkhize/Twitter
Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and Premier Alan Winde on Saturday. Picture: Zweli Mkhize/Twitter

Coronavirus spread in Western Cape in need of urgent intervention - Dhlomo

By Bongani Hans Time of article published May 10, 2020

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Cape Town - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Saturday descended on the Western Cape as pressure mounted on the national government to intervene in the coastal province that has recorded more than half of the country’s Covid-19 infections.

This after health portfolio committee chairperson Sibongiseni Dhlomo had called for urgent intervention in the spread of the virus while the ANC wanted a return to level 5 of lockdown.

Speaking at a press briefing in Cape Town on Saturday, Mkhize said the spread of the virus in the Western Cape was not different from other provinces.

He said that the national government would provide more support, such as further training of health-care workers and additional resources.

“We are also bringing in additional personnel, the Cuban specialists would also be deployed.

“We are also asking that the province must look at additional medical practitioners as well as nursing practitioners that you might need to bring into the system so that you can have adequate response,” he said.

Mkhize said the national government intervention would inform similar interventions that would be needed in different parts of the country.

He was in the province ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit on Friday. The president would also be going to the Eastern Cape and other provinces.

Dhlomo described the situation as serious and needed urgent intervention.

“The increasing number of infected people in the province is alarming and calls for drastic measures to be put in place to push back the frontiers of the spread of the virus in the province,” said Dhlomo.

Mkhize said the Western Cape had 4 809 infections followed by Gauteng with 1 910. The DA-led province also had 88 deaths followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 42.

Dhlomo said the City of Cape Town’s planning to contain Covid-19 was poor, “given the number of people who tested positive in Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and Witzenberg”.

ANC MPL Danville Smith said Covid-19 in the Western Cape required special attention.

“The ANC therefore urges the relevant authorities in the province to apply through Premier Alan Winde for special status to Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs national Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to put the Western Cape back on level 5 to get a stronger grip to curb the spread,” said Smith.

Winde said during the press briefing with Mkhize that the issue of bringing the province back to level 5 had not been discussed either at the provincial government level or with Mkhize. 

“Our discussion was how do we look at those hot spots. Therefore, what we are doing is focusing on the hot spots and management tools around the hot spots because there are lots of municipalities in our province that are reducing the number of infections,” said Winde. 

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen had on Friday called on Ramaphosa to abandon the lockdown and focus on economic recovery. 

He recently asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) not to give South Africa the relief funds if it would be used in a racially discriminatory way. 

He said the lockdown was now a bigger threat than the virus “because this lockdown is going to cost many more lives than it can possibly save”.

“We have to end the lockdown crisis, and we have to do it now. 

“We also knew that our country’s economy could only withstand a very limited freeze.

“There is very little for us to gain and almost everything to lose by keeping people at home and keeping businesses shut any longer. This is why the lockdown had an end date,” he said.

However, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni lashed out at Steenhuisen, calling for him to “stay in his lane”.

“You have no right to instruct our president to open the economy. That is disrespectful and unwarranted. Please delete your tweet!! Hayibo! Thixo!” tweeted Mboweni.

Sunday Tribune

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