Health Minister Zweli Mkhize in Cape Town assessing the Western Cape's handling of the Covid-19 crisis. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African news agency (ANA)
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize in Cape Town assessing the Western Cape's handling of the Covid-19 crisis. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African news agency (ANA)

Covid-19 infections and deaths will continue to rise, Mkhize warns

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Jun 16, 2020

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Cape Town - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has warned the country to be prepared for more deaths and rising infections in the battle against Covid-19.

He said this at the time Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu also criticised the rise in gender-based violence cases with more women being violently killed in recent days.

Mkhize and Zulu were on Tuesday launching the Ministerial Advisory Committee on social behaviour. The main task of the committee is to help push down the number of people infected with Covid-19.

Mkhize said there would also be a shift from relying on enforcement, to relying on the goodwill of South Africans to do what was required to save lives and livelihood in the face of the virus. 

The health minister said this has been a relentless struggle over the last few months since the first case was reported in March.

But the new fight needed new partners who would drive down the numbers.

Mkhize said despite opening up the economy they expected the numbers of those infected to increase, so too, those that would be killed by the virus.

"We can turn the tide against this enemy. As a country we can maintain control over the coronavirus," said Mkhize. 

"We recognize that the coronavirus has wreaked its havoc into many sectors of society- and also continues to threaten those who have vulnerabilities. The socio-economic effects are being felt in grim ways; like when we see expressionism in Gender Based Violence or alcoholism and trauma," he said. 

"As South Africans, we cannot afford to have excuses. The whole world is going through what we are going through. Our hard won freedoms were to afford us the opportunity to be the masters of our own fate. As President Cyril Ramaphosa said, 'South Africa… it is in your hands.' We can choose how this story is going to go," said Mkhize.

Zulu said they cannot remain silent when women were being killed in their numbers.

Tshegofatso Pule, 28, who was eight months pregnant, was stabbed and hung in a tree in Roodepoort. Naledi Phangindawo, 25, was hacked to death, allegedly by her boyfriend in Mossel Bay, Western Cape.

Several other women have been killed in other provinces since the lockdown begun.

Zulu said GBV was a fight that needed to be fought in every street corner and village.

She urged members of society to speak out when they know of women and children facing abuse at home. Zulu said while the country was facing Covid-19 women were also under attack from abusers.

Every effort has to be made to speak out and identify men who abuse and kill women and children. This was a fight that would be fought until the scourge of gender-based violence was eliminated in society. 

Political Bureau

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

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za 

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