Newly-appointed Health Minister Joe Phaahla. Picture: ANA Reporter
Newly-appointed Health Minister Joe Phaahla. Picture: ANA Reporter

New Health Minister Joe Phaahla hits ground running

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Aug 6, 2021

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Cape Town - New Health Minister Joe Phaahla has hit the ground running and warned that the third wave was hitting the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, with the Eastern Cape also on the radar.

Phaahla was on Friday making remarks, during the briefing on Covid-19, after his elevation the night before in a Cabinet reshuffle by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

He took over from Zweli Mkhize, who resigned as Health minister following the Digital Vibes scandal that rocked the department in the last two months. Phaahla had been Mkhize’s deputy over the last two years.

He said the country was in the grip of the third wave, with some of the provinces reporting more admissions to hospitals.

However, Gauteng, which was the epicentre of the third wave, has seen a decline in new infections.

“As we meet, the third wave is still upon us. We are still going through a tough time in terms of the third wave, We know Gauteng was the epicentre, but we are encouraged that there is a constant and steady decline in daily infections,” said Phaahla.

He said they were concerned that the third wave was now hitting the coastal areas.

He said cases were on the rise in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Eastern Cape and they were keeping an eye on this.

Phaahla will travel to the Western Cape in the next few days to look at the containment measures in place to fight the virus. There are also worrying trends in the North West and Northern Cape.

With the government ramping up the vaccination programme, there were now over 8 million people who have received jabs. But the numbers would rise as more people get vaccinated.

He said from the beginning of September those who are 18 years and older will be allowed to take vaccine jabs.

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Political Bureau

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