Provincial governments should not relax measures to fight Covid-19, says David Makhura
Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier David Makhura has urged politicians, business people and ordinary citizens to help his government fight Covid-19 in a bid to avoid more deaths over the next two months as infections are expected to surge.
Makhura made the plea while delivering his budget vote in the Gauteng provincial legislature on Thursday.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated and exposed other pandemics such as institutionalised racism and the killing of black people by the police; gender-based violence; killing of women and girl children by men; rising inequalities, poverty, unemployment and food insecurity amid a deepening climate crisis.
“All these pandemics pose an existential threat to human well-being and human civilisation. We must respond comprehensively to address these pandemics in a manner that safeguards sustainable human progress, greater equality and social justice for all. We need a new economic model. We need a new approach to social security and food security policy to ensure no-one goes hungry and no-one is left out,” Makhura said
The premier also maintained that black people were most affected by Covid-19 all over the world and that the situation will be worse in South Africa as black people constitute the majority of the population.
“The homeless people cannot go back to the streets after Covid-19. Those without income who are now receiving a Covid-19 grant cannot be asked to fend for themselves after six months. As the strategic apex and centre of the government, the Office of the Premier is playing a central role in rethinking current policies, and spearheading the re-designing of new social and economic policy packages that will ensure that millions of people are included in the post-Covid-19 new economy,” he said.
Makhura revealed that the provincial government had put plans in place to combat any negative impact the pandemic will have on the lives and livelihoods of residents.
He said a risk-adjusted strategy means his government will regularly monitor the outbreaks and adjust when necessary, saying at times, they would be compelled to ask the National Command Council to shut down some areas or sectors if the situation worsens.
“The government cannot function as though there is no Covid-19. Any approach that suggests ‘business as usual’ with regard to the government policy and conduct of state affairs would have missed the point. We need a substantial change of gear, both in many areas of policy and posture of those given the responsibility to govern.”
He also said: “Covid-19 has shown that we can deliver popular outcomes that respond to the pressing basic needs of the masses. We have also demonstrated that we can make swift and decisive decisions when the situation demands.
“We would like to continue with the positive lessons on how we managed the Covid-19 pandemic. There are also lessons we must draw from some of the mistakes and blunders committed during the management of the pandemic.”
* 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