The Premier of the Western Cape expresses worry about the impact of the National State of Disaster on the recovery and job development sectors. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
The Premier of the Western Cape expresses worry about the impact of the National State of Disaster on the recovery and job development sectors. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

Concerns about the economy’s recovery raised as the National State of Disaster extended

By Murphy Nganga Time of article published Oct 14, 2021

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Cape Town - The announcement of the extension of the National State of Disaster has been met with criticism as the premier demands for openness on the road map to terminate the National State of Disaster.

This comes after the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced the extension of the National State of Disaster to November 15, 2021.

The extension, the ministry said in a statement, was in terms of section 27(5)(c) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002).

“The decision to extend the state of national disaster follows consultations with relevant stakeholders and Cabinet approval. The extension takes into account the need to continue observing all non-pharmaceutical interventions against Covid and increasing vaccinations as part of contingency measures being undertaken to mitigate against its impact,” said the ministry.

In response to this announcement, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde released a statement calling for openness in order to provide clarity to job-creating businesses on what the strategy is to exit the State of Disaster.

“I specifically called for transparency on the road map to end the National State of Disaster, which is an extreme tool that cannot be used indefinitely. The people of the Western Cape, and in particular our job-creating businesses, need clarity on what the plan is to exit this State of Disaster, including when it will happen,” said Winde.

The premier points out that the ongoing assessments should determine the satisfaction of conditions for terminating or allowing the state of disaster to lapse.

“I am extremely concerned that the national government does not in fact have a plan for this to happen, with clear markers, based on expert advice. This is a problem. We should be using this time now to have these discussions so that we put in place the management systems for the future, that empower provincial and local governments, through differentiated responses. This is the certainty that the economy needs to grow and recover,” adds Winde.

In the premier’s 5-point plan, he suggests that putting an end to the national state of disaster will help grow the economy and create jobs.

Angelic Engelbrecht, a local business owner, said that she anticipated the recovery of the economy because given the  warm weather coming and the increase in the number of tourists, this will benefit her business.

“Business is just not that popping with lockdown in general. For those who saved up for December to have a pop-up shop will perhaps benefit, but with the country still being on lockdown and under curfew, that would result in local business to making fewer sales.”

“With some businesses laying off some employees, resulting in many businesses having to close their doors, rent contributes to this and not having a solid plan, strategy and a way forward affects the overall business with these extensions,“ said Engelbrecht.

In Winde’s calls for transparency, he stresses the importance of utilising the opportunity now to put in place mechanisms that will allow the control of the virus without having to depend on what is an extreme piece of legislation.

“It is of great importance that we use this time now to have these discussions and put in place the systems that will enable the future management of the virus, without having to rely on what is an extreme piece of legislation that has very severe consequences on our future recovery and job creation,” said Winde.

Weekend Argus

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