Eastern Cape Premier Lubabalo Mabuyane has warned of increased law enforcement in areas of the province with a high coronavirus infection rate as level 4 restrictions are implemented.
The provincial government would also ensure that all workplaces implement occupational health and safety regulations aimed at ensuring a safe environment for workers, he said.
“National and provincial government departments will work with all sectors of the economy to ensure compliance with the applicable regulations to effectively minimise transmission of the virus during level 4 of the national lockdown,” Mabuyane’s spokesperson, Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha, said in a statement on Thursday.
“Regular inspection of companies by the Department of Labour will continue. The Eastern Cape provincial government pleads with employers, especially big manufacturing businesses, to work with the government for the re-opening of their businesses and the economy.”
This week, Mabuyane met with Western Cape Premier Alan Winde to discuss the high traffic flow between the two provinces.
According to Sicwetsha, 157 vehicles from the Western Cape were turned back by law enforcement agencies at the points of entry into the Eastern Cape between 27 March and 30 April for not having proper national lockdown travelling permits.
“They agreed that law enforcement from both provinces will set up joint operations at the points of entry connecting both provinces. These have started at the points of entry in both Tsitsikamma and Aberdeen,” he said.
“This move is aimed at eradicating the use of fake permits following the arrests of individuals who were producing and selling fake permits to passengers travelling between the two provinces.
“The Eastern Cape provincial government is worried that there are many people travelling from the Western Cape with fake permits in the possession of taxi drivers and not the passengers who are supposed to have their individual permits. National lockdown permits are given to individuals and not taxi drivers.”
Meanwhile, the provincial government has drafted former health MEC Dr Monwabisi Bevan Goqwana, and former superintendent-general Dr Silva Pillay to provide clinical advice to the OR Tambo District.
It also combined the Sarah Baartman District and Nelson Mandela Bay metro joint operation centres to improve the province’s efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
“With vast medical and administrative expertise under their belts, both Goqwana and Pillay join a team of medical experts in the employ of the provincial government, the team assigned by Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize [and] medical experts from universities in our province to provide best expert advice to the provincial government to curb the spread of the virus,” Sicwetsha said.
According to the most recent statistics released by Mkhize on Wednesday, the Eastern Cape had 630 confirmed cases.
This is the fourth-highest number of Covid-19 infections after the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.