As the country anticipates President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation over the easing of lockdown restrictions, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has called on the president to lift the National State of Disaster.
Winde on Tuesday participated in a meeting of the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) and called for a differentiated approach at the provincial level to manage the Covid-19 pandemic in order to fully reopen the economy.
South Africa is currently under level 3 restrictions.
“There should not be a one-size-fits-all approach to implementing restrictions, which is why I also called for a differentiated approach. Restrictions should be implemented in line with each provincial healthcare system’s ability to cope. We have learned how to manage waves and have the capacity to do so at a provincial level,” the premier said in a statement.
Winde said he also submitted to the PCC that the differentiated approach should be thought through and put in place before the fourth wave hits the country. He also made recommendations related to major indoor events, sporting events, conferences and conventions.
“We need to stop the haemorrhaging of jobs and we can safely do this as our healthcare system is stable. The recent Quarterly Labour Survey results showed that between 1 April 2020 and 30 June 2021, 254,000 people lost their jobs due to the implementation of the lockdown. This is deeply concerning, and we must address it by reopening our economy.”
Confirming people’s vaccination status
To further support the economy, Winde said government should implement an electronic vaccination system to show whether residents had been vaccinated or had conducted the necessary tests.
He said this would enable international tourists to travel to South Africa and allow South Africans to conduct business abroad.
“I call on the national government to look into digital alternatives to confirm vaccination status. This may include a cell phone application that could show whether citizens have been vaccinated and also record test results,” Winde said.
Ramaphosa is expected to announce an easing of lockdown restrictions in the next few days after meeting the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and the PCC this week.
According to a News24 report, possible changes could include adjusting the curfew to 11pm to 4am and increasing the number of people at indoor gatherings from 50 to 100 and 250 for outdoor gatherings.
Another suggested amendment was around the sale of alcohol. Offsite alcohol sales would reportedly be allowed from Monday to Friday until 6pm, while on-site sales would be permitted until 10pm.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe