Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has written a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa asking him to consult with provinces before Cabinet extends the national State of Disaster again.
Winde and his party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), have been consistently calling on government to urgently lift the State of Disaster, which was enacted in March last year at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In order to facilitate economic growth and saves lives, the premier believes a differentiated approach at provincial level – instead of a national lockdown – is required to respond to the pandemic, among other proposals he has made to the president.
Last week, South Africa moved to the less restrictive adjusted level 1 lockdown ahead of the 1 November municipal elections. The declaration of the State of Disaster is likely to be extended again on 15 October.
Winde, in his letter to Ramaphosa, also asked for transparency on national government’s “proposed roadmap” out of the State of Disaster.
He said the plan had not been made public or shared with provinces, despite the significant impact that the continued lockdown had had on provincial economies and their constitutional powers.
“It is only fair on our residents, and especially our job-creating businesses, that this clarity is provided. We cannot be in a State of Disaster forever, and we need to have a clear plan for its termination.
“This will provide much-needed confidence to the economy, which remains under great pressure,” Winde said in a statement.
The Western Cape government’s five-point plan on how to can get the right balance between saving lives and jobs, includes increasing budget allocations to provincial governments. This is to enable maintenance of standby field hospital capacity, healthcare worker capacity and oxygen capacity should it be required in the future.
The plan also included increasing vaccinations through more pop-up and satellite vaccination sites so that government can quickly reach its target to inoculate 70% of the adult population before the end of the year.
“We trust that the president will treat this request as a genuine attempt to get the balance right in saving both lives and jobs in our country, and in line with the principles enshrined in the constitution,” Winde said.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe