President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plan to visit the Western Cape has been postponed after the province’s premier went into self-quarantine on Wednesday.
Ramaphosa was due to visit the province on Friday.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has gone into self-quarantine after coming into contact with eNCA cameraman Lungile Tom, who died of Covid-19 on Wednesday morning.
The Western Cape has the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country.
“The president has agreed to reschedule his visit, given this development, and we thank him for his understanding,” Winde said in a statement released on Wednesday evening.
Winde said he had been at the same event as Tom on Thursday last week, and received a call from the broadcaster on Wednesday morning to alert him.
“In line with Covid-19 protocols, eNCA contacted us this morning to alert us to the fact that Lungile had been the camera operator during last Thursday’s digicon event. These digicons have been held digitally with the express purpose of ensuring that physical distancing can occur. Only a few television journalists are invited to attend in order to broadcast these news announcements.
“In terms of good practice for workplaces, screenings will also be arranged for those Western Cape government staff members who were in the room. Should any of them require testing, in terms of our established protocols, this will be arranged.
“Because I had a one-on-one interview with Lungile after the press conference, being in close range for some time, I am deemed a close contact and will now self-quarantine. It has been nearly seven days since our contact, and I will therefore go into self-quarantine for another seven days.”
Winde assured members of the public that he had not yet experienced any symptoms associated with Covid-19, but, if he does, he would have a test performed “straight away”.
He said he was saddened to hear the news of the cameraman’s death.
“Lungile was a regular fixture at many Western Cape government events and was well respected and liked by members of the Western Cape cabinet and the entire Western Cape communications team. We send our condolences to his family and to his colleagues today. He will be missed.”
Winde said, in the meantime, he would continue working “full steam ahead” from home.
“Because of our developed systems, I can continue to join all meetings, and will be overseeing our new hotspot targeted strategy.
“It is imperative that we take the utmost care and lead by example in our approach to Covid-19.”
Earlier, eMedia investments said in a statement that Tom was admitted to hospital on Sunday night with Covid-19 related symptoms.
He was tested and admitted to intensive care when his test results confirmed that he had Covid-19. He died in hospital on Wednesday morning, it said.
Winde thanked the broadcaster for being proactive, even while mourning their colleague.
“This is what every person and company should do in such an instance. This is how we slow the spread and ‘flatten the curve’,” said Winde.