Statement by Premier Alan Winde on the National State of Disaster

“Is there a roadmap to end the National State of Disaster?”

On Thursday last week, I wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa to request consultation with provinces ahead of any extension of the National State of Disaster, now expected this Friday.

I also requested transparency on the National Government’s proposed roadmap to end this disaster. We cannot have this declaration forever, and the public, and especially the economy, need certainty about what the government’s plans are to end it and by when.

I have yet to hear back from the Presidency on this meeting, and I am increasingly concerned that the National Government has not yet applied its mind to what such a roadmap will look like.

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.

It is only reasonable to expect that such a plan to terminate the declaration exists, based on expert advice, with clear markers, including vaccination coverage, and the empowerment of provincial and local governments to respond in future.

The Western Cape has a five-point plan, which we believe is the framework needed to save both lives and jobs in the Western Cape and the country.

  1. We must end the National State of Disaster to grow the economy and create jobs.
  2. We must enable Provincial and Local Government responses through an established traffic-light warning system, based on pre-determined measures of health platform capacity. This will enable provincial, differentiated approaches in the future based on a provincial government’s capacity to respond to increased pressures.
  3. We must maintain healthcare capacity by increasing budget allocations to Provincial Governments. This will enable maintenance of standby field hospital capacity, healthcare worker capacity and oxygen capacity should it be required in the future.
  4. We must empower people by continuing with behaviour change campaigns that provide knowledge on non-pharmaceutical safety practices. Residents must be given the agency to protect themselves and others.
  5. We must increase vaccinations through more pop-up and satellite vaccination sites, which work better by improving convenience and access. This approach should be supported by the National Government.

My office will be following up on my correspondence with the Presidency, which we believe is urgent and important given the expected extension of the declaration on Friday.