Cape Town – Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said South Africa’s extension of the national state of disaster was “deeply disappointing”.
His comments follow the government’s extension of the state of disaster for an additional month until February 15.
“The fact that it has been done without tabling a clear ‘roadmap’ for when it will end is even more worrying,” Winde said in reaction to Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s announcement earlier on Friday.
Dlamini Zuma’s statement says the decision to extend the national state of disaster until February 15 takes into account “the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state to address the impact of the disaster”.
Winde welcomed a meeting next week where proposals will be discussed regarding a roadmap for when the state of disaster will end. However, he wondered why it had not happened sooner, since he had called for this in October last year.
The extension means provisions that prevent pupils from returning to school on a full-time basis are still in effect, which sets up “a generational catastrophe that will hurt our poorest communities the most”, according to Winde.
The premier’s campaign to end the state of disaster was thought to be boosted by evidence from the Western Cape showing Covid-19 deaths and hospitalisations consistently decreasing in the fourth wave compared with the third wave, the Cape Argus reported earlier on Friday.
“The Western Cape has furnished clear evidence that Covid-19 has reached an ‘endemic’ stage. This data supports normalising our response, with common-sense public health measures incorporated into existing public health legislation,” Winde said on Friday.
As a result, the need for extreme measures to protect the country’s health-care system in the form of a national state of disaster were no longer needed, Winde said.
Current admissions to South Africa’s hospitals in the private and public sectors have consistently decreased, according to this week’s data from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
Current hospital admissions per day this week:
- Monday: 8 783
- Tuesday: 8 535
- Wednesday: 8 513
- Thursday: 8 223
Earlier on Friday, Health Minister Joe Phaahla confirmed that Gauteng had exited the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal – South Africa’s most populous provinces – have consistently contributed the majority of South Africa’s new Covid-19 cases on a daily basis.