Media Statement by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Dr Zamani Saul on Progress by the Provincial COVID19 Command Council

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The Northern Cape Provincial Government has spent the past week assessing readiness in terms of the lockdown implementation plan as we observed the first week of the countrywide lockdown. Various Members of the Executive Council have visited communities to assess compliance with the lockdown protocols and that especially grant payments run in an efficient manner with adherence to social distancing and practising safe hygiene.

On Saturday I joined Premiers from all nine Provinces with the President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, the Deputy President, Mr David Mabuza and all Ministers in a virtual meeting of the President’s Coordinating Council to discuss progress and challenges on the implementation of the national and provincial responses to the Covid19 lockdown. As Premiers we stressed the need for greater coordination and communications around the national state of disaster regulations across all levels of Government and reaffirmed the regulations as gazetted as binding across the country. This structure will be meeting frequently to ensure that our efforts are aligned to the national response.

Security personnel have been deployed to all parts of the Province and these teams are made up of members of SAPS, SANDF and supported by the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison (DTSL), Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) in all the roadblocks. For the period of the Lockdown, the cases reported so far are 1005. All border posts are manned by SAPS, SANDF & DHA, with the help of the District -Joints particularly Namakwa and ZF Mgcawu Districts. This past week the Province was also visited by the Deputy Minister for Police, Mr Cassel Matale and National Commissioner Mr Sithole on Wednesday. They visited a few roadblocks and SASSA pay-out points in the Kimberley area. They expressed satisfaction with the work conducted by the Province in ensuring the safety of the citizens and abiding by the lockdown regulations.

Visits were also conducted to taxi ranks in Kimberley, Springbok and Upington to ensure compliance with regards to regulations of social distancing, sanitizing of taxis and commuters’ hands, loading capacity and pricing issues. The Taxi Industry leaders were also engaged on regulations and challenges pertaining to Public Transport during Lockdown.

The Provincial Government also notes the results of the people that have tested positive for COVID19 in the Province. To date, there are eight (8) confirmed    coronavirus cases in the Province. Seven (7) of them are from the Phokwane municipal area. The first 2 cases that were confirmed are the couple that attended the church conference in Bloemfontein last month. The third and fourth cases are family friends to the couple. The fifth and sixth cases are working for the initial couple.

The latest case is from Jan Kempdorp and the patient is self-isolating at home.

One (1) case is in the Sol Plaatje local municipality who came in contact with a German resident who also tested positive for COVID – 19. None of these cases are admitted in hospital, they are self-isolating at home as they presented with mild symptoms. 

In addition to the eight cases being reported by the Northern Cape, there are also two positive patients in the province who work and were tested in the Free State. One of these is from Boshof and was admitted at Gariep Medi-Clinic. The patient has been discharged after recovery. The second one is being monitored in self-isolation in De Aar.

Tracer teams have traced contacts of confirmed cased to contain the spread of the virus in the province. All contacts that are close to confirmed cases have been traced and are monitored on a daily basis. Those who present with symptoms are referred for further medical intervention.

So far, Northern Cape has tested 223 people of which 160 are negative and we are still awaiting results of 55 suspected cases.

The massive screening campaign will be rolled out starting today in all Districts across the Province. Specific focus will be placed on the Phokwane Municipal area as most of the confirmed Covid19 cases come from this area.  In consultation with the National Department, the Province is in the process of sourcing mobile laboratory units to screen for the virus as soon as possible.

SASSA and Social Development

Last week started with preference being given to the elderly and disabled for their grant payments. The payment process was used as an opportunity to educate beneficiaries on social distancing. The Department of Health also visited the sites and did screening on the elderly and gave flu vaccines to over 75 year olds. The Department of Social Development and SASSA are working together with the Department of Health to ensure that the necessary health standards are maintained at all the pay-points during the payment of social grants. It is anticipated that the final grants will be paid latest 14th April 2020.

The Department of Social Development has started with the distribution of food parcels to our 47 700 beneficiaries across the Province.

An amount of Thirty Eight Million Rand has been made available for the procurement of food parcels to be distributed to qualifying beneficiaries.

Procurement at a Provincial level resulted in 134 service providers being contracted to deliver food parcels. The procurement has also been decentralized with 150 service providers appointed in the first week to deliver 1000 food parcels per week in each district.

Today we oversaw the rollout of the distribution of 200 food parcels in Platfontein as well as intensifying the COVID19 campaign in Platfontein. We encouraged leaders of the Xhu and Kwhe communities to work with Government to ensure that communities remain safe, to stay at home and help Government to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

The five district shelters are operational providing shelter, food and hygiene products to the service users. At this stage we still find that homeless persons and street children are reluctant to be housed at shelters and this poses an immediate threat to the safety of our citizens.

A plea is extended to all citizens to report homeless persons and street children to the police for admission to a shelter.

Water and Sanitation

The distribution of storage tanks and water trucks to high- and medium density informal areas with unreliable or no water supply and soap, bleach and hand sanitizers are on track. Currently Sedibeng Water delivered 227 and installed 67 storage tanks in Sol Plaatje (Kimberley), one of the highest priority areas. In Phokwane, Sedibeng Water delivered 50 storage tanks. Rand Water has deliver 144 to date and 202 storage tanks are in transit. These tanks are being delivered to all hotspot areas in the Province. The Province requires 779 storage tanks and 84 water trucks. There is a daily increase in numbers. The Department of Water and Sanitation is working closely with municipalities to ensure that these tanks are filled regularly with water.

The Northern Cape Provincial Government wishes to express our heartfelt condolences to the family and colleagues of the late Sergeant Steven Damoense who sustained a serious head injury after conducting patrols in Ritchie on the 30 March 2020 as part of enforcing the lockdown regulations. We trust that the law will take its course and make an appeal to members of the community to abide by the lockdown regulations as prescribed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in order to avoid tragedies such as these.

The advent of the COVID-19 has plunged us into unchartered waters which have resulted in a steep learning curve. We are continuously assessing our regulations for society to effectively respond the COVID-19. South Africans have responded to government’s call in great numbers. The majority of our community members have been playing their part to limit the spread of the virus. We are, however, concerned about those who have not yet appreciated the seriousness of this disease. The disease is very real and it poses a great danger to every one of us and to our society. Every time you violate the regulations, you are putting yourself and others at risk, and helping the virus to spread. By observing the regulations, staying at home, observing good hygiene practices and by working together, we have a real chance of containing the spread of the Coronavirus Covid-19.

Released by the Provincial COVID19 Command Council
Bronwyn Thomas-Abrahams, Spokesperson to the Premier, 083 447 6586, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Monwabisi Nkompela, Head of Provincial Communications, 071 109 2776, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Lebogang Majaha, Spokesperson to the MEC for Health, 071 883 6404, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Marius Nagel, Provincial Head of GCIS, 083 778 9179, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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