WESTERN CAPE NEWS - I am deeply saddened by the news that the Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, has passed away, following Covid-19 complications.
Mr Mthembu was a hard working and dedicated member of the executive, who always acted with integrity.
He was also a kind man, who thought for the best interests of South Africa, and our democracy.
I extend my condolences to his family and friends, and to the African National Congress.
May he rest in peace.
Update on the coronavirus by Premier Alan Winde
As of 13:00 on Thursday 21 January, the Western Cape has 27 110 active Covid-19 infections with a total of 259 070 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 222 384 recoveries.
The Western Cape has recorded 136 additional deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the province to 9576. We send our condolences to their loved ones at this time.
Additional data is available on the Western Cape Covid-19 data dashboard which also features active cases per sub-district, active cases per 100 000 and 7-day moving averages.
Visit to West Coast Disaster Management Centre:
At this week’s digicon, the Western Cape Government announced that the province had passed its second wave peak and that key indicators showed a sustained decline.
The only district which had not yet shown this decline, however, was the West Coast District, and therefore Minister of Health, Nomafrench Mbombo and I went to visit the region today.
As of today, we are starting to see promising signs that the district is reaching its peak, with a 18% decline in new cases over the last 7 days, and a 28% decline in admissions. We will be watching this data closely.
We were informed that while there is still a growth in cases, the rate of growth is declining, which indicates that the district is soon going to reach its peak. We believe it will soon join the other districts of our province in a decline next week.
During our visit to Moorreesburg, we were shown around the Disaster Management Centre to see the work being done to respond to Covid-19. We also participated in the special Covid-19 Forum Meeting with the Mayors and Municipal Managers from this district.
I was impressed by the level of planning and how all role-players take this pandemic seriously, doing everything possible to ensure that we provide the care needed to every person who needs it as this district’s peak is approached.
I also used the opportunity to extend a thank you to the frontline workers and residents for the role they continue to play in slowing the spread and saving lives.
Visit to Vredendal Hospital:
During my visit to the West Coast District, I also visited Vredendal Hospital, where our Department of Health added 20 beds to the hospital during the first wave, by converting an old boiler room.
This project means that the hospital will have legacy infrastructure enhancements beyond the pandemic. I want to thank all those involved in this project.
The hospital has adequate oxygen supply, and while under pressure (as it approaches its peak) it is coping and able to provide care to every person who needs it.
I was most excited to meet healthcare workers, who are the real heroes at this time.
We all owe them so much for their dedication and passion, and I extended by sincere gratitude for their hard work, on behalf of every person in our province.
Getting the balance right in saving both lives and livelihoods is important to our government, and so I also went to visit a local grocery store in the town to find out more about the challenges they are facing.
I was glad to see proper safety measures in place for customers and staff but was concerned to hear that like many other small businesses, economic pressures are being felt in this town.
I will also be stopping by a kite surf shop in Langebaan where I will be meeting with the owner of the store along with a group of local restaurant owners from Langebaan, who all benefit from the Western Cape’s oceans economy and especially, people who come to visit the beach.
These businesses are buckling under the pressure of the beach ban, and in the case of the restaurants, the alcohol ban too.
I was able to let them know that the Western Cape has called for some restrictions to be lifted, including relaxing some of the alcohol restrictions and lifting the beach ban entirely. I will follow up with the Minister’s office soon on this request.
A job is not just a nice to have, and we need to fight against unemployment with the same determination as we did against Covid-19.
Throughout this visit, Minister Mbombo and I also used the opportunity to inform residents of safety tips during this unprecedented pandemic.
It is important that we continue to do everything possible to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe during this time.
Please remember to wear a clean cloth mask, that covers your nose and mouth, to avoid crowds, close contact and confined spaces, and to always wash your hands with soap and water or use a sanitiser.
I again want to thank all those residents who continue to do this every day – you are helping save lives, and livelihoods in the Western Cape.
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