NATIONAL NEWS - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has been deployed to Tshwane to help with the fight against Covid-19.
This was in line with the government’s district development model, which involved the deployment of ministers and deputy ministers to municipalities across the country.
With Tshwane being the epicentre of the virus, the district was identified as one of the Covid-19 hotspot areas in the country.
Head administrator Mpho Nawa said Gordhan’s vast experience would not only help the metro in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, but would also assist in other aspects where there are weaknesses.
“Minister Gordhan has had a stellar career in the public service, firstly as the most enterprising and successful governor of the South African Reserve Service (SARS) under whose leadership revenue collection was at its maximum and as the minister of both finance and Cogta,” he said.
“We will draw inspiration, lessons and mentorship in terms of good governance and financial prudence from his wealth of experience as a dedicated and committed civil servant.”
Nawa said the team of administrators and senior management at the metro have already had two meetings with Gordhan and were excited to tap into his expertise to put Tshwane on the “right footing”.
“We are going to have many future engagements with Minister Gordhan. We are motivated and inspired from the last two meetings we’ve had with him. He has provided cogent guidance on what needs to be done to contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus,” Nawa said.
Gordhan’s deployment was met with criticism from the DA, who questioned his role.
DA shadow Cogta deputy-minister Cilliers Brink said it was clear that the Gauteng government was “floundering in its Covid-19 response”, and that it was unclear how Gordhan would contribute in Tshwane – or anywhere else.
“Will Minister Gordhan, for example, assume some of the powers of the province’s administrator in Tshwane, or will he just check up on the city’s Covid-19 response?” he said.
“Each sphere of government must fulfil its obligations. When they fail, government must invoke either section 100 of the constitution (for provinces) or section 139 (for municipalities).”
Tshwane has developed and implemented a ward-based Covid-19 outreach screening and testing campaign which targeted hotspot areas.
The campaign is rolled out on Fridays and was currently focused on shopping centres and malls.
Nawa said thousands of people had been screened and tested for Covid-19 in a concerted bid to isolate those that were positive from those who were negative.
He said such interventions were the reason Tshwane had the least number of infections out of all metros in Gauteng.
“We would like to appeal to our communities to observe the lockdown regulations and stop having house parties and exceeding the number of mourners permitted at funerals,” he said.
“We can defeat this killer virus if we behave accordingly. Let’s continue to wear face masks, sanitise, wash our hands with soap and water and observe physical distancing of one meter to contain the spread of the virus.”