Cape Town – The Western Cape government will be holding special cabinet meetings to ’’focus on fighting the second pandemic of unemployment, hunger and poverty”.
Highlighting that ’’small businesses are the engines of our economy, employing tens of thousands of breadwinners across the province“, Premier Alan Winde said on Thursday they needed the provincial government’s support if they are going to stay open.
’’Yesterday, I walked around the CBD of Cape Town and saw too many ’To Let’ signs displayed on windows. Every sign was indicative of jobs that had been lost, as these businesses closed. We have to reverse this trend if we are to get our economy going again,’’ Winde said.
Commenting on the country moving to lockdown level 2, resulting in most remaining restrictions on economic activity being lifted in South Africa, Winde said: ’’Our provincial government had lobbied hard for this to happen, because it was the only way to prevent the second pandemic of unemployment, hunger and increased levels of poverty from gaining such momentum that it could not be arrested and reversed in the future.
’’There is however a lot more work to be done. As we presented at last week’s ‘DigiCon’, the consequences of the hard lockdown and subsequent restrictions have been severe, and it is mostly the poor and most vulnerable in our society who are now most at risk.
’’We owe it to every person who lost their job, and for the many who have never had a job, to fight this second pandemic with equal determination and courage going forward.
’’One of the most inspiring observations of our Covid-19 response is how the whole of government and society came together in a coalition to fight the virus.
’’I do not want to lose this new way of working. We need to adapt it and focus it on this new priority of getting our province back to work.
’’To ensure that this happens: We will be repurposing our weekly cabinet meetings, as we did to respond to Covid-19, to now also focus on coordinating our responses to the second pandemic, including unemployment and the humanitarian crisis. These special cabinets will allow for a unified, all-of-government response which is effective, targeted and measurable.
’’Following our first successful cabinet bosberaad two weeks ago, we have called a further bosberaad for the end of the month, where we will continue to work towards our province’s recovery plan, which aims to get the Western Cape back on track as soon as possible.
’’We cannot return to business-as-usual. We have shown it is possible to build the biggest Covid-19 field hospital in Africa in a month.
’’This same energy needs to be harnessed and applied to key projects that will help grow economy, create jobs and ensure human dignity for all our residents – no matter where they live.’’
The Western Cape government called on residents to support small businesses under level 2.
’’We all have a role to play in getting our economy back to work, safely, again. One of the lingering consequences of the hard lockdown has been fewer people moving around, getting out of their homes, and thereby supporting the many small businesses across our province.
’’With the move to alert level 2, which allows for more economic activity, I want to encourage our residents to support local and small businesses. We should get out now, in line with restrictions and abiding by the golden rules, to support our fellow community members.
’’I am also very excited that inter-provincial travel is now allowed. This means that we can welcome many people from across the country to our tourism establishments, which have been extremely hard-hit by the lockdown.
’’My message to all those South Africans looking for a vacation away: come and visit the Western Cape, safely! We are ready to welcome you with our amazing hospitality.
’’I have been asked by many people about when international travel will be allowed, because this is a key contributor to our provincial economy.
’’Our government will be working on submissions to National Government, as we have done on a number of sectors throughout this period, to demonstrate how we can get safe international tourism going again. This is a work in progress.
’’Of course, the opening up of the economy must always be done safely and in line with health guidelines. This is the ’new normal’ which we have been talking about from the beginning.
’’We have taken this ‘new normal’ very seriously, working with the private sector to ensure that they have set guidelines in place to keep their employees and customers safe.
’’We must carry on with our lives, by doing things like immunising our children, getting back to school and going to work, but we must do this safely with all the new behaviours we learnt, like always wearing a clean face mask, washing our hands regularly, keeping a distance, cleaning surfaces around us, and staying home if sick.
’’We can get our economy going again and we can do it safely. They are not contradictions – they work hand in hand.’’