Cape Town – Hunger, starvation and poverty will be the hallmarks of “the second pandemic” in the province and can only be prevented if the private sector and businesses are allowed to reopen safely to allow citizens to work and earn an income, says Premier Alan Winde.
Winde has written to Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, asking to “discuss certain aspects of the current alert level 3 regulations which are affecting major job creating sectors of the Western Cape economy”.
Winde, who has yet to receive a reply, said: “The reality is that we are facing a serious humanitarian crisis in the Western Cape, as tens of thousands of people lose their jobs and access to income. A job is not a ‘nice-to-have’, it is the difference between putting food on the table and starving.
“We have to work with the private sector and businesses to ensure that they open safely, to slow the spread of the virus. And where they can open safely, we must allow them to do so.”
He also concerned about widespread business closures and job losses, which he said “will contribute to a second pandemic of unemployment, malnutrition, inequality and crime”.
“These are the implications of this extended lockdown and some of the crazy regulations that don’t make sense to us, or even our scientists and officials.
“They are not monitored or tested and they are the reason we are seeing this second pandemic staring at us.”
Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier said: “Work has begun on a provincial recovery plan, which includes economic recovery, and will be funded in the second adjustment budget, towards the end of 2020.”
Provincial ANC leader Cameron Dugmore said: “The critical areas to focus on are agriculture and all components of the value chain, construction and infrastructure, the tech industry and call centres, massive public works programmes and then preparing for the opening of tourism. All these have potential to absorb labour and reduce unemployment.”
Provincial chairperson of the EFF, Melikhya Xego, said: “We should save people’s lives and livelihoods by making sustainable financial contributions to poor families and households that have no source of income during the lockdown.”