19 May 2020
The Western Cape has prepared its healthcare system for the peak
19 May 2020
Media Release: Update on the coronavirus by Premier Alan Winde
19 May 2020
The Western Cape has prepared its healthcare system for the peak, and must move
to Level 3 in conjunction with targeted hotspot strategy
On Saturday, I attended the President’s Coordinating Council which served as a
consultation platform to discuss the proposed ‘alert levels’ for various parts of the
During that presentation, I set out how the Western Cape had adopted a targeted
hotspot strategy that goes beyond just district level. Using epidemiological data, we
can focus the entire impact of our government on geographical areas where the virus
is spreading in order to slow it down and protect vulnerable people.
This is not business-as-usual. I take this pandemic seriously and I don’t believe we can
just return to normal. Major interventions are needed in these hotspots so that we can
save lives. This strategy, however, allows for more of the economy to open while doing
so, thereby preventing a severe humanitarian crisis from unfolding at the same time.
This is not a zero-sum game. We can care for sick people and save lives now, and we
can do it in a way that saves lives in the future too.
We must remember that the scientific reason for the Lockdown has been to allow us
time to prepare for the peak of the pandemic. Covid-19 cannot be stopped, and
many people will be infected over the coming weeks. The key measure that must be
used to determine levels is whether we are prepared to provide care to every person
who needs it at the time they need it.
Based on the following evidence, and in conjunction with targeted interventions
through our hotspot strategy, we believe the entire Western Cape can move to level
R725.5 million has been committed towards Covid-19 related expenditure
across the Western Cape Government.
We have established a dedicated Coronavirus Provincial Hotline for residents
to call, that has received a total of 28500 calls since 16 March 2020. On
average it receives 500 calls a day.
The conversion of the CTICC into a temporary hospital facility that will provide
some 850 additional beds at the peak of the pandemic is well underway.
In total, this facility will include 4 wards - a mixed staffing model of temporary
appointments, temporary re-deployment of staff, agency staff (medical -,
infectious disease -, emergency - and internal medicine specialists and
volunteers will be applied at the facility).
It is estimated that 200 admissions and 200 discharges will be managed per
day during the peak.
We will open additional temporary hospitals along the R300 in the Metro, in
Khayelitsha and in the Cape Winelands that collectively provide an
additional 616 beds.
This is in addition to the Western Cape’s 2 162 (includes 658 through expansion)
general care beds and 150 ICU beds that exist in Central and Regional
Hospitals across the province.
We have opened 18 testing and triage centres (12 are already operational) to
provide additional support at these facilities.
We have 3888 Community Health Workers operating across our province, with
a further 464 due to start work soon
We have increased the number of tests from 7 975 on 1 April to 94 275 on 18
May. This is an increase of 1182%. This represents a testing ratio of 1347.27 per
100 000, the highest in the country.
Using our targeted hotspot approach, we have screened 473 348 people, and
referred 12 095 people for testing.
We launched an online screening tool which has assisted in screening 62 200
We have recruited 1 645 volunteers to support our healthcare workers when
this peak arrives.
We have ordered R350 487 835.00 million worth of PPE so that our healthcare
workers have the protection they need to care for every sick person. We aim
to procure R550 million worth of PPE over the course of the pandemic.
In the public sector we have provided 86 129 flu vaccinations thus far – 65 670
vaccinations to vulnerable groups of people and 20 459 vaccinations to
Since the pandemic, we have de-escalated non-essential operations at our
healthcare facilities in the Western Cape, which has freed up existing ward
capacity in these hospitals (Central and Regional – in relation to the 2 162
general beds and 150 ICU beds) to care for Covid-19.
We have 432 ventilators and have ordered an additional 100 ventilators to be
used at the peak and use our current piped medical gas for high-flow oxygen
We have launched the Red Dot Transport Service, that through 100 minibus
taxis, will transport healthcare workers home when their shift ends at 19h00,
given the limitation on the public transport system to operate after 19h00.
The Red Dot Transport Service will also safely transport those who test positive
for Covid-19 to facilities if they cannot isolate safely at home and others to
quarantine facilities should they need it.
To support business and workers, and to ensure that more of the economy can
open in a safe manner:
We launched the Covid-19 Content Centre for business which supports
businesses by answering their questions on everything they need to ensure
business continuity during Covid-19, from understanding the regulations to
opening safely, from accessing funding to learning from best practice.
Businesses in need of assistance can visit www.supportbusiness.co.za or email
We have assisted in preparing business for adapting to the “new normal” by
preparing Covid-19 health guidelines for business. These guidelines not only
provide information on how businesses can prevent the spread of Covid-19 in
the workplace, but also what to do if an employee displays symptoms or tests
positive for Covid-19. The guidelines can be found on our Covid-19 website
We have produced a range of information material for employers and their
staff to utilise in the workplace such as posters, checklists and decals, that
remind people of health guidelines to stop the spread of Covid-19. These can
also be downloaded on the Covid-19
To assist businesses to procure the necessary PPE required to protect
employees, together with the City of Cape Town and Wesgro, and in
partnership with FNB/RMB, we launched a dedicated online PPE marketplace
that provides a single place for small and large PPE manufacturers to promote
their product ranges, and for businesses to secure masks and other PPE.
The PPE marketplace can be found at www.supportbusiness.co.za/marketplace
We launched an online form where members of the public can submit any
complaints against businesses not complying with Covid-19 health and safety
guidelines. If you believe that a business is not following the health guidelines in
place to stop the spread of Covid-19, you can report it using this online
We have launched JUMP a smartphone app for entrepreneurs. Previously just
a mobile website, the JUMP app for entrepreneurs was developed to assist
existing and potential business owners in the Western Cape to get all the
resources they need to start, scale and grow their companies. In its new
iteration, the smartphone app also included a FundingAssist feature which
gives business owners looking for funding, the opportunity to assess their unique
business finance needs, receive recommendations on the appropriate funders
and products available, and assist them with their funding readiness and
application process. For more info visit bizjump.co.za
We launched the #GoDigitalWC weekly webinar series which brings leading
experts in digital technology and business transformation to present ideas and
advice for SMMEs on how they can adapt and innovate during the Coronavirus
We have made available a large number of free digital skills training courses
online through the I-CAN Learn platform, and have encouraged anyone
interested in learning new digital skills to visit the I-CAN Learn website
We also called for digital and technology experts to volunteer for the Tech
Volunteer programme which aimed to match experts with businesses who
need digital expertise. One week after the call for volunteers when out, we
then called for businesses to register to receive digital and technology advisory
support from the tech experts who had volunteered for the programme. We're
currently in the process of matching businesses in need with the relevant tech
To help businesses to navigate and access the many support funds available
to them, together with Wesgro and the City of Cape Town, we launched
the Covid-19 support finder. This online tool asks five easy questions, ranks the
answers against pre-determined criteria, and provides a list of funds that your
business may qualify for. The process takes under a minute. Find out more at
We have procured 100 000 cloth masks, distributed to agri-workers across the
Western Cape. We have also facilitated a donation of 1000 litres of handsanitiser produced by the repurposed Distell’s Monis Production Plant.
We have in particular distributed 35 198 face masks to agri-workers in the
Witzenberg region. The partnership with Distell has enabled us to allocate 150
litres hand sanitiser to the Cape Winelands District Municipality.
We have approved protocols for the transport of essential seasonal workers in
the agriculture sector from the Western Cape to other provinces. The guidelines
stipulate which documentation should accompany every essential worker and
the health and safety requirements for owners and drivers of minibus taxis. It
stresses that under no circumstances should season workers who tested positive
for Covid-19 be allowed to travel from the Western Cape to neighbouring
provinces or regions.
We have created communication material for agricultural communities and
assisted in amplifying messages in rural communities through radio.
We have met with key stakeholders in the agricultural sector, including Agri
Western Cape, Hortgro, VinPro, the African Farmers Association of South Africa,
SATI and the Prestige Workers Forum to ensure a joint-up approach to fighting
Ensuring that people can get to work and other destinations safety is critical during
In addition to the Red Dot Transport Service for healthcare workers, we have
also launched a new USSD “quick code” system that enable public transport
users to send free feedback using their cell phones. This is giving users a voice
in the fight to prevent the spread of Covid-19 on public transport.
Since the lockdown started, the Department has been engaging in public and
transport operator education in partnership with bus operators and taxi
associations. This has established an effective system for monitoring Covid-19
hygiene in public transport interchanges.
The new USSD system enable the Department to keep improving its response
by gathering information from public transport users to establish whether public
transport operators to comply with regulations and best practice by distributing
masks, gloves and sanitiser. To date, 355 responses have been completed.
PPE has been distributed to public transport operators, as well as support
provided to others to access a supply of PPE.
A donation of 10 000 litres of hand sanitizer was facilitated from Distell to the
MBT industry, along with a further 500 500ml units of hand sanitizer from SA Taxi
Finance and from DMC Source to the MBT industry.
Creating public awareness of key behaviour changes needed to fight the pandemic
has been a key pillar of our response:
We have a dedicated online website, which is being zero-rated. Nearly 1 million
users have visited the page.
We have run ads on social distancing, good hygiene, and what to do when
sick, in over 3500 radio slots on over 29 regional and community radio stations.
This has been done in all 3 languages of the Western Cape.
We have run Facebook ads on all key behaviour change messages and have
reached over 3 million individual users.
We developed an online dashboard that provides transparent data on the
number of Covid-19 cases, recoveries, deaths and number of tests. This data is
going to be shared down to ward level.
Over 1,8 million pamphlets have been delivered across the Western Cape. In
Dunoon alone, some 12 000 pamphlets were distributed by our Department of
We have established a Faith Based Organisation network to ensure that we are
able to share information with these organisations.
We have a Provincial Disaster Management Joint Operations Centre activated in
terms of the Disaster Management Act:
It operates 24/7 a day, focussing on prevention and mitigation of Covid-19
pandemic in the Western Cape.
It has assisted in repatriating more than 6000 foreigners form Cape Town
It has managed the dedicated Provincial Hotline since mid-March assisting
residents who believe they might have Covid-19.
It has mapped critical infrastructure, including Health Facilities, Isolation and
Quarantine Sites, Feeding Points etc.
It has assisted in the planning for quarantining and isolation.
It is responsible for the coordinating preparations for major escalation scenarios
that might occur during a disaster.
The Western Cape Government has supported Municipalities through this difficult
By ensuring that the delivery of basic services in all municipalities are continuing
By ensuring that front line and essential workers are operational so that these
By improving basic water supply in high density informal settlements.
All district municipalities have embarked on programmes to clean public open
A Local Government Support Grant, of R16,2 million was distributed to
municipalities, aimed at augmenting and supporting the current humanitarian
Support has been provided to homeless people in municipalities across the
Western Cape Government.
Making sure that people are safe and that the virus is slowed is critical. All law
enforcement has been under the joint command of the South African Police Service
and the SANDF, including Metro Police:
In hotspot areas we are working with all enforcement role-payers to ensure
This has included integrated roadblocks, vehicles checks, and deployments.
500 LEAP officers have been deployed to the SAPS Clusters, and they were
involved in over 1300 operations during this reporting period.
We have also taken a stand against Police Brutality and inefficiencies, to ensure
proper accountability during this time.
We are working with the City of Cape Town and all district and local
municipalities to deploy accredited Neighbourhood Watch members as
disaster risk management volunteers to assist in tasks such as queue
management. Additionally, trained peace officers and Chrysalis Academy
graduates have been deployed, subject to their availability.
During a Public Health Emergency, ensuring proper environmental and waste
protocols are adopted and enforced is critical:
We have developed a Protocol to deal with waste from households with
COVID 19 cases that includes measures to ensure greater protection of waste
workers and households from infected waste.
All municipal waste workers are provided with appropriate personal protective
The province has four licensed health care risk waste treatment plants including
two incinerators where this waste is taken to. In addition, there are 71
operational waste disposal facilities across the province, of which 1 is a high
hazardous waste disposal facility.
The Pandemic is having a severe economic impact on the waste industry,
especially on the informal waste industry and waste pickers. A relief program
for waste pickers, in the form of food vouchers has been rolled out to help with
support of National Government.
We have issued three Practice Notes to our stakeholders in the Spatial Planning
and Land Use Management Sector and also in the Environmental Sector, to
assist both in the Municipal domain and in the Private Sector. This should
facilitate processes for Planning and Environmental applications, that in time
will enable property development and construction activities post the
We understand that vulnerable communities are most at risk during this pandemic:
We have identified high density and risk informal settlement areas and have
commenced planning to assist these areas. This includes Dunoon, Kosovo and
IThemba informal areas.
We have identified land and existing pipeline projects in close proximity to
hotspot areas in order to plan and fast track assistance for communities of
We have assisted municipalities and Department of Water and Sanitation to
identify areas of water shortages across the province.
We have delivered a total of 615 water tanks in the Western Cape thus far.
In addition, 14 Water Tankers are in use.
The City of Cape Town has at its own cost purchased 93 tanks and installed all
of them as of 30 April 2020.
Our first initial projections, based on research being conducted by our
Department of Economic Development and Tourism, indicate that:
Over 200 000 jobs are going to be lost in the Western Cape alone due to the
lockdown and “Alert Level 4” restrictions, even with the gradual lifting of
restrictions over time.
The situation will be even worse if we stay on Alert Level 4, and businesses are
forced to stay closed.
In addition, our call-centre went from receiving 400 calls on average a day to 14 000
calls a day as the humanitarian impact of the Lockdown is felt.
The Hard Lockdown has threatened the well-being and livelihoods of millions of
people. This is a real and imminent threat to the health of our people. In response we
have done the following:
Over 1,2 million meals have been provided to children across the Western
Cape through our emergency school feeding programme
Thus far 134 515 food parcels and nearly 200 000 daily cooked meals have been
provided to beneficiaries in the province by a combination of civil society
organisations, faith-based organisations, private donors, SASSA, the Solidarity
Fund, the Provincial and National Departments of Social Development, the
Western Cape Education Department, municipalities and businesses.
Municipalities across the Western Cape have provided humanitarian relief to
its most vulnerable residents.
We provide support to homeless people in shelters through our funded partners.
The Department of Social Development funds 27 shelters with 1 499 bed
spaces. This budget provides for three daily meals, social workers and social
The Department is also working with NGO’s, to provide extra mattresses, food,
and care packs to the poor. For the lockdown period, an additional family
shelter was established to provide accommodation for up to 120 family
We are currently funding 20 shelters for survivors of Gender-Based Violence
We have provided additional Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) to 110 Old
Our humanitarian support will become unsustainable over time on our current
budgets as more and more people lose their jobs. We simply cannot ignore the
impact of this on the health of people, especially vulnerable people, into the future.
This is precisely why, that given our robust healthcare system preparation and that we
will continue to rigorously intervene in hotspots, we must open more of our economy
over time. Not allowing this to happen will threaten lives in the future, and this cannot
be ignored by any level of government.
I want to again reiterate that this cannot be done alone. We need the help of every
single person in our team effort to slow the spread, and “flatten the curve”. When you
keep yourself safe, through practicing good hygiene, keeping your distance, and
wearing a mask properly, you help keep vulnerable people who are at higher risk safe
too. Your actions can save lives, and we need every person to continue to be our
partner in this Covid-19 response.Last published 19 May 2020