Parliament, Friday, 8 May 2020 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr. Sibongiseni Dhlomo, calls for urgent intervention of the National Command Centre in the Western Cape as the province has become the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa.

Dr Dhlomo said: “The increasing number of infected people in the province is alarming and calls for drastic measures to be put in place to push back the frontiers of the spread of the virus in the province.”

The report released by the Human Rights Commission about the facility for the homeless people that the City of Cape Town established in Strandfontein is concerning. Commenting on the report, Dr Dhlomo said, the report creates an impression that the City of Cape Town’s planning to contain Covid-19 was poor, given the number of people who tested positive in Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and Witzenberg. He said Witzenberg is a rural area in the province which has become the province’s epicentre.

“Some of the Members of Parliament have expressed their concerns to me regarding the challenges that the Western Cape Province is experiencing. Some of the Members of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health said they have received reports from the people about labour inspectors who are denied access to workplaces in Cape Town, in rural towns in the province, and in the farms,” said Dr Dhlomo.

According to Dr Dhlomo, the National Command Centre needs to look into the disturbing reports about people testing positive in the province and who, according to the reports, are not quarantined or isolated in designated facilities, but are sent home to stay in places that are overcrowded.

Dr Dhlomo appeals to the Western Cape Provincial Government to establish a provincial command centre that will deal with Covid-19, a structure that will provide direction and deal with the challenges as they emerge in the province.

Dr Dhlomo said he will present the matter formally to the committee for discussion. “I have been in touch with the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, regarding the process. We are happy to get an indication that the Minister is also looking into the matter as it is of great concern to all South Africans,” added Dr Dhlomo.

ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, DR SIBONGISENI DHLOMO