Alan Winde calls for borders to reopen

Posted by Imogen Searra on 11 September 2020

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde is calling for international travel and all sectors of the economy to reopen, to address the second ‘pandemic’ facing South Africa: Unemployment.

‘All indicators confirm that the WC has moved into the recovery phase of its pandemic. We need to ensure that we keep up all the behaviour changes we’ve learnt over the last 5 months. But we need to do something further: we need to move forward,’ said Winde in a Tweet.

Alan Winde calls for borders to reopen

Premier Winde is calling on President Ramaphosa to reopen all economic sectors, including international travel.

Winde is pleading with President Cyril Ramaphosa to help the economy and to gain control of the country’s unemployment crisis.

He explained that the daily statistics on COVID-19 infections in the country are improving, suggesting South Africa is almost out of the woods.

‘If the daily Covid-19 stats were a marker of how we were doing in our fight against this health pandemic, then the GDP stats released this week, which showed a significant decline in economic activity, should be the clearest indication that we are now in the midst of a dangerous and, yes, deadly second pandemic of joblessness that will hit our most vulnerable communities the hardest.

‘I agree with President Ramaphosa’s comments yesterday: this was not a shock, but the result of a prolonged and severe Lockdown and its associated economic restrictions – which at times lacked common sense. The reality is that if people cannot work, sell their goods, or offer their services, the economy cannot grow, and jobs will be lost.

‘As I have said before, we supported the initial hard lockdown as a necessary step to buy South Africa time to prepare our health-system for the peak of infections that were to come. We did this in the Western Cape. We built field hospitals in record time, ensured that we had enough PPE and other medical stock like oxygen for our peak, and we launched a comprehensive, province-wide hotspot strategy to intervene and ensure behaviour change that would flatten the curve.

‘But we also at the same time argued – even when facing serious opposition – that we should allow businesses to operate safely as well. We called for Level 3, when some wanted us to go to Level 5. We lobbied for the tourism, construction, e-commerce and wine sectors to open. We said that we can save lives now through interventions like our hotspot strategy, but we can do this in a way that allows economic activity and saves lives in the future too.’

He continued: ‘We must open up all sectors of the economy and allow for international travel in line with clear health guidelines and in acknowledgment of individual responsibility. We must treat our residents as responsible partners in our continued efforts to keep Covid-19 on the decline.’

The Western Cape Government cabinet will meet on Friday, September 11 to discuss the further opening of the economy and adopt an official position to present to President Ramaphosa during his next round of consultations.

Image credit: Twitter

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