COVID-19 Situational Report: briefings by WC Premier & WC MEC of Health

Adhoc Standing Committee on Covid-19 (WCPP)

22 April 2020
Chairperson: Ms M Wenger (DA)
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Meeting Summary

Video: COVID-19 Situational Report: briefings by WC Premier &  WC MEC of Health

COVID-19: Regulations and Guidelines
Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002

At the video conference meeting a delegation consisting of the Premier of the Western Cape and the MEC for Health in the Western Cape, together with senior departmental officials, addressed the Ad-hoc Standing Committee on Covid-19 situational report.

There is uncertainty as to what percentage of the population will be affected. Variations will occur between different countries and even different provinces, based on factors such as age, co-morbidity, health capacity, and socio-economic vulnerabilities.

The expectation was 80 000 cases of Covid-19 at its peak. The escalation of cases into hospitals must be prepared for, to cope with the strain healthcare facilities will be under. While most people will be able to recover in the comfort of their homes, many will need to be admitted into hospitals and at the moment there are shortages of hospital beds.

At its peak, the Department expects to need 6 000 to 7 000 acute beds.

Supplies and equipment such as ventilators and surgical masks on hand amounts to R 45 million, and the Department ordered stock to the value of R 185 million. Health is not the only concern. Issues such as hunger and starvation are of particular importance. The most pressing issue at the moment is the possible unrest which is already increasing daily. The high levels and increase in unemployment, the need for nutrition, food, and looting, directly affects unrest and the economy.

An audioclip of the politicisation of food parcels in the District Six area of Cape Town was played for the Committee. There are accusations that people who do not support the DA are not getting food parcels. One such example was that of an 85 year old mother in Khayelitsha denied parcels because of the political party she supported. There are also reports of the ANC doing this. It was clearly stated food parcels must not be politicised.

The Members expressed gratitude to healthcare workers and essential workers for efforts during the Covid-19 situation.

Meeting report

The delegation at the video conference meeting consisted of the Premier of the Western Cape, Mr Alan Winde (DA), Mr Harry Malila, the Director-General of the Western Cape Government, the Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, and the Head of the Western Cape Department of Health, Dr Keith Cloete.

Members had to raise their names in the group chat to be recognised by the Chairperson before they posed their questions or raised a point of order.

Procedural Officer, Ms Zaheedah Adams, told the Chairperson there were no apologies.

Premier’s Opening Remarks

Premier Winde said, since the State of Disaster was declared, he and his team were operating on a seven days a week schedule. Before the lockdown and State of Disaster was declared, the team started with 24/7 operations to prepare for the State of Disaster, which at that point was not declared yet.  There were three weekly Cabinet meetings involving discussions of all streams, from Safety and Security to Finance. A formal meeting was held every morning at 08:00. On the current day, his Cabinet held a three and a half hour meeting dedicated to getting report backs on all the streams.

These were 24/7 days a week. Meetings were constantly happening.

The presentation specifically related to modelling, and how the national modelling system differed in comparison to provincial modelling systems. Each and every province has unique challenges and environments.

The expectation was 80 000 cases of Covid-19 at its peak. The escalation of cases into hospitals must be prepared for, to cope with the strain healthcare facilities will be under. While most people will be able to recover in the comfort of their homes, many will need to be admitted into hospitals and at the moment there are shortages of hospital beds.

Health is not the only concern. Issues such as hunger and starvation are of particular importance. This falls into the social development stream. The most pressing issue at the moment is the possible unrest which is already increasing daily. The high levels and increase in unemployment, the need for nutrition, food, and looting, directly affects unrest and the economy.

Mr Malila and Dr Cloete made the presentation jointly. Mr Malila did the first part of the presentation, followed by Dr Cloete.

Presentation

Western Cape Government Strategy Towards Covid-19

Western Cape Provincial Response

  • From 16 March – 14 April 2020 a Sub-committee of Cabinet chaired by Minister Maynier (Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities), met daily and reported to Cabinet
  • The meeting took the form of a briefing to the Minister from various Clusters working on the response to Covid-19
  • On Wednesday 15 April the first Covid-19 Extended Cabinet meeting was held
  • The Cluster Leads now report directly into the Extended Cabinet meeting three times per week

Western Cape Government (WCG) Covid-19 Response, Workstreams was presented by Dr Keith Cloete (refer to presentation).

The Three Waves – Western Cape Experience so Far

The picture presented on national television a week ago is represented by the bottom left graph of the presentation under the heading The Three Waves. The blue line represents the imported cases, the red line represents the imported associated cases and the green line represents the local transmission cases. The green line was relatively low in the country, but the top left graph which indicates the situation in the Western Cape, shows the green line took off in terms of transmission.

The graph on the right side indicates the real data of imported cases which are blue, the imported associated cases are red. Both come down to very little transmission. The green cases are the local transmissions, which took off and started to gradually and then steeply increase.

Distribution by Sub-District

The data indicates the amount of cases by service area. Currently, the total stands at 1 068 cases. Of the 1 068 cases, 856 of those cases are in the City of Cape Town and 159 are in the rural districts. There are 721 local transmission cases of which 614 are within the City of Cape Town and 98 are in the rural districts. 

In the rural districts, Witzenberg has 34 of the 98 local transmission cases which equates to more than a third of the rural district cases. Breede Valley has 13 cases, along with Witzenberg equated to almost 50% of the rural district cases. The increase in cases in Witzenberg and Breede Valley was driven by two or three clusters in those specific areas.

In the City of Cape Town, local transmissions are as follows:

  • Eastern: 9
  • Khayelitsha: 1
  • Klipfontein: 2
  • Mitchells Plain: 1
  • Northern: 5
  • Southern: 72
  • Tygerberg: 6
  • Western: 80

There has been a rapid growth of local transmissions in every one of the eight sub-districts in the City of Cape Town.

Laboratory Testing

The left graph in the presentation indicates the number of tests per day in the public and private sector. The green indicates what the private laboratories are testing and the blue indicates what the public sector laboratories are testing. As time progresses, the trend changes and the public sector produces more tests as opposed to initially doing less than the private sector.

The right graph indicates the weekly number of public sector tests and the percentage testing positive.

In the first two weeks of community screening and testing, the Metro screened 48 901 people and tested 3 678 which amounted to 7.5%. The Rural has screened 32 728 peopled and tested 140 which amounted to 0.4%.

Clinical Outcomes

The graphs indicate the majority of people admitted to hospital were in the General Wards and not in Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Approximately 88.7% of people who get the Covid-19 virus do not have to be in hospital and are well enough to recover from their own home. Whilst 8.4% of people were admitted to hospitals, only 2.9% landed up in ICU.

COVID-19 in Health Workers – Public and Private Sector Comparison

Three doctors in the public sector tested positive for the virus. Five doctors in the private sector have also tested positive for the virus. Four public sector and twelve private sector nurses, along with one unknown sector nurse have tested positive. Thirteen other public sector and ten other private sector health works have tested positive for the virus.

Predictions for the Future of the Epidemic, and Likely Resource Requirements

Scenario Planning

There remains uncertainty around what proportion of the population will become infected with and without interventions, the proportion expected to be totally asymptomatic, and the expected clinical severity in those symptomatic.

The key strategy is containment, to prevent transmission, isolation and quarantining contacts to flatten the curve.

Supplies and Equipment

  • N95 respirators: 70 000 on hand; 2.9 million on order
  • Surgical masks: 2 million; 7 million on order
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits: 4000 on hand; 50 000 on order
  • Ventilators: 432 ventilators; 100 on order
  • Innovations: local production capacity for masks, visors, disinfectant booths, goggles, etc.
  • Stock on hand : R45m : stock ordered : R185m

Discussion

Mr C Dugmore (ANC) paid tribute to the Health Department. He said the response showed there was support given in Khayelitsha to handle the situation. He asked how and what was done to build the broadest possible participation around the pandemic, at all levels amongst communities themselves. He believed a joint command will assist to deal with key issues such as food security and bringing about inclusive leadership. He asked what the Premier’s view was on how public representatives from across the political party divides could be part of the processes driven by government at the provincial district and local Joint Operations Committee (JOCs) levels.

He asked Dr Cloete if the Department of Health looked at involving people to actually help with constructing equipment. There are many expert artisans who can build beds and other equipment needed. The Baxter Theatre was an example.

The Provincial Government did not voice the issues about the Strandfontein camps, he asked if the Premier and the MEC believed the health situation and compliance with regulations was followed, as homeless facilities had not even been set up by some municipalities yet.

Dr Mbombo replied saying, personally she was not satisfied with any of the issues related to social distancing and all other five of the golden rules to prevent Covid-19. The disregard was seen not only in camps but also by people visiting health facilities, in supermarkets and in even in queues. In Mitchells Plain they had about five clinics and in some parts of the Metro there were fully pledged comprehensive package full time doctors, who helped to manage the shortages or challenges related to the City’s services, which ran until 4pm only. The issue of the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and the delays, was sorted and was a work in progress. Compliance was maintained regarding cases identified.

Dr Cloete encouraged Members who had information about anyone who could produce or help to assist to email him. The system is to look at all offers of the nation.

The Premier said everyone was in the same situation and only by working together could everyone get through this. When the number of infections reaches 80 000, every single one of the work streams will be under severe strain. It is about preparing for that now. Everyone is in this together, however, oversight must be maintained. The regulatory environment is clear. Regulations are clear about who should be in those Joint Operations Committees (JOCs). Very few politicians should be in those JOCs, in any space, from a governing point of view. Yet from an oversight point of view alone, this was done to make sure everything was running properly, as the JOCs reported back to the Executives. The JOCs attended the three, weekly Cabinet meetings, along with those mayors and municipal managers from oversight linked regions. A high number of people came into their three, weekly Cabinet meetings, twenty if not thirty people came in, and while it was not without hiccups, it seemed to be smooth sailing at present.

Over 140 different local suppliers registered their ability to make masks. International markets are trying hard to sell products, however, the work done by the Department of Health and the Department of Economic Development to promote local businesses was great. It is good to see money is not spent on importing products, especially when locals can compete from a price point of view.

Shelters are something which concerns him very much, as the Department had an oversight role in the product but did not have much direct involvement other than social development. South Africa had 166 shelters with 14 309 people. The Western Cape had 34 of those shelters with 6 681 people. This amounted to almost 50% of people within the Western Cape shelters, the three biggest being Strandfontein, Wingfield and Payne City.  He said the previous day he was in contact with the Human Rights Commission regarding some of the issues of Strandfontein, and he was glad to see the number dropped substantially to 1 072 people. A good thing was, Strandfontein had a high volume of medical professionals who were there daily, unlike some of the other sites. There were also discussions on how to get sanitary pads delivered. The Department was currently looking at this.

This is where a large amount of the money was spent, to prepare for the onslaught that will be the peak of 80 000 infections.

Mr R Mackenzie (DA) asked:

  • What the strategy was going forward, especially given the previous night’s announcement by the President. He wanted to know if there will be changes to strategies over the next two weeks.
  • He raised the looting of stores, criminal activities and harm to innocent individuals currently taking place, and asked if the Premier was in consultation with the Crime Intelligence community or State Security Agency on how to combat the criminal elements, especially related to food parcels and aid prevented from reaching those who needed it the most.
  • He also asked how to protect individuals from harm.
  • Last night the President announced an amount of R 500 billion. He asked how this will affect the provincial budget, what the consequences of the announcement will mean, also to the budget and funding of implementation programmes once the lockdown was lifted.
  • He also asked if the Premier held discussions with the Provincial Cabinet around what industries can resume once the lockdown is lifted.
  • The Western Cape Government employed tens of thousands of people and he wanted clarity on what plans were in place to mitigate the threat of contracting the virus at work, as once people started to return to work there had to be certain health and sanitation programmes and equipment in place in government buildings.
  • What would be done to ensure that not only employees but individuals making use of government facilities are able to do so without putting themselves at harm of contracting the virus when making use of the facilities?
  • Posing the question to Dr Mbombo, he wanted to know what the plan was in order to ramp up testing and if enough testing kits are available, along with if it came from National Government. There was a lot of talk regarding antibody test kits testing positive and negative, and a very interesting article said over three percent of individuals tested positive again. As such he asked if re-infection could actually happen, and if it was safe to go back to work given the state of the healthcare workers, as they could possibly get infected again.
  • He asked if enough was done to ensure healthcare workers are protected and receiving the necessary support, not only with PPE but also mentally as mental healthcare was very important. The healthcare workers and essential services were putting their lives on the line while having a family to go home to.
  • Lastly, regarding the ventilators, he asked if all patients who landed up in ICU will need ventilators.

Ms W Philander (DA) asked the following questions:

  • how the 1 100 plus volunteer workers are ultimately incorporated into the system.
  • Secondly, she explained that for health facilities it was business as usual, and wanted to know how the current affairs affected the current health budget, and what the implications to the budget were.
  • Regarding grave site arrangements for burials and cremations, she wanted to know if mortuaries will be able to deal with the large volume, at the current peak estimates. 
  • She asked about Government’s efforts to contain the spread in the areas mentioned such as Brede Valley and Witzenberg.
  • She asked if the availability and selling of the N95 masks was a matter dealt with by the Department of Trade and Industry as well,
  • if businesses were asked to assist in production of it, and if so, how far are they in the process and production of the masks.
  • Lastly, she wanted to know what the impact of the virus has been on EMS services in general within the province.

Mr B Herron (GOOD) said, while the meeting on Friday will deal with food security, there was an issue which could not wait until then. The Gauteng Premier announced that councillors cannot be involved in distributing food parcels, however, are allowed to identify beneficiaries. He said this is not right.

Over the past few days he received calls and messages about the politicisation of food parcels where people in the Province who did not belong to the Democratic Alliance were not given food parcels, yet their neighbour who belonged to the DA did. A barely audible soundclip was played which painted the picture of the politicisation which occurred within the District Six area of Cape Town when food parcels were distributed.

Another scenario was given where an 85 year old mother in Khayelitsha was told that she cannot get a food parcel as she did not support the DA. He urged the Premier to intervene and to pool councillors out of the distribution and identification of food parcels. The President had done the same thing and expressed his disgust when ANC councillors were found to have done the same. 

Secondly, he stated, he could not understand the demand for, versus the supply. Numbers were thrown around and even hotels were mentioned which confused him. He wanted to know what the deficit of total beds was and what municipalities were providing to facilities to support the needs for beds. Lastly, he wanted to know if the Cape Town International Convention Centre had deemed usable property as it was partly owned by the Province and the City of Cape Town.

The Premier replied that being involved in some of the workstreams he did not have all the details surrounding the President’s latest announcement. Call centres are already inundated with people asking for their R300. The announcement by the President would obviously create more pressure on the social development systems. All the necessary meetings will be taking place within the next few days, where issues such as the five year budget plans, the current budget plans and the R150 billion reallocation of funds announcement by the President will be discussed. Frankly, he could not give them a definitive answer on the implications, however, budget cuts will not only be a given but will be massive as the Department will not have the income from a tax point of view. Once those meetings are concluded, he can provide the Committee with more clarity.

The looting issue was of great concern. Every single Cabinet meeting had a report back from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the City of Cape Town Law Enforcement Director, Mr Robbie Roberts. There will be extra deployment of military personnel. However, the amount allocations per area and province are unknown. There are hotspots exploding all over the country, which consequently led to the poorest of the poor and most vulnerable not being able to get the essentials they need. In an intervention plan, Law Enforcement and SAPS officials identified hotspots where murders and looting of deliverables took place. Officials on site stopped perpetrators from striking. According to him, looting is the next bigger risk to the economy, after food security.

He said when relaxing the lockdown happens, the front lines will develop. This is why protocols must be in place as quickly as possible. Municipalities are looking to find extra space for graveyards. It was part of the model released the previous day, stating the predictions of infections. For every Department this means, how many people are likely to die, how much can mortuaries accommodate, the processes for June, religious burial processes, and such. The departments are looking at the gaps, examining, to rectify.

He said he disapproved of how food parcels are politicised. Just the previous week, the political party to which he belonged sent out letters to all political formations about politicisation of food parcels. It will not be tolerated. His own Provincial Cabinet decided when it is involved in any distribution or funding of any sort, no political processes, nor political handouts can be involved, it was made clear from the get go.

Mr Malila, replied, saying the health and safety of its employees takes first priority. The Department monitors the amount of people currently infected from a staff complement perspective, both in-house and outside of the work space. Protocols put in place for staff members were whole heartedly followed.

Provincial top management talked about exploring the private sector for testing, where frontline staff that were in contact with a positive individual or was perceived to have contracted the virus, can go for the test without burdening the public sector. Staff members who became ill during the work day will be sent home immediately, the rest of the work environment will continue to uphold protocols around social distancing and practices of good hygiene as much as possible.

The plan was to put a protocol together which served them. There was engagement with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to make sure current services were at least cleaned up and required personal protective equipment (PPE) was available for staff. It was all about sanitising, making sure the work environment was clean, and to give the necessary staff the assurance they were cared for as well. Discussions already occurred as Provincial Top Management to consult with the employee health and wellness provider, Metropolitan, to put processes and services in place in addition to the ordinary services already provided.

Finances were a stream. Cabinet already agreed to certain measures to deal with the expenditure of an extraordinary nature. At the moment, the Department was requested as far as possible to try and reprioritise the current budget deals due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus. Understanding the implications of what was needed to deal with this was actually massive and out of the ordinary. Cabinet agreed to put the necessary measures in place to deal with the expenditure of special forces outside the initial budget provisions.

Dr Mbombo said the health sector systems are able to make use of evidence, collect data, interpret and analyse it to make projections. Recommendations are made towards the National Command about decisions which must be made about the post lockdown period. As an example, those most affected by the virus, either by death or becoming critically ill were mainly older people, people with co-morbidities, and compromised immune systems. The plan for post Covid-19 lockdown is to look at how those vulnerable people can be protected along with the population in general.

Currently the molecular diagnostic lab testing kit is used by testing swabs either by mouth or through the nose. There is a deficit in antibodies to do other tests, such as the serology test, which was taking of blood serum. There was discussion around the point of care where the GeneXpert machines, which can be mobile are utilised instead of only waiting for those sent to the national lab. The virus was not only still new but impacted differently on countries worldwide. It could affect the City of Cape Town and the rural districts very differently. It could affect the Western Cape and another province in different ways. The same went for cases, the first case and other cases could be impacted very differently, some present symptoms while others are asymptotic.  Thus, with existing data from other countries, a copy and paste methodology for treatment may not work.

Over 80% of the population that contracts the virus will be managed outside the healthcare institutions, which means no hospitalisation. However, some may be admitted to hospital for various symptoms such as a sore throat, difficulty breathing which may or may not need acute care along with ventilators, others on the other hand may be admitted into ICU. The exact estimate was difficult to say as cases varied. The issues of the hospital beds are a challenge being worked on in collaboration with the private sector. There was a shortfall as they wanted to be able to provide beds right down to the primary care levels. The triage and testing sites served as a temporary place people could make use of instead of going to the emergency rooms, where they could be tested and assisted when dealing with various symptoms, or could be put onto a ventilator or stretcher and be transported to the hospital if need be. Some of the triage sites are located next to hospitals.

Regarding the burial of positive people, it was managed as with any contagious disease of terms of meeting certain requirements. Restrictions that applied included not allowing the body to enter any homes and not keeping the body for more than three years. If the deaths reached a volume where burial was not able to occur, cremation would be considered.

Lastly, coming back to the issue around the beds, she explained that after a modelling had been done, it found that there would be shortages of general beds which would now be met through the City which would provide around 700-800 beds. In addition to the general beds, specific beds were needed for ICU in the public space hence the Department of Health had worked with private hospitals in order to provide the ICU beds to the public sector.

Dr Cloete said the Breede Valley cases were evidence where cases happened very quickly over a short period of time. Those were cluster cases and proved workplaces and gatherings in general helped spread the virus. Positive cases need to be quarantined and those who were in close contact with a positive person needs to be isolated. A significant contribution of cases came from prisons, most likely spread by prison wardens. Adaption of the generic set of recommendations need to occur within prisons such as maintaining wider social distancing, sanitation and cleaning and quarantining positive people to limit the spread.

Regarding the N95 masks, he said there was only one company in South Africa registered to be able to produce the masks, which required specific materials and machines. GSK was completely overwhelmed by the demand in South Africa. Most of the N95 masks are therefore imported. Production internationally was overwhelmed as only a few countries made the N95 masks, contributing to the global backlog.

Isolation and quarantine is difficult due to the densely populated areas, as such accommodation facilities were sought to provide isolation and quarantine facilities. Accommodation facilities will not serve as healthcare facilities. The hospitality industry was the first port of call as most hospitality accommodation closed due to the Covid-19. The premises were mainly vacant and would serve as the ideal place as infrastructure was already in place. He clarified, this was where the confusion around hotel and hospitals arose. The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure are sourcing accommodation of behalf of people who could not isolate in their own communities, as such the 8 000 beds mentioned arose from the accommodation beds that will be utilised for quarantine and isolation. Regarding the shortfall of hospital beds, after all the available avenues of sourcing beds has been utilised, there will still be an ICU bed deficit of 750.

The Chairperson said there were a number of Members who had many questions, as such Members can ask their most pressing questions as time was running out. Thereafter, additional questions would be forwarded in writing to the Department.

Ms N Nkondlo (ANC) said she would pose the rest of her questions in writing, however, she wanted to understand, in light of the Minister’s remarks about the economic sector, if the Department had been to and dealt with the case of GSK and Table View Checkers, respectively.

Mr M Sayed (ANC) thanked the front line workers, medical staff and essential services who were at the centre of the Covid-19 virus. He wanted to know what measures were put in place to assist patients requiring chronic medication or treatment, given the backlog. Secondly, he was concerned around MECs posting and tweeting negatively of the national government. There is a difference between being critical of something and being malicious and during these times government officials need to stand unified.

Ms R Windvogel (ANC) asked the Department if it was aware about the safety and security incidents occurring around testing centres. The testing and screening team were robbed in Khayelitsha Site C the previous week.

Mr F Christians (ACDP) said he wished to pay tribute to the men and women who risked their lives for others. He wanted to know when the 80 000 positive cases were expected to happen, and if the 80 000 cases were a reflection of new cases within a week or whether it was the accumulation of cases reaching 80 000 within a specific week. The Minister for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) announced there would be special provisions for the Western Cape, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal, due to the spike in cases. He asked if the Department knew as to what the special provisions were.

Mr M Xego (EFF) asked for a clear understanding about the processes to be followed for accessing facilities for the homeless around the Province, as there were stringent measures set up in the City of Cape Town.

Mr P Marais (FF+) asked if there was a contractual agreement drawn up for the collaboration between private hospitals and public sector to provide aid to the public hospitals. About the accommodation sites, he asked if preference was given to medical staff to make use of it, as the country could not afford to lose medical staff. There was already a deficit within the system. Instead of letting all go, patients go to the hotels for accommodation, priority could be given to medical staff to stay at designated accommodation in order to avoid harm coming to their family as well.

Mr D Mitchell (DA) posed the question to the Department of Health, if the two military hospitals were working in collaboration with the two Departments, to make use of beds and resources available.

The Chairperson said she knew the peak was expected to hit the Western Cape in August, however, she wanted to know if there was a possibility of more than one peak.

Ms P Lekker (ANC) expressed her sincerest gratitude to everyone assisting others during the lockdown and pandemic, and wanted to know how the Department identified areas for screening. She was concerned for the wellbeing and protection of Covid-19 victims. In one of her constituencies the community wanted to know the identity of the person who tested positive and even in Khayelitsha, people were toyi-toyi’ing against the family of the victim. It was utterly disturbing to hear complaints on a daily basis of company owners who told employees who were positively identified not to disclose it to anyone else and return to work. She emphasised that it was not only selfish but posed a harmful risk to other employees.

The Chairperson thanked the Members for their questions. The delegation was asked to keep their responses brief as time was running out.

The Premier replied, he absolutely agreed with Mr Sayed about the tweets. Politicisation had to be removed, especially when the country was going through a pandemic. Politicisation via social media would not help anyone, especially when the powers that be must keep its eyes on the ball. There was suspension of visits to correctional services, detention facilities, holdings, and military detention facilities, which was expanded to include social development facilities, such as the suspension of child and youth care facilities during the lockdown period. Shelters were a big challenge faced by both local and national government.

The Minister of Health and the Premier agreed there were serious issues in some of the spaces which had to be dealt with. He said he had already emailed Director Roberts during the meeting currently taking place to find out how an opposition member could get access to the areas. Director Roberts stated he needed to be informed beforehand and access would be made available, while keeping within the regulations of oversight duties. Around hotels, nationally 75 facilities were identified, those included stadiums, conference centres and accommodation facilities.

Dr Cloete said the peak will be the amount of cases reached, in other words, the peak will be considered when the number of cases reaches 80 000. The peak was scheduled to occur around August which was based off evidence, however, if anything changes, it could be earlier or later, dependant on how the data unfolded on a weekly basis. He explained, until a vaccine was fully working, it was highly likely there could be more than one peak, however, the initial peak was the most important. The two military hospitals were being utilised and fully maximised on.

A system in the Metro has been in place for the last two weeks.  It delivers chronic medication to individual patients. It is done in collaboration with Uber and community workers. The collaboration with the private sector means the acute beds are used as a combined platform, therefore maximising the partnership of hospital beds between both the private and public sectors. They were still awaiting a commitment from the City of Cape Town to be able to utilise the Convention Centre.

On the safety of community testing and screening teams, the Premier expressed his disapproval about what happened to the team. Law enforcement and security services are appealed to to provide a full time presence in high risk areas for the teams. Testing and screening allocation is done by identifying hotspot and cluster areas which combined communities. Another method used is to identify cases of local transmission in which the testing and screening is done by the family, neighbours, and the community of the infected person, to contain the spread. Lastly, hotels identified and available for full quarantine and isolation will offer medical staff accommodation to minimise travelling.

The Chairperson thanked the delegation for attendance. Heartfelt and sincere gratitude was expressed. It was evident the delegation was determined and had already created great strides while possibly taking professional and personal strain, working around the clock and sacrificing time with their loved ones during lockdown period. The Chairperson assured the delegation the Committee will support them every step of the way. The delegation was excused from the meeting, the Chairperson asked the Members to stay to go over the minutes and notices.

Resolution

The Chairperson said any questions which were not answered must be forwarded to the procedural officer by noon the following day, who would compile the document and forward it to the Premier and Department for response. Similarly, if any Members had and recommendations or resolutions, it must be forwarded before noon the following day as well.

The Chairperson said she assumed Members had all read the minutes of the meeting which took place on Friday, 17th April 2020, and asked if the Committee could move to adopt the minutes.

Mr Mitchell moved to adopt the minutes

Mr R Allen (DA) seconded the move to adopt

The Chairperson adopted the minutes. It was brought to the Committees attention that the Friday meeting scheduled for 09:00 – 12:00 clashed with the Cabinet meeting. It was proposed the Friday meeting dealing with food security be moved from to 14:00 – 17:00.

Everyone agreed.

The Chairperson said the following week Friday 1st May was a public holiday, as such it was proposed to either reschedule the Friday meeting or to only have one meeting the following week.

Ms D Baartman (DA) proposed the meetings be held on Wednesday and Thursday.

Mr Mackenzie wanted to know what issues were meant to be dealt with in the following week.

The Chairperson said policing and protection of the vulnerable.

Mr Mitchell said he agreed with Ms Baartman on having two meetings as those were important themes.

Mr Marais interrupted and said if the meeting was going to be held in ransom by the DA then there was no point in having the meetings. There were four or five DA Members speaking before they took up three quarters of the time in the meeting asking wasteful questions where answers were already provided in the presentation itself. The meetings were becoming cumbersome and wasteful.

The Chairperson stopped Mr Marais and said if he wished to be recognised he needed to alert her within the group chat by putting his name down. It was decided at the start of the meeting that questions posed would be done through the chat bar. The speaking order by the DA was in no way a reflection on the DA Executive who wrote their names in the chat bar and when checked those Members were recognised. The matter was to be left alone and no continuation of it further.

Mr Herron stated disapproval at how questions were not adequately answered or even dealt with despite submitting a list of detailed submissions and questions. He felt it was a waste of time as half the stuff were not even dealt with, and wanted to know if the lack of answering submissions and questions would continue to be a trend in meetings or if the submissions would actually get answered.

The Chairperson said she took all the different questions by the Members and summarised them as there were questions which were almost the same and overlapped with each other. The most vital and major issues Members raised where given priority. There was a very short period of time between the submissions given and the date of the meeting and it could largely be attributed to that. If questions were not dealt with in the presentations going forward, Members would be given the opportunity to ask questions during the discussions thereafter.

Mr Sayed proposed a draft proposal be sent to Members by the next day regarding the next meeting which highlighted the themes for the meeting. He also proposed over the weekend a draft programme be drawn up with the dates, times and themes of the meeting along with the delegation who would likely be invited.

The Chairperson absolutely agreed with Mr Sayed, but said the input of the Members was waited on before the programme could be concluded. This is to provide a fully detailed programme in which different Departments were called under different themes. The Chairperson said it was heart-warming to see Members were active and participating across party lines and thanked Members for the contributions to the meeting

Mr Dugmore said he would like to move for a resolution

The Chairperson explained, resolutions must be sent in writing to be discussed at the next meeting.

Mr Dugmore understood and thanked the Chairperson

Mr Mackenzie said he had to apologise as he checked the chat bar and there were Members whose names were before his and he spoke before them.

Mr Marais said he was a serious person who liked to offer solutions rather than getting entangled in royals over Skype. He proposed going forward the Chairperson allowed each Member a maximum of two questions and then allowed officials to answer, as it was not conducive to have Members asking irrelevant questions which could be found if they read the presentation. It is not conducive to good oversight if the opposition watches the rulers take all the time yet when the opposition wants to pose questions, the rulers speak over him as he spoke and their ruler did not object. He objected to this way of doing things.

Mr Mitchell said it was unfair to cast aspersions on individuals and the Chairperson. He proposed Mr Marais speak to the Chairperson offline and not online.

Mr Marais said Mr Mitchell must remember his place, that Mr Marais had been in the politics game long before him.

Mr Mitchell replied it was not a game to him.

Mr Sayed intervened and asked the Chairperson to do her duty and take control of the meeting.

The Chairperson said she would conclude the meeting and would see everyone at the next meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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