In the last 48 hours our teams have worked around the clock to engage with economic stakeholders across the Western Cape to ensure that the many voices of business are heard as part of national government’s consultation on the proposed Covid-19 Risk Adjusted Strategy.
While we continue to support the nation-wide lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19, it is also critical, that where we can get people back to work, we do so as soon as possible to ensure that livelihoods are maintained, and that we can start to rebuild our economy.
So, we welcome and appreciate the opportunity to submit comments on the Schedule of Services as part of the Covid-19 Risk Adjusted Strategy.
In response we have directly engaged with 445 economic stakeholders, across business and industry in the Western Cape, and we have received over 40 submissions which we have forwarded on to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).
In addition to the inputs received from our economic stakeholders, we have also submitted further inputs for consideration by COGTA pertaining specifically to the conditions, regulations and inclusion of certain economic activity for Level 4. These recommendations take into consideration the stringent health and safety measures that will be applied by business to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Our proposed amendments to Level 4 of the Schedule of Services include, but are not limited to the following:
- Including a number of agricultural and other products for export such as wine and hops, yachts and boats, engine parts, plants and herbal products and any other product deemed essential in another country, as well as the movement of imported goods to for warehousing purposes.
- Allowing the construction industry to operate, especially where there is minimal labour and more use of capital equipment, and with the option of split shifts to ensure social distancing is adhered to
- Allowing manufacturing to operate at 50% capacity where it is safe to do and also allowing certain sectors to operate night shifts under curfew, particularly for manufacturing, agri-processing and BPO sectors
- Allowing a number of additional sectors to open, particularly those that would allow for SMMEs and the informal sector to open, such as nurseries, film production, specialty stores such as bakeries, butcheries and health food stores and laundry and dry-cleaning services
- Allowing for eCommerce under level 4, as this will support the promotion and opening of retail, while ensuring that people remain at home instead of visiting physical stores.
We will continue to motivate that where businesses in the Western Cape are able to operate safely they can do so, and so I have written to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, to request him to convene an urgent meeting of the Ministers and Members of Executive Councils (MinMEC) to discuss the implementation of the risk-adjusted approach to the lockdown and the proposed “Level 4” restrictions in the provinces.
To avoid a return to a hard lockdown, it is imperative that every business that is operating now, or which opens under the new approach to the lockdown, plays by the rules, and implements the necessary health and safety measures as instructed by national government to avoid further negative impacts on their respective sector.
The Western Cape economy can and will rebound from this crisis, and together we will do everything possible to ensure that.