The extension of the National State of Disaster by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is deeply disappointing.
The fact that it has been done without tabling a clear ‘roadmap’ for when it will end is even more worrying. While we welcome that a meeting will be taking place next week to discuss proposals, according to the Minister of Health, one wonders why it has not happened sooner, especially when I called for this roadmap in October last year already.
This extension also means that the provisions that prevent our learners from returning to school on a full-time basis remain in effect. This is setting up a generational catastrophe that will hurt our poorest communities the most.
The Western Cape has furnished clear evidence that COVID-19 has reached an ‘endemic’ stage. This data supports normalising our response, with common-sense public health measures incorporated into existing public health legislation. The National Government has had months to prepare for this.
The truth is that the Disaster Declaration, which is an extreme measure, is no longer needed for its intended purpose of protecting our healthcare system, and it must come to an end.