PRESS RELEASES & MEDIA ALERTS WCG for Tuesday, 15 September 2020
- DEPARTMENT OF THE PREMIER – Western Cape to call on President Ramaphosa to open up international travel, lift curfew and save jobs. (BELOW)
- DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH – SPECIAL FOCUS ON DIABETICS HELPING TO SAVE LIVES. (BELOW)
- WESTERN CAPE MINISTRY OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS AND SPORT – MINISTER MARAIS MOURNS THE LOSS OF GAWIE FAGAN – A BRILLIANT MIND, WITH A PASSION FOR ARCHITECTURE (BELOW)
- DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH – CAPE AGULHAS TEAM STEPS OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONE TO CONQUER COVID-19 (BELOW)
- WESTERN CAPE MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY SAFETY – Minister Fritz calls for increased allocation of POP officers to the Western Cape Link
- WESTERN CAPE MINISTRY OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS AND SPORT – AS SECTOR REOPENS, MINISTER MARAIS PRESENTS R610 000 TO WEST COAST SPORTS FEDERATIONS TO SAFELY MOVE FORWARD (BELOW)
Media Release: Western Cape to call on President Ramaphosa to open up international travel, lift curfew and save jobs
15 September 2020
This morning, I am attending the President’s Coordinating Council meeting where President Cyril Ramaphosa will be discussing the next phase of lockdown with Ministers and the Premiers of all the provinces.
During that meeting, I will motivate for the further opening of business and economic activity on the grounds that the citizens of this province have proven that they are able to take individual responsibility by changing our behaviour.
The Western Cape Government is also well prepared for COVID-19 and has shown that we are able to track and manage this virus, and we continue to flatten the curve. Our province-wide hotspot management also continues.
I will therefore be requesting, on behalf of the citizens of the Western Cape, that:
- We lift the curfew.
- A date, in October, for the opening of international travel is declared so that bookings can be made by international travellers who want to come to our country.
- We save jobs and business by allowing more economic activity such as events and sporting events.
Our focus right now must be on saving jobs and avoiding a humanitarian crisis. We must do this now and we must do it safely to move forward.
15 September 2020
Special focus on diabetics helping to save livesOur focus on diabetic patients continues with promising early feedback. The project was initially launched to focus on high risk patients but has now added lower risk diabetics as well.
The project ensures that when a diabetic patient tests positive for COVID-19, the Department of Health makes daily contact with them. For high risk diabetics, we also encourage admission to a hospital in order to monitor their health. Since its inception, 356 high-risk diabetic patients have been contacted, and of these 122 have been admitted to hospital. Of these, 87 have been discharged, 14 are still in hospital while 11 unfortunately passed away. This represents a 79,5% treatment success rate as this group is considerably higher at risk for severe COVID-19 infection. This is on a background mortality in high risk of COVID-19 diabetics of approximately 28%.
Since 7 August, we have also started the phase of the project focusing on moderate risk diabetics with COVID-19, and have contacted 244 patients. Of this group, 32 have been referred for a more intense follow up by a medical officer and five admitted. This initially started in the City of Cape Town and is now being rolled out across the province to all rural areas as well.
A call centre had been utilised to support the diabetic project by calling diabetic patients in order to determine whether these patients are at risk of developing more severe illness. The agents work from a pre-determined script and elevate at-risk patients to the medical team.
This focus on those people who are at greatest risk of severe illness and death, means that we are able to intervene early and ensure that proper treatment is given. While it is still early, the results we have seen show that this focus is saving lives.
As the province enters the new phase of pandemic of moving forward, it must strengthen its behaviour change efforts to remain alert and vigilant to prevent infections. We also need to take special care of those who are vulnerable. People who are 55 years and older or an adult of any age with an underlying condition, such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, TB, HIV, chronic lung disease (e.g. asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis) or on cancer treatment are at high risk of getting severe coronavirus. We need to shield these vulnerable members (keep them safe). Should they develop symptoms (cough, sore throat, loss of smell or taste), they should also seek care faster and contact the provincial hotline straight away (080 928 4102) to arrange a test. If they remain ill, or become worse, they should also seek medical assistance.
MEDIA STATEMENT: MINISTER MARAIS MOURNS THE LOSS OF GAWIE FAGAN – A BRILLIANT MIND, WITH A PASSION FOR ARCHITECTURE
The Western Cape architectural and heritage landscape has lost a great voice with the passing of Gawie Fagan.
Gawie and Gwen Fagan were legendary within the cultural sphere of the province, as well as on a national level. They embodied a love for the natural landscape, while innovatively working on designs and also giving of their time to preserve our province’s natural heritage.
Minister Marais said, “Gawie contributed to many projects in the province, but one which needs to be highlighted is his work in restoring the Tulbagh landscape after the earthquake of 1969. He was instrumental in identifying areas for restoration and for ensuring the natural landscape of the town was restored and preserved”.
Gawie and Gwen were honoured at the 2014/15 Cultural Awards by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, where they received a Ministerial commendation for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts and Culture, Language, Heritage, Geographical Names, Museums, Libraries or Archives fields.
Our province was blessed to have had the brilliant mind of Gawie Fagan to inspire and drive the architectural landscapes in the Western Cape. He was passionate about his work and he never hesitated to share his knowledge and give back to the communities he worked in. We express our heartfelt condolences to Gwen and their family, their friends and everyone with whom they worked. Gawie has left a great legacy behind, which will continue to inspire architects for many generations to come.
15 September 2020
CAPE AGULHAS TEAM STEPS OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONE TO CONQUER COVID-19
Cape Agulhas is a smaller sub-district in the Overberg, which means that their staff component is significantly smaller than other sub-districts. For some, this could have been a daunting challenge when facing an unknown pandemic, but the Cape Agulhas health team saw this as an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone to explore new and undiscovered talents and skills.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cape Agulhas contact tracing team were tasked with calling positive patients and tracing their contacts to prevent the virus from spreading further. They went over and above what was required of them, from offering patient support to those in need to assisting at the local quarantine and isolation facilities.
The Cape Agulhas contact tracing team is comprised of the sub-district’s allied health team, interns and volunteers, depending on their availability. They are led by the clinical manager, Dr Johannes Schoevers. According to Dr Schoevers, “this team understood the enormity of the challenge that we faced and stepped out of their comfort zones. During this pandemic, some of us stepped out more out than others and I would really like to commend the contact tracing team; they acknowledged that it is not part of their job but did it anyway and did it so well.”
Michelle Hattingh, Nursing Manager at Otto du Plessis Hospital, says what makes them heroes is the way they used their personal strengths to tackle the tasks they were assigned to but still ensured that they worked together as a team. “Since the start, they have worked with passion and ran with it even while working under difficult circumstances and everybody did their part.”
Karien van der Nest, Clinical Programme Co-ordinator and member of the contact tracing team says, “we pulled together as a team and made sure to involve the community in our efforts”. No individual or facility in the sub-district was required to take responsibility for fighting the pandemic, everyone stepped in and did their part and assisted wherever possible”.
Lynette Temmers, occupational therapist and member of the contact tracing team adds that they used a multidisciplinary approach, “since we could not practise in our disciplines we used our strengths from our various disciplines and this made an immense difference, from this small group we had various skills and we put it all together”.
The contact tracing team never hesitated to work longer than their official working hours and to come in over the weekends to call their patients. They mention that at times it did get difficult but they continued and worked through it and their families understood. At times, they were required to work without electricity due to extensions and maintenance taking place at the facility but they continued without any complaints.
When talking to the team, they cannot thank the Cape Agulhas community enough for their endless support, from community members and non-profit organisations to business, other departments and the municipality. “Even though it was a health pandemic, there were a lot of social issues involved and that is where a lot of organisations stepped in and got involved and we grateful for this,” says Lynette Temmers. They are also thankful for the patients who adhered to the quarantine and isolation measures, without their cooperation it would have been impossible to decrease the amount of active cases.
From this experience they have learned that they can do so much more when they work as a team and this has enabled them to grow closer to one another and no longer work in isolation. The team is humbled by all the support they have received thus far from their managers and the community and believe that each person in the Cape Agulhas community has a role to play in the decline they have seen in the active cases.
Photo caption: Cape Agulhas contact tracing team
MEDIA STATEMENT: AS SECTOR REOPENS, MINISTER MARAIS PRESENTS R610 000 TO WEST COAST SPORT FEDERATIONS TO SAFELY MOVE FORWARD
Alert Level 2 Regulations now allow for the resumption of sporting activities, including professional and non-professional matches, authorised by recognised sporting bodies, subject to the following:
- Directions for sports matches issued by the Cabinet member responsible for sport, after consultation with the Cabinet member responsible for health;
- only journalists, radio, television crew, security personnel, emergency medical services, and the necessary employees employed by the owners of the venue of the sport match, are allowed at the venue of the sport match;
- only the required number of players, match officials, support staff and medical crew required for the sport match, are allowed at the venue of the sport match;
- no spectators are allowed at the venue of the sports match;
- no international sport events are allowed
Guided by the National Directions issued by the Department of Sport and Culture, all sport federations were invited to submit COVID-19 compliance plans to their respective recognised sport bodies for the National Minister’s approval. Various federations have done so and to date, 49 codes were granted right to play, train and organise matches. These codes are attached for your perusal.
The National Department of Basic Education (DBE) has cancelled all sport activities at schools until further notice. Once an official national directive is communicated, the Provincial Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport will be able to engage at school level.
As the National Conditional Grant was cut by R22,7 million, provincial trials for the Winter Games, Indigenous Games, Golden Games and leagues and festival support for Club Development have been adversely impacted as these events will not be taking place this year as scheduled. There will also be no Provincial Sport Awards ceremony for 2020. Despite all the limitations now faced, the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport believe that by transferring available equitable share funds, federations will be able to safely move forward and commence some of their activities in the communities most in need of them.
Yesterday, 14 September 2020, our Sport Promotion Directorate embarked on cheque handovers across the various districts in order to support sporting federations in their re-opening of the sector. At the Piketberg handover, Minister Anroux Marais handed over a total of R610 000 to the West Coast District Sport federations to empower affiliated federations and clubs with funds needed to again administer, develop and host capacity building workshops in the months to come.
Following the official welcome from Executive Mayor of Bergriver Municipality, Alderman Ray Van Rooy, Chief Director of Sport and Recreation, Dr. Lyndon Bouah, opened the socially distanced proceedings with the following words: “We believe that all sport federations must within the precautionary protocols start to resume training and playing as sport and recreation is important for communities. The West Coast sport federations play an important role in bringing communities together and we hope that this funding ceremony and the funds will assist in rebuilding social cohesion.”
In her keynote address, Minister Marais spoke about the challenging past few months but also expressed her optimism about the way forward and said, “We have changed the way we live, how we say hello and even how we play sport and practise recreation. As many restrictions have now been relaxed and as we head into the recovery phase, we can now safely move forward in the Western Cape and get to work as the task ahead of us is great as we together forge our new norm in the sector”.
This was the first of six handover events planned across the province. The next handover will take place in the Central Karoo district on 22 September 2020.
On behalf of the Office of the Premier
Head of Corporate Communication