Category: <span>Covid-19</span>

Media Release: Premier Winde outlines the path to recovery for the Western Cape 

Media Release: Premier Winde outlines the path to recovery for the Western Cape 

22 October 2020 

The courage needed to get the job done and to keep us moving forward 

Today, I delivered a special address to the Western Cape Provincial Parliament in which I detailed the work the province has done in the fight against COVID-19 and chartered the way forward for the Western Cape’s recovery.

My speech detailed the brave and difficult choices the province has faced in addressing the catastrophic consequences of the pandemic and the country’s lockdown decisions, which have resulted in increased poverty, hunger and inequality both in South Africa and in the Western Cape.

The demands on this government have never been greater, and there will be significantly less money to do the job. This moment that now presents itself therefore requires brave decisions. Difficult decisions. It requires us to prioritise – to make a tough call on what we will continue to do and what we cannot.

I also announced the ‘north-stars’ that will guide us when making these brave decisions.

We will focus courageously and single-mindedly on creating jobs, making the province safer and promoting dignity and wellbeing for all our residents.

Because when you have a job, when you feel safe, and when you are treated with dignity, you create well-being and hope. They are all inter-linked, without one you cannot achieve the other.

Together, they are our recipe for real change. They are our ingredients for hope.

Jobs and the economy: 

– The province recognizes that it is the private sector, and not the state, that drives economic growth and job creation.

– We plan to create 20 000 jobs through rapid interventions including finalizing 26 private sector investments currently in the pipeline, the promotion of exports, the removal of red tape in all departments, the fast-tracking existing infrastructure builds which are in the implementation phase, and the scaling up of public sector work programmes for the unemployed to encourage private sector led growth.

-The Western Cape will start the technical process to form a dedicated infrastructure agency, that can transact and hold assets, as well as borrow money, as a 3D entity under the PFMA in order to deliver job-creating infrastructure projects.

– We have taken a decision to explore – for the first time in the history of this province – the possibility of borrowing money from financial institutions to specifically invest in infrastructure that will enhance economic growth and job creation. This decision will not be taken lightly, and all due diligence will be followed. Given our excellent track record in government, and consistent clean audit results, we have demonstrated that we can do so successfully.

-In order to focus spend on infrastructure projects which will have the most impact on job creation, we will prioritise government spending by freezing non-critical posts in the Western Cape Government. The Western Cape Government has also written to the President, and the minister of Public Service and Administration to have a say in wage negotiations which impact the provincial wage bill.

-The Western Cape needs a single Transport Authority for the Greater Cape Town region in order to address mobility challenges, and ensure jobs, dignity and safety of people in vulnerable communities. We will now begin the process of engaging with partners in other spheres of government so that this can be done.

-I also announced the roll-out of a Blue Dot Service, in partnership with the taxi industry which will improve safety and customer service by incentivizing owners and drivers to deliver a better service, which will be tracked using technology. This will support jobs in the industry and provide a safe, reliable and affordable public transport system to help fill the gap created by failing railway systems.

-We have allocated R27 million in initial relief to small businesses and the informal sector who have been hardest hit and we will continue with small business support programmes over the medium term.

-We will support municipalities in leveraging the recent directives from the National Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy that they can now develop their own power generation projects and also secure power from Independent Power Producers.  This government’s focus on the new, green economy perfectly positions us to take advantage of these developments.

-We will boost economic and consumer confidence through local and international promotion.

-We will continue to lobby the National Government to allow all international visitors with a negative PCR Covid-19 test to visit our province, so that tourism can safely boom again and these jobs can come back.

Safety: 

There is a war raging in our communities, especially against our women and children and we must win this war in order to build a better future for our people.

Safety requires both urgent and medium-term interventions. Our Safety Plan remains a priority despite the financial pressures we face.

-Despite budget cuts, we will not roll-back on our boots-on-the-ground commitment.

-The 500 LEAP officers already launched will continue to be deployed to hotspot crime areas based on evidence and data, and we will stick with our plans to deploy an additional 500 officers thereafter.

-We will also not walk-back on our commitment that we will halve the provincial murder rate in the Western Cape in a decade.

-In addition to the boots on the ground, violence prevention programmes will be put in place to foster nurturing relationships between children and caregivers and ensure education and life skills.

-We will confront the Western Cape’s dangerous relationship with alcohol through smart interventions. We will therefore be making a number of amendments to the Western Cape Liquor Act.

– As part of these amendments, “per-unit-of-alcohol” pricing, which makes it more expensive to buy alcoholic beverages with a higher alcohol percentage, is being seriously considered because evidence suggests it can be effective in preventing binge drinking.

-We will also consider stricter times for the sale of alcohol, even after the expiry of the national state of the disaster regulations.

-In the short term, we will train and place 120 peace-officers at 6 municipalities across the province.

– As part of our medium-term response, we will recruit an additional 1000 young people to be deployed as safety ambassadors in public spaces.

-We have established a rural safety desk in our government to address concerns of rural communities, and we have already started with recruitment.

-We will upscale our Gender-Based Violence services, through 6 new shelters, and start work on a dedicated GBV strategy for the Western Cape.  We have the funding and the service providers ready to go just as soon as Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille signs the MOU for the properties.

– We are strengthening our after-hours response teams by advertising 30 additional GBV social worker posts. This will ensure we have the right support available to GBV victims late at night and on the weekends, when help is needed the most.

Dignity and well-being: 

– Dignity and well-being have to be consistently realized throughout someone’s life. From the moment we are born to the moment we die, every life matters. Dignity is about a solid foundation in the early years, from pregnancy, through to education, creating opportunities for skills, work and to earn and income. Dignity is also about being respected when you are old and cared for when you are sick.

-We will protect key education services in this tight fiscal environment

-We have rolled out the #CommitToFinish campaign aimed at ensuring that matric learners finish their schooling.

-The humanitarian response will continue to focus on providing food relief in conjunction with our civil society and NGO partners.

-The Department of Social Development will be allocating additional funding to food relief by community kitchens.

– The Department of Economic Development and Tourism has developed a voucher system so that community kitchens can purchase what they need from local businesses and spaza shops.

-We will develop a comprehensive surveillance system, including a stunting baseline survey that will assist us with the evidence we need to intervene with nutrition programmes in the future.

-We will continue with our food garden programme, by launching thousands more gardens in communities across the Western Cape.

-A key priority is to ensure that residents can access comprehensive health services at all our facilities. We must ensure that residents immunize their children and receive treatment for other illnesses.

-We will be using the systems and lessons we learned with Covid, to address TB which is a major cause of death in the Western Cape each year. We will therefore implement a 90/90/90 strategy to find identify 90% of all TB cases, and place them on treatment, find 90% of TB cases in vulnerable populations such as those living with HIV and to successfully treat 90% of all those diagnosed with drug-sensitive TB.

– Our vision is that every person can access early childhood development if they so decide. It is therefore an important priority going forward.

-ECDs provide safe spaces for children and jobs for a number of people, particularly women. So far, 2616 of our ECDs have re-opened, 1423 are ready to re-open and 1255 need more help to become compliant to open safely.

-We will increase assistance by providing more PPE and hygiene materials to those who still need it so that many more can reopen as soon as possible.

-We will also be convening a special consultative forum with key stakeholders doing amazing work in this space, to plot a common way forward to ensure that ECDs are treated like a critical service, and their work can be expanded to reach many more children.

– We will continue to provide support to homeless residents, by scaling-up shelter space and related services for the homeless in areas where it is needed most and we will focus on the reintegration of homeless adults, so that they can have access to the families and support systems that they need to have dignity.

-The province will take its commitment to inclusionary housing even further by finalizing and completing our inclusionary housing policy by the end of the financial year. This policy will guide municipalities across the province.

National Government budget priorities: 

We have committed to all this at a time when the Western Cape Government’s budgets over the medium term are likely to be cut by the same amount or more than is going to be funneled into the black hole which is SAA. Over R10 billion is going to be taken out of the mouths of the poor to pay for our failed state airline.

We don’t need SAA, when there are so many airlines who fly cheaper and better, but we do need life-changing and life-saving services like education and healthcare.

Next steps: 

We have completed the first Provincial Government Medium Term Expenditure Committee engagements, which are critical discussions with the 13 departments and 9 public entities which share our funding.

Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, will next month table the Western Cape’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement will include adjustments to the budget, especially in light of the necessary Covid-19 expenditure we have incurred and the projected cuts we are expecting to see.

The State of the Province Address that I will deliver to you and the people next year, and the main budget which follows soon thereafter, will then be a key opportunity to lift the sails and to move our government in this new, brave direction.

I have already changed the reporting structure of the extended cabinet to include these new priorities, so I can make sure we land them in our government. This extended cabinet also links up to all district municipalities and the City of Cape Town so we work together to get the job done.

We now eagerly await the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni’s delayed MTBPS, which was meant to take place yesterday. This will provide us the much-needed clarity on just how severe the expected budget cuts are going to be.

The trade-offs: 

The priorities I outlined today will require trade-offs. It will mean that programmes and projects that did make a difference, may not be continued. It will be a trying time for us all. We need strong leadership and the commitment, courage and buy-in of all of our residents, and partners.

We are pursuing new ideas, and a different way of working, in order to make a big impact in a very difficult environment.  This will not be easy, and there is a possibility that not all these plans will land.

Being courageous does not mean that mistakes are never made. Rather, being courageous, for me, is the ability to learn from experience, and to try and try again, to make that positive difference. It’s a commitment I make to our residents every single morning of my life.

COVID-19 Garden Route Update

COVID-19 Garden Route Update

Media Release
16 October 2020

We would like to thank the residents of the Garden Route for helping us to stay safe by wearing your masks, washing your hands often, and keeping a distance from others. Please continue to remain vigilant to prevent a possible second wave.

“It has been 7 long months of lockdown and the natural reaction to the easing up of these restrictions are to catch up on all that we have missed out on over the past months but we can’t become complacent now. It has always been feared that when the lockdown restrictions ease up, the infection rate would increase. We have unfortunately already seen a 196% increase in covid-19 cases in the district over the past 14 days. (This increase is compared to the previous 14 day-period). We know how quickly the virus can spread and now is the time that we must do our utmost best to prevent or contain a second wave,” said Garden Route District Director for Health, Mr Zee Brickles.

“We as individuals, members of families and communities, are responsible for ensuring that we protect ourselves and keep those near and dear to us, safe at all times. We should ask ourselves in every situation how we can make it safer for ourselves and our loved ones, knowing that we can easily and unknowingly pass the virus on or take it home to our families. Remember to wash your hands regularly, wear your mask when you are in public spaces and avoid large gatherings”.

It is very importing that you avoid possible super-spreader events, such as crowded places, poorly ventilated spaces, and close contact with others.

Reintroduction of Services

The Department’s risk and impact-based approach is guiding the services to be reintroduced – identifying those services which have low risk yet high impact (such as Diabetes, Hypertension, HIV, TB, Child, and Women’s health (including immunizations)). These services which had reduced significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, will have a significant long-term impact for those clients who had missed immunisations, follow-up appointments and scheduled non-emergency treatment.

While elective surgeries are slowly being re-escalated, life-saving surgeries (such as cancer surgeries and urgent cardiac surgeries) will be prioritised with the more urgent cases being dealt with first. However, emergency surgeries have not stopped and will also continue.

Awareness drive campaign

The Department realises the need to continue with normal activities such as going back to work and using public transport. We also need to make sure that we are looking after our health.

In order to ensure that this happens, the Department is currently embarking on an awareness drive at places of gathering and within communities to get residents to take up basic health services again, with a focus on general health, well-being, and ongoing care for vulnerable groups. Be on the lookout for this campaign within malls, taxis, while waiting at the bus shelter and when washing your hands in washrooms at malls.

This awareness drive also includes reminding residents that the best way to keep us moving forward is to wear a mask, keep our hands clean and keep at least a 1.5 metre distance from other people.

Stats as from 16 October 2020

Sub-district Total Active Recovered Died
Hessequa 332 5 309 18
Mossel Bay 2 452 63 2 320 69
George 3 690 113 3 467 110
Knysna 1 584 9 1 526 49
Bitou 650 10 616 24
Kannaland 133 10 122 1
Oudtshoorn 1 533 82 1 353 98
TOTAL 10 374 292 9 713 369

Hospitalisations

From the latest information to our disposal we can confirm that 37 patients are receiving care in both public and private hospitals.

For more information visit: https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/

END

Nadia Ferreira
Principal Communications Officer
Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts
Western Cape Government Health

Garden Route: COVID-19 numbers still climbing

Media Release
13 October 2020
For Immediate Release

Garden Route: COVID-19 numbers still climbing

Are we experiencing “the calm before a ‘second’ storm”?

The Western Cape Government (WCG) has predicted that a second COVID-19 wave of infections could hit the province by early 2021. It has already hit parts of Europe, with England now seeing new cases quadruple over a period of three (3) weeks. In response, many affected countries implemented targeted local restrictions. An example of a targeted local restriction can include, but is not limited to restricting business operations in certain towns. Examples include the temporary closure of pubs and restaurants.

When Mr Gerhard Otto, Manager for Disaster Management at GRDM was asked about his thoughts about a possible second wave for the Garden Route, he explained: “Yes, a second wave of COVID-19 infections is a reality that we need to prepare ourselves for. Recent studies in 41 countries world-wide indicated that a second wave of infections occur within three to four months after a first wave.

Otto says that a “second wave is directly linked to human behaviour”.  He states that people become complacent by no longer adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols i.e. wearing of face masks; keeping a social distance of 1,5 metres or more; regular hand washing and/or disinfection of hands.

“From what I have seen many people in the Garden Route also no longer abide to these basic rules, not only compromising their own health but also the health of those around them,” said Otto.

“Since the beginning of October, we have witnessed an increase of 120% in new active COVID-19 cases for the Kannaland area, followed by 80% in Bitou and 65% in Mossel Bay areas,” he added.

“The GRDM urges residents in these areas to stay vigilant and to adhere to the five golden rules of good hygiene,” concluded Otto.

SkyNews reported today that a man from the United States of America got infected for a second time. “Doctors said the man needed hospital treatment after his lungs deteriorated during the second infection, which was much worse than the first,” SkyNews reported.

Read the article here: https://news.sky.com/story/us-man-gets-covid-19-twice-with-the-second-infection-much-worse-12102898

ENDS

Pictured: Gerhard Otto, Manager: Disaster Management, Garden Route District Municipality

Media Release: “We Are Open” international tourism campaign kicks off”

MEDIA RELEASE BY DAVID MAYNIER

WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES

Date: 06 October 2020

Release: immediately

“We Are Open” international tourism campaign kicks off

Today we are excited to announce the first phase of our international tourism campaign to encourage German business and leisure travellers to “Soweit weg fuhlen” (“get that faraway feeling”) by booking their next trip to Cape Town and the Western Cape. [WATCH VIDEO]

With the welcoming of our first international travellers back on the 01 October, it is important that Cape Town and the Western Cape is front-of-mind for visitors planning their next trip, especially as we seek to rebuild our tourism sector and our economy in the Western Cape.

As one of our only key source markets for leisure travel that can now visit South Africa under the risk-based approach regulating international travel, German travellers can once again take advantage of the Western Cape’s warm culture, pristine weather and abundance of natural assets.

It’s no secret that the German market have been in a long-distance relationship with the Western Cape for quite some time with well over 129 000 tourists from Germany visiting the Western Cape in 2019.

Our “We Are Open” campaign, which was launched at the end of August and which was initially targeted at domestic tourists, was designed to be adaptive for the uncertain environment that we are currently operating in as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The campaign is now being expanded for our international visitors, starting with a first phase targeted at the German market and which will be followed by other markets in later phases.

Primarily a digitally-led campaign, the creative elements for our international campaign will highlight popular outdoor activities relevant to the target market and show them in the context of the unique wide-open spaces we have to offer in the Western Cape, and which are sought after in the Covid-19 world.  The campaign will also include in-market events led by Minister David Maynier and a small delegation from Wesgro.

We have worked hard to ensure that Cape Town and the Western Cape is safe for travellers and ready to welcome international visitors for our summer season. Following months of being confined in homes and restricted from travelling, the Western Cape offers weary travellers the ultimate cure from 2020’s cabin fever. Especially now – as more and more holiday-makers shy away from over-tourism, maddening crowds and congested subways and trams, there’s never been a better destination to enjoy.

With 33 blue-flag beaches to bask on, over 22 protected nature reserves, thousands of kilometres of hiking trails and over 400,000 square kilometres of semi-desert – the Western Cape is ready to welcome back visitors safely. Boasting 20 wine routes, sprawled over 5 regions and over 92 067 hectares, or, if you’re longing for a beer, you’ll be pleased to find that the Western Cape has become a mecca for craft beverages too.

David Maynier, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities said: “Cape Town and the Western Cape is open! With our unique wildlife, rich cultures steeped in heritage, and world-class cuisine, re-ignite your passion for discovery in our six breath-taking regions. Come visit us and experience the world within one province. We can’t wait to welcome back visitors from near and far!”

“We are ready to welcome the world back safely and responsibly! Europe has and always will be an important market for us as they are familiar with our world-class local tourism products and well-priced with our favourable exchange rate. We look forward to welcoming back the German market which we believe will have a positive economic impact on our local tourism sector,” concluded Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris.

Notes for media: 

Please find soundbyte from Minister Maynier attached
See video message on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DavidMaynier/status/1313433020498575360
To read the statement online visit: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/news/%E2%80%9Cwe-are-open%E2%80%9D-international-tourism-campaign-kicks

Media Queries:

Francine Higham

Spokesperson for the Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities

(Responsible for the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism)

Tel: 021 483 4327

Cell: 071 087 5150

Email: francine.higham@westerncape.gov.za

Media Release: George Hospital virus testing unit closed

6 October 2020

 GEORGE HOSPITAL VIRUS TESTING UNIT CLOSED

George Hospital’s Virus Testing Unit (VTU) closed on Wednesday 30 September 2020. The unit has been a vital part of the George Regional Hospital’s response to COVID -19 since the inception of the lockdown period.

The total number of people screened at the unit since March is 53 649 of which 3 140 were tested and 666 tested positive. July saw the highest number of tests conducted (1064) with 350 positive results.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who have played a crucial part in our COVID-19 response at George Hospital. Through commendable teamwork, so far, we have managed to efficiently contain the COVID pandemic in the Garden Route and George Hospital and successfully treat and discharge many patients. The past few weeks have seen a steady decrease in the number of infections as well as the demand for Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing. However, we are aware of a potential ‘second wave’, which we will address as the time comes”, said CEO Mr Michael Vonk.

As of 1 October 2020, the screening of the public will take place at Entrance 1 (EC minors/ Day ward entrance) and Entrance 4 (Main Entrance).  At each entrance there will be different screening times that apply, which are as follows:

Entrance 1: 24-hour screening and access

Entrance 4: 07:00 to 16:00 (Monday – Friday)

All persons entering the hospital will still need to adhere to the following conditions:

  1. Screening
  2. Hand sanitising
  3. Face mask

Unfortunately there is still no visiting of patients in hospital under lockdown level 1 regulations, however one birth partner will be allowed during delivery and will include an one-hour visit post-delivery. Parcels can now be delivered and can be dropped off at the specific department. George Hospital Outpatient Department will continue to function with reduced patient slots and the Day Theatre will continue to function as a Covid ward. Members of the public are urged to maintain social distancing at all times within the hospital and leave the building as soon as possible to avoid crowding.

 GEORGE SUBDISTRICT SERVICES:

 As of 1 October 2020 George subdistrict testing sites will be open as follows:

-END-

Nadia Ferreira

Principal Communications Officer

Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts

Western Cape Government Health

Town Clinic, Plettenberg Bay

Tel: 076 379 5423

Email: Nadia.Ferreira@westerncape.gov.za

Website: www.westerncape.gov.za

 

Media Release: International travel restrictions: A different approach needed to save tourism

MEDIA RELEASE BY DAVID MAYNIER

WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES

Date: 01 October 2020

Release: immediately

International travel restrictions: A different approach needed to save tourism

The risk-based approach regulating international travel released by national government yesterday (30 September 2020) is a major blow for the tourism and hospitality sector in the Western Cape.

The tourism and hospitality sector’s survival is dependent on international leisure travellers in the summer season and for this reason it is critical that we look at smart ways to open our international borders, especially for our key source markets, so that we can save jobs and save the economy in the Western Cape.

And so, we will be engaging with national government and preparing a further submission proposing an alternative to the risk-based approach for international travel.

We believe firmly that the safety precautions of a 72 hours PCR test and screening protocols should be applied across the board, regardless of purpose of travel and country of origin.

In fact, this approach is already adopted by national government with business travellers and so it makes little sense to exclude leisure travellers in this way.

Indeed, it is unfair to restrict leisure travellers from high-risk countries as there is simply no greater risk of transmission based on the purpose of travel.

South Africa’s airlines, hospitality and tourism companies have shown that travel and tourism can resume safely and, with stringent health and safety systems in place, it should not be necessary to impose additional country-based travel restrictions.

We are also concerned that the two-week review period of the leisure “no-travel list”, together with the requirement that business travellers from high-risk countries email the Department of Home Affairs for permission to travel, will create a barrier to bookings from visitors in traditional key source markets during the critical summer season. It also does not allow for enough lead time on which airlines can base their decisions to fly, creating further uncertainty for a sector that has already been hard-hit.

We have worked hard to ensure that Cape Town and the Western Cape is safe for travellers and ready to welcome international visitors, because our leisure travellers from key source markets such as the United Kingdom, United States, Netherlands and France make the most of our favourable exchange rate and have a high spending potential which positively impacts our local economy.

We have held many engagements with the tourism industry on implementing health and safety guidelines, launched a workplace safety campaign across radio and digital platforms, our healthcare system has consistently proved it can adequately respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and we are confident in the measures have been put in place for adequate screening at Cape Town International Airport. For our efforts, we have been awarded the WTTC Safety Stamp in the Western Cape.

We are open and we are ready to safely welcome travellers from around the world to experience our world-class and affordable experiences in Cape Town and the Western Cape.

Notes for media: 

Please find soundbyte from Minister Maynier attached
To read the statement online visit: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/news/international-travel-restrictions-different-approach-needed-save-tourism

Media Queries:

Francine Higham

Spokesperson for the Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities

(Responsible for the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism)

Tel: 021 483 4327

Cell: 071 087 5150

Email: francine.higham@westerncape.gov.za

Media Alert: Western Cape Government to hold a digital press conference

Media Alert: Western Cape Government to hold a digital press conference

30 September 2020

Tomorrow, Premier Alan Winde will hold a digital press conference to outline the Western Cape Government’s humanitarian response throughout COVID-19, and the focus on dignity in the province’s recovery.

Premier Winde will be joined by Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez and Minister of Agriculture, Ivan Meyer.

Dr Keith Cloete will also provide an update on the health platform.

Date:  1 October 2020

Time:  12 pm

Digital platform: Microsoft Teams

 Please confirm your attendance by 9 am tomorrow and provide your name, surname, the name of your publication and your email address to be added to Microsoft Teams.  We will provide you with a meeting invite to the briefing, upon your confirmation. Only those who have confirmed attendance will be admitted.

Media Release: R27 million relief fund launched to help small businesses hard-hit by Covid-19

MEDIA RELEASE BY DAVID MAYNIER

WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES

Date: 22 September 2020

Release: immediately

R27 million relief fund launched to help small businesses hard-hit by Covid-19

We are pleased to launch the Western Cape Covid-19 Business Relief Fund which commits R27 million to supporting small businesses in both the formal and informal sectors who have been hard-hit by Covid-19 restrictions.

We know that times have been tough for businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, and that is why, from the start we have been working hard to support businesses, especially small businesses, to open safely and responsibly, so we can save jobs and save the economy in the Western Cape.

The fund will provide financial assistance in the form of a financial grant to businesses who can apply to either the formal or informal business category. The grant will be used exclusively to subsidise business expenses such as fixed costs, operational costs, supplier debt and other pressure cost items.

The Western Cape Covid-19 Business Relief Fund is one of the many ways that we have worked hard to support small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yesterday (21 September 2020), we also announced the launch of our Covid-19 workplace safety campaign which aims to remind businesses about the importance of implementing health and safety guidelines in the workplace, and encourages them to make use of the many tools and resources we have on our website to help them implement these safety measures in the workplace.

With the move to Alert Level 1 which allows more businesses to safely open, this fund is an important step in our economic recovery plan to help businesses to rebuild and save jobs in the Western Cape. And so, I would like to encourage all interested small businesses to apply. We look forward to receiving your submissions.

For more information on the Western Cape Covid-19 Business Relief Fund please visit https://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/western-cape-c-19-business-relief-fund

The closing date for submissions is Monday, 12 October 2020 at 10:00.

Notes for media:
Please find soundbyte from Minister David Maynier.

To read the statement online visit: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/news/r27-million-relief-fund-launched-help-small-businesses-hard-hit-covid-19

Media Queries:

Francine Higham

Spokesperson for the Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities

(Responsible for the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism)

Tel: 021 483 4327 / Cell: 071 087 5150 / Email: francine.higham@westerncape.gov.za

Media Release: Alert Level 1 – Campaign launched to support businesses to open safely

MEDIA RELEASE BY DAVID MAYNIER

WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES

Date: 21 September 2020

Release: immediately

Alert Level 1 – Campaign launched to support businesses to open safely

We welcome the move to Alert Level 1 from today, 21 September 2020, as this further relaxation of restrictions and opening of the economy is exactly what we need to save jobs and the economy in the Western Cape.

After months of having to close because of Covid-19, businesses across the Western Cape are opening up, stocking up and welcoming back staff and customers.

But, to make sure we keep our economy growing, business owners need to continue doing everything they can to keep their customers, staff and communities safe, and consumers need to act responsibly as they get out and support the economy.

And so, we launched our workplace safety campaign last week, which will be run on radio, social media and search platforms in multiple languages to reach business owners across the Western Cape. The aim of the campaign is to remind businesses about the importance of implementing health and safety guidelines in the workplace, and encourage them to make use of the many tools and resources we have on our website to help them implement these safety measures in the workplace. [LISTEN TO THE ADVERTS]

You can find out more about our tools and resources for workplace safety here: https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/covid-19-resources-workplaces

Our estimates are that 162,000 jobs would be lost in the Western Cape as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, and while we have worked hard to support businesses and reduce the impact on jobs and the economy and the Western Cape, there is still much work to be done.

Our economy cannot afford to go back to more severe levels of restrictions in the Western Cape, and so it is critically important that everyone continue to adhere to the health and safety guidelines to stop the spread of Covid-19 – wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance.

We also all have a role to play in rebuilding our economy in the Western Cape.

We know times are tough, but if you can, please go out and support our businesses in the Western Cape, particularly those in the tourism and hospitality sector.

With the upcoming Heritage Day public holiday and the long weekend, I encourage everyone to take advantage of the many specials offers and free experiences available to all and which provide everyone with the opportunity to explore the best that we have to offer in the Western Cape.

And if you are out and about discovering the Western Cape, please take a photo at your favourite local attraction, restaurant, museum or outdoor activity and post it on social media with the hashtag “WeAreOpen”.

Notes for media:
Please find soundbyte from Minister David Maynier attached

To read the statement online visit: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/news/alert-level-1-%E2%80%93-campaign-launched-help-businesses-open-safely

Media Queries:

Francine Higham

Spokesperson for the Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities

(Responsible for the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism)

Tel: 021 483 4327 / Cell: 071 087 5150

Email: francine.higham@westerncape.gov.za

 

The paintings displayed at George Hospital

Media Release: George Hospital one of ONLY six in the World

18 September 2020

 George Hospital one of ONLY six in the World

George Hospital is one of only six hospitals in the world that were selected to participate in The Balcony Bands Mural Project by painting six murals that depict the coming together of people during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The multi-panel design is based on real life stories of people bringing joy to their neighbours during periods of lockdown. The design is painted on six continents in the countries where the stories took place: Italy, Brazil, South Africa, Iraq, Australia, and the United States.

The paintings displayed at George Hospital
The paintings displayed at George Hospital

The paintings were unveiled on Friday, 18 September, at The Balcony Bands event. Singer Elvis Blue and local artists entertained staff at George Hospital at The Balcony Bands event.

“The paintings serve as a reminder of the strength of the human spirit and how we responded as a hospital, and a global community. It is a testimony to the determination and resilience of all the Health Care Workers at George Hospital who joined together to care for patients with SARS-CoV-2 during the 2020 pandemic. The Balcony Bands Mural Project was a tremendous opportunity for staff to participate in a creative and stimulating activity, away from the frontline and support their emotional wellbeing. We are excited to unveil the completed project today,” says George Hospital CEO Michael Vonk.

Staff painting the six murals

Staff had the opportunity over two days in August to put brush to canvas and create a finished product that will be viewed by staff and patients for years to come, reflecting on 2020 and its challenges. The project was initiated and funded by Foundation for Hospital Art: FFHA, an international non-profit organisation (www.hospitalart.org).

George Hospital would like to thank the following persons for making this event a memorable one: Elvis Blue (artist), Musi-sean (artist), Lynette De Jager (artist), Maria van Rooyen (staff member and artist), Coenraad (artist), Hanly Jumat (artist), Deidre Cloete (photographer), Jacques van der Merwe (videographer), Marais Kruger ( MC), and SND Productions for the sound and stage. We would also like to thank the staff responsible for all the arrangements. Also, a huge thank you for the George Community and their support during the pandemic.

Coenrad Claassen(staff), Maria van Rooyen (staff), Lodelia Odendaal (staff) and Elvis Blue (artist).

More about The Foundation for Hospital Art

The Foundation for Hospital Art was established in 1984 and is dedicated to involving patients and volunteers worldwide to create colourful, soothing artwork donated to hospitals to help soften the often stressful hospital experience. Throughout the years, over 1 000 000 volunteers and patients have united to create over 48 000 paintings for over 6 000 hospitals in 195 countries.

ENDS

Contact:

Nadia Ferreira:  Principal Communications Officer

Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts

Western Cape Government Health

Tel: 076 379 5423 / Email: Nadia.Ferreira@westerncape.gov.za