Comment by Premier Alan Winde on regulations around essential goods

3 April 2020

There has been a lot of debate online about how regulations, especially relating to what you can buy at the shops, are being interpreted.

I want to make something very clear: All of us have one clear objective in mind – and one only: to stop the spread of Covid-19, and to collectively, as a country, help save lives.

We know that the regulations were created for this reason. And any clarifications or updates to them – which, considering how quickly we moved into Lockdown is entirely normal – needs to be done with that ultimate aim in mind – to continue keeping us all safe

I also want to emphasise this, because it wasn’t reported correctly:

The Western Cape Government does not have the power to change regulations. From the outset we have shown our full support to President Ramaphosa for the lock-down and we are doing everything we can to help ensure these regulations are enforced.

The regulations are however at times vague, and residents across the province are confused about what it means for them.

We have tried to help with this interpretation, after consulting our legal team, and SAPS. We have done this only to provide the clarity many people need – so that they can abide by regulations properly. Everyone wants to play their part.

This requires common sense but also an understanding of the objective of the regulations: to keep people from gathering and spreading the virus.

I see the debate has largely centred on cigarette sales. But this is actually only one of many questions we sought advice on from SAPS.

For example, can you buy a data dongle so you can access e-learning resources? Can learners buy notebooks and pens to study? This is so important for our learners right now who need an education while our schools are closed.

There are many more.

I take cooperating with national government towards achieving our goal of beating Covid-19 very seriously.

I therefore called President Cyril Ramaphosa this morning to make clear that our concerns relate to the proper interpretation of the regulations, which are at times vague. Together with the national government, we want to apply a common sense approach to them that stops the spread, but also assists us with things like e-learning, for example.

The President has agreed that we can submit a list of these issues that require clarification to the Minister of Cooperative Governance today, and that a special President’s Coordinating Council will be called tomorrow to discuss regulations in particular.

Reference: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/department-of-health/news/comment-premier-alan-winde-regulations-around-essential-goods