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Our economic action plan means Cape Town is ready for level 3 <p>​While many businesses will thankfully be able to open their doors and begin trading again, we need to be mindful that level 3 lockdown does not mean that everything will be back to normal from one day to the next. We are yet to see the peak of the Coronavirus infections and now is the time to be extra vigilant in protecting ourselves and taking every precaution to prevent the spread of the virus as we get back to work. </p><p>I want to share with you what the City has been doing to address the pandemic and prepare our health systems, as well as all the important work we have done to support the recovery of our economy in preparation for level 3.</p><p>Public Health Approach</p><p>As more data has become available we have been able to rapidly adapt our strategies, allowing for a more effective way to identify and prevent the spread of the virus infections. The City of Cape Town is amplifying the Western Cape Government’s approach to targeting hotspots. This means that City line departments will be increasing their allocation of resources and services in hotspots to reduce transmission of COVID-19.  </p><p>Since the beginning of March, before the lockdown started, Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) started distributing thousands of pamphlets and posters at shopping malls, supermarkets, food stores, spaza shops and informal food traders to raise awareness about COVID-19. </p><p>Our staff engaged communities about the importance of proper hand washing, social distancing, cough etiquette, cleaning, sanitising and continual disinfection of frequently touched surfaces. These efforts are ongoing and have been amplified as the number of cases in the metro has increased. </p><p>City Health continues to provide routine primary care services, in a COVID safe manner, at all its Primary Care Clinics. This includes ensuring social distancing, hand hygiene and mask wearing at all facilities, as well as screening all clients attending clinics, and testing when necessary. We work closely with case management teams across the Metro to follow up and care for COVID-19 cases as they are diagnosed. </p><p>Economic Recovery on track</p><p>While we have done everything we can to prepare and adapt our health systems for the pandemic, we have also had to plan for a crucial economic recovery. I believe this planning has positioned our City to fully and safely take advantage of getting back to work under level 3 on 1 June. </p><p>We have been and will continue to consult with the business sector, religious leaders, civil society and many others to help identify those residents in need, and to get your input so we can factor in your views and needs in our economic recovery plan. We have put this plan together to help get our economy back on track as quickly and safely as possible in line with the national government’s level 3 lockdown regulations. </p><p>Many businesses will from 1 June, be allowed to get back to work, and will have to ensure the relevant safety measures are in place to limit the spread of the Coronavirus amongst staff. National government has recommended staggered working hours for businesses and I think this is a responsible approach in an effort to prevent public transport from getting unnecessarily overcrowded.</p><p>Within the context of the national government’s risk adjusted approach, we have already put measures in place to open up the City’s Film Permit Office. The film industry brings in an estimated R3.5 billion a year for our economy, and employs thousands of local Capetonians. We have developed Standard Operating Procedures aimed at ensuring all film sets will be in line with the National Disaster Management Act regulations.</p><p>The current Level 4 lockdown regulations also allow for civil engineering for public works, such as subsidised housing projects, to resume. This means that we have already begun construction projects on some of the City’s key housing developments, within the COVID-19 health and safety regulations. </p><p>It remains the responsibility of the employer or contractor, in this case, to ensure that all work is done in accordance with COVID-19 health and safety standards, including social distancing, enhanced sanitising such as hand washing and ensuring workers have access to Personal Protective Equipment.</p><p>The tourism industry is another critical part of our economy. It is estimated that in 2018 the tourism sector created 113 000 jobs, and was worth R18,1 billion. Many of the businesses that make this sector the success that it is are in serious financial trouble as a result of the lockdown. </p><p>They should be able to apply for financial aid from national government, but many haven’t been able to because of the racial criteria that the national government has placed on the financial aid applications. On Friday I declared an intergovernmental dispute with the National Minister of Tourism, Ms. Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, as we don’t believe this is the right approach. </p><p>In these unprecedented times and especially since millions of jobs and businesses are on the line, all businesses should qualify for relief funding and discriminatory criteria should not apply in a state of disaster. Now is not the time for race based policies, now is the time for all of us to work together if we plan to weather this storm.</p><p>The construction sector is a major employer for our communities, which is why we have continued to work behind the scenes and ensure that building plans continued to be assessed and approved so that as soon as the building industry gets the go-ahead from national government, they will be ready to start immediately. </p><p>The City has already approved building plans to the value of R2,3 billion since the start of the national lockdown. Many of these plans are for projects that are less than 500m² each, and are currently valued at R875 million. These projects will enable the many smaller contractors and builders in our city to start construction immediately, once regulations for this sector have been eased.  </p><p>City’s budget adjusted to address the pandemic</p><p>The pandemic and the consequences of the lockdown has obviously impacted the City’s annual budget. Thankfully we had time during the adjustment process to immediately reprioritise R386 million to address new priorities that have arisen as a result of the lockdown. </p><p>The Adjustments Budget clearly shows the COVID-19 crisis is not a once-off disruptive event. It will have long-term impacts on the City’s operations and programmes, it’s income sources for service delivery and on the general socio-economic welfare of its residents and ratepayers. </p><p>No new funding for the crisis has been made available by the National Government. The City must therefore see how it can fund what is required with a reduced budget in a sustainable manner that will not impose substantial rates and tariff shocks to residents and businesses over the medium to longer term. You can read more about this here.  </p><p>Ongoing Food Aid</p><p>While food relief remains the direct responsibility of national government, through the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), the City is trying to fill the gaps wherever it can. To date we have supported over 80 soup kitchens across the metro with plans for a further 150. We have chosen the sustainable approach of capacitating soup kitchens within communities as an alternative to only handing out food parcels because it allows residents to have at least one meal for the day. </p><p>With our assistance, the soup kitchens are able to continue their important work. We began this programme with the intention to capacitate feeding schemes in communities who already feed hundreds of people, and to supplement this by donating dry ingredients such as soya mince, lentils, rice, samp and soup mix. We have also issued some with three-plate gas burner stoves and 100L and 80L pots where needed.</p><p>City Operations</p><p>Level 3 coming into effect from 1 June also means that the City will be able to bring more services online. We are committed to doing this in a safe way for both staff and customers. We are in the process of devising operational plans so we can get our walk-in centres up and running as soon as possible.</p><p>As the virus spreads and infects more of our residents, we have seen the impact on our own staff too. As a result of staff testing positive for COVID-19 at a few of our waste removal depots, transport depots, and city health facilities, we have to temporarily close these facilities while we do a deep clean and conduct the very important track and trace to ensure any other persons that were exposed undergo self-isolation for the appropriate period. </p><p>We do everything we can to get these services back up and running as soon as possible but there will inevitably be a short period of disruption and I call on our residents to please be patient with us in these instances. </p><p>I want to thank all our city staff and other frontline staff who continue to work and provide essential services to our communities. Your services are greatly appreciated!</p><p>To all our residents, please continue to play your part, take the necessary precautions, practice social distancing and wash your hands regularly, wear your masks when you leave the house, and we will get through this as One City Together.</p><p>COVID-19: One City Together.</p><p><br>End<br></p>2020-05-24T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#c6958309-fd42-4625-967b-443aba09d7b8;L0|#0c6958309-fd42-4625-967b-443aba09d7b8|Primary health Care;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#191b1b12-4267-46d3-a6e7-02be3df25e7a;L0|#0191b1b12-4267-46d3-a6e7-02be3df25e7a|budget;GP0|#943228ed-87b9-4158-9590-b9ca337c1174;L0|#0943228ed-87b9-4158-9590-b9ca337c1174|Food aid programs;GP0|#81784b2d-b68b-4846-9a9e-6eab52c7396d;L0|#081784b2d-b68b-4846-9a9e-6eab52c7396d|soup kitchen;GP0|#0f794aab-8ac2-46f6-8dda-f97adf1462bd;L0|#00f794aab-8ac2-46f6-8dda-f97adf1462bd|tourism1

 

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