Media release by Premier Alan Winde and Provincial Minister Dr Nomafrench Mbombo: Western Cape Government does not support Draft Health Regulations
14 April 2022
Following agreement by the Western Cape Cabinet last week Wednesday, the Western Cape Government has now submitted its com
ments on the four sets of Draft Regulations to the National Department of Health.
These Regulations, if promulgated, will mostly come into effect under the National Health Act, following the termination of the National State of Disaster.
We have consistently argued for the ending of the state of disaster, and for the normalisation of our response to COVID-19, so that we can focus on the second, now more urgent pandemic of joblessness.
In doing so, we believe that residents should be empowered to play a leading role, through their own agency, in the response going forward.
We have also said that we would push back against any proposed regulations that are not based on the best possible scientific advice, factoring in all the latest evidence. This cannot be a back door to introduce measures that are not necessary to manage COVID-19.
The Western Cape Cabinet accordingly agreed that the Draft Health Regulations as published are NOT supported. Detailed comments were submitted to the National Department in this regard.
It is our view that many of the proposed provisions are not based on the latest available science and evidence, and they are at times onerous, costly, irrational and detrimental to the economy and job creation. It is also our view that some may be found to be unconstitutional.
Overall, we are concerned that the Draft Health Regulations do not adequately consider the reality that COVID-19 is transitioning into an epidemic phase. This brings into question the rationality of many of the proposed initiatives. To be frank, some parts of the Draft Health Regulations take us back to March 2020, ignoring much of what we have learnt over the last two years.
Furthermore, a number of the mechanisms proposed to prevent transmission have been shown to be ineffective, particularly regarding contact tracing and quarantining of contacts, amongst others. It is neither practical nor wise to implement costly measures that have very little impact.
The Western Cape Cabinet is also concerned that the Draft Health Regulations reflect a COVID-19 bias and should therefore not be applicable to all Notifiable Medical Conditions (NMCs). This is likely to have costly and burdensome unintended consequences for how other NMCs are managed.
It is our view that we need to normalise our response to COVID-19, like with other NMCs, and ensure that we are agile and responsive through an evidence-based trigger system, which we have championed on our health platform in the Western Cape. This, as we move forward to deliver jobs, safety and dignity.
In general, the Western Cape Government remains prepared for future waves, leveraging all the previous lessons learnt and innovations introduced.
We will now await feedback from the National Government on their plans going forward with respect to these Draft Regulations, which simply cannot come into effect in their current form.
Message from Premier Alan Winde and Provincial Minister Dr Nomafrench Mbombo ahead of the Easter Weekend
As we approach the long weekend, we encourage residents of the Western Cape to celebrate responsibly and to travel safely. Let this be a time of joy, happiness and family and not one of sorrow and loss.
Please also remember all the lessons that we have learnt over the last two years, so that we keep ourselves and those around us safe, especially those who are at high risk. If you have not yet been vaccinated, or if you still need your booster, there are still many sites open today, and we encourage you to do so. This is the right choice to make.
If you are a resident travelling within our province, or a visitor to our province, thank you so much for supporting our tourism industry and small businesses, in particular. You are helping us fight the second pandemic of joblessness which impacts the wellness of our people too.
Please do not drink and drive, or speed, and remember to make lots of rest-stops if you are travelling far. We need to get #safelyhome, wherever we are going.