Covid-19 epicenter: Winde in the dark on deployment of top ANC ministers to Western Cape

Premier Alan Winde and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize at the temporary hospital established in the Cape Town International Convention Centre. (Supplied, Western Cape Government)
Premier Alan Winde and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize at the temporary hospital established in the Cape Town International Convention Centre. (Supplied, Western Cape Government)
Supplied, Western Cape Government
  • Western Cape Premier Alan Winde wants to be consulted before national ministers are deployed to the province to help fight against Covid-19.
  • The ANC says it's confident Winde will work with national government although no final decision has been made.
  • The DA wants more healthcare workers deployed to the province.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says he is still in the dark about the details surrounding the deployment of top ANC ministers to the province amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Winde says before any such decision will be taken, there would need to be consultation between national and the province's leadership.

Plans to deploy national ministers to the Western Cape to assist in the fight against Covid-19 are under way, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

The publication reported that the likes of Police Minister Bheki Cele, Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, and Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs Minister Barbara Creecy would be among those deployed to the province.

"We have not had any formal communication on this. Some government officials spoke about this, but nothing formal. I welcome any support given to us as a province, but I need to be informed," Winde said adding that the provincial cabinet will discuss the matter on Tuesday.

Not confirmed

Winde also said the list of ministers to be deployed is not confirmed.

"It's all up in the air at this stage. The list is not confirmed, but I think there is a sense of politics entering the handling of the crisis. I do not want politics in what we do to fight Covid-19. We need to know what the Constitutional mandate of the ministers is who will be deployed. We will consult and do whatever is needed if any decision around this is made," Winde said.

ALSO READCovid-19: South Africa can ill-afford another Western Cape type outbreak, says Mabuza

In his weekly newsletter on Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the Western Cape government will need assistance from outside the province ahead of the looming peak of Covid-19.

Though Ramaphosa said he was impressed with preparations in the province, he said it was clear assistance beyond the Western Cape was necessary.

The Western Cape has the most Covid-19 deaths and infections in the country, most of which are concentrated in Cape Town. The country's death toll is sitting at 998, with 48 285 confirmed infections.

ANC leader in the Western Cape legislature Cameron Dugmore said the highest level of unity is needed to fight Covid-19.

"Resources, effort and energy must be combined and integrated. The president’s intervention will assist in promoting cooperative governance in the Western Cape," Dugmore said.

He is, however, confident that Winde is willing to work with the national government and put political differences aside.

"I know that premier Winde is committed to working with national government. The deployment of ministers and deputy ministers will boost our fight against the pandemic.

He continued:

Such deployment is also happening in other provinces. Have those provinces described this as a coup? I call on premier Winde to ignore the noise from the saboteurs in his party.

DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela said deploying national ministers would not help.

"They play an important role that's for sure. But we need more resources and healthcare workers in the province. That will ultimately aid our fight against the coronavirus," he said.

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