South Africa

WESTERN CAPE SOPA 2021

Premier Alan Winde insists Western Cape will find its own ‘contingency’ Covid-19 vaccines

Premier Alan Winde insists Western Cape will find its own ‘contingency’ Covid-19 vaccines
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde. Gallo Images/Die Burger/Jaco Marais)

Western Cape premier Alan Winde is sticking to his guns as far as the province procuring its own Covid-19 vaccines is concerned. During his State of the Province Address, Winde said he had been baffled by the criticism levelled at the province simply for doing its job – taking responsibility for healthcare.

“This is not like a year ago,” said Western Cape premier Alan Winde as he delivered his State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Wednesday, 17 February. 

Much of Winde’s speech focused on the Covid-19 pandemic and how the province planned on moving forward in terms of vaccines and a potential third wave of infections.

Winde spoke in Genadendal, a town in the Overberg region of the Western Cape. Members of the provincial legislature gathered in the Emil Weder High School hall, while some tuned in via online platforms. Others watched the proceedings from the legislature chamber in Wale Street, Cape Town. 

Winde began by saying his speech this year was very different to the one he made last year in Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain. At the time, the bulk of Covid-19 infections were occurring in the northern hemisphere. However, by 16 February 2021, the province had recorded 272,526 confirmed cases and 10,939 deaths.

Winde revealed the province’s four-pronged approach – the first being  preparations for a successful vaccine rollout in the province. Second, the province’s “contingency plan” for additional vaccine procurement. Third would be preparations for a third wave of Covid-19 infections, and fourth, support for provincial scientists to identify safe and effective therapeutic treatment for those who are ill. 

Winde announced the province’s procurement team led by the treasury and the department of health. The team is already speaking to drug companies about the procurement of additional vaccines. 

Winde has come under fire from opposition parties for the Western Cape’s decision to procure vaccines on its own. 

Read in Daily Maverick: Opposition questions Western Cape plans for extra vaccine doses

Winde said the provincial cabinet had agreed to this plan in order to “fill the gap” in vaccination requirements in the province. He added that procurement details would be published online, as the province does with other Covid-19 supplies, and would be accessible to the public. 

“This is so we can avoid corruption,” he said. 

While Winde was speaking, President Cyril Ramaphosa, health minister Zweli Mkhize and healthcare workers in Khayelitsha were receiving the first doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

 

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A third Covid-19 wave could coincide with the start of winter, said Winde, urging residents to play their part in preventing the spread of the virus. 

In addition to the Covid-19 vaccination effort, the province is also looking at boosting health services. There are plans to complete five major health infrastructure projects, including the Helderberg Hospital emergency centre, Gansbaai clinic, Laingsburg clinic, Victoria Hospital emergency centre and the Observatory forensic pathology institute. 

The leader of the official opposition in the Western Cape legislature, Cameron Dugmore, told Daily Maverick the province’s plan to procure vaccines on its own would lead to confusion. 

“This initiative of the Western Cape is ill-advised and simply will create confusion among the people of the province and our country,” said Dugmore.

GOOD party MPL, Brett Herron, said “the premier needs to spend a lot of time detailing to the people of this province how our province will secure additional vaccines and how these will be rolled out.

“Instead, in his Genadendal ramble, the premier just confirmed what he stated to the media a month ago – that we are phoning vaccine developers looking for vaccines. That is not a plan,” said Heron.

Winde’s speech will be debated by the legislature on Thursday morning and he will respond to the debate in the afternoon. DM

Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected] 

 

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"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

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