KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has assured Diplomatic Corps that the province is on top of the situation with the Coronavirus outbreak and has also pledged solidarity with their respective countries which have also been hit by the epidemic.
Delivering his keynote address during a breakfast meeting with the Diplomatic Corps at the Coastlands Hotel in Umhlanga on Thursday, Zikalala said the province was not leaving anything to chance and would prioritize all key national decisions announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa when he declared Covid-19 as a national emergency on Sunday.
The Premier described Coronavirus as a global challenge that “we need to face as society” and that it did not mean that there was now no future because of this epidemic.
“It is a global challenge that we need to face as society. From the onset we wish to express our solidarity with all of you but also with your governments from various countries that are also grappling with this.
"We know that some countries have been severely hit by this challenge. Our solidarity goes to all the people of the world who are suffering from this epidemic, including us as the province,” said Premier Zikalala.
He said in line with President Ramaphosa’s directives, the KwaZulu-Natal Province aims to implement all key national decisions in an integrated manner under the campaign themed: “Siyayinqoba/We Will Conquer Coronavirus.”
“Through this theme and campaign, we will be upscaling advocacy and social mobilisation through education about the disease,” said Zikalala.
He warned against fears and anxiety from people that because of the outbreak of Coronavirus, this meant that there was no future, saying society had triumphed against other epidemics in the past.
“People must not think there is no future because of this epidemic. There is future. Even some years ago there were epidemics and society developed mitigating factors. And like this one we are told that there are a number of initiatives currently underway. We have just learned of America’s initiative on whether there is a cure or not and that’s what the world is looking for. We also, as South Africa, believe that we should work towards that,” said Zikalala.
He also allayed the fears of the people of the province: “We want to call all of us to allay fears and anxiety. Let us not be overwhelmed. Let’s deal with this as a present challenge that we are going to overcome. With the highest levels of unemployment and a struggling economy we are equally concerned about the negative impact to the business sector and people of our province.”
“But we urge society to prioritize wellness and safety. We call on all our stakeholders to work together in identifying innovative approaches to cushioning our economy from the strains that are a direct result of the epidemic.”
He said the province was not leaving anything to chance and has identified hospital buildings and wards that can be repurposed for the isolation of confirmed cases.
“We are confident as KZN that we have what it takes to end the epidemic. Working closely with you and the countries you represent, we stand even a better chance to achieve better results and much more rapidly,” he told the Diplomatic Corps.
The Siyayinqoba iCoronavirus campaign launched on Wednesday is an integrated multi-sectoral response to the epidemic and the Provincial Government has announced the establishment of the Provincial Command Team which will be chaired by Premier Zikalala and comprise Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, Economic Development MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube , Transport and Community Safety MEC Bheki Ntuli and Human Settlements MEC Peggy Nkonyeni.
The team will meet every week to ensure multi-sectoral coordination, including at district and local municipality level.
Other key interventions by the province, include:
*The closure of border posts to the province; Kosi Bay – Mozambique; Onverwacht – Eswatini; Sani Pass – Lesotho and Boesmansnek – Lesotho;
*The configuration of a number of hospitals which have been prepared to admit confirmed and suspected cases;
*The issuing of two-three month supply of chronic medication and reviewing visiting hours and restricting the number of visitors per patient.
ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF THE KZN PREMIER
For more information, contact:
KZN Provincial Government Spokesman
082 884 2403
KZN Premier Media Liaison
083 253 0748