Premier Alan Winde has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa, calling on him to reconvene the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) and urgently lift some of the restrictions in the Western Cape.

Winde said that this is a matter of urgency and so that the province can avoid an economic disaster.

Last week Tuesday, the premier wrote to Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize, calling for an easing of restrictions. Winde said that included in the formal submission they set out “clear evidence in support of the changing of some restrictions”.

Winde said he had yet to receive a response from Mkhize.

The Western Cape requested these changes be made urgently:

  • The ban on beaches and other public spaces be lifted, as open spaces with good ventilation “are safer and they do not provide a high risk”. Winde said the festive season was over and people were back at work.
  • The curfew be changed to 11pm to 4am, as the current curfew made it difficult for restaurants to provide a dinner service. Winde said the sector was buckling as a result.
  • A closing time of 10pm for establishments, that would allow for staff to get home before curfew began.
  • Alcohol sales be permitted off-site from Monday to Thursday, and not permitted on the weekend.
  • Alcohol sales be permitted at wine farms on the weekend, “as this is the time when most visitors come to wine farms”. Winde said such sales were critical for the survival of wine tourism.
  • On-site alcohol consumption be allowed.

Winde said “We are fast approaching a month since the adjusted alert level 3 restrictions came into effect. At the time, it was made clear by the president that these restrictions would be in place for 14 days and thereafter reviewed, considering the evidence”.

“Twenty-eight days later, the evidence now clearly points to a different situation in our province.”

He further said the province had seen a sustained decline in active cases, hospitalisations, test positivity rate, oxygen usage and health-care worker infections.

Winde said “Throughout this pandemic, we have argued for getting balance right in saving both lives and jobs, and we have not hesitated to take action in getting that balance right over the last year”.

“The reality is that the balance is not being achieved currently and that the president needs to use the differentiated approach to help save jobs in the Western Cape and those provinces that have clearly passed their peak.”

The Presidency’s spokesperson Tyrone Seale said “The Presidency has received Premier Winde’s request and this matter is under consideration.”