South Africa Hit by Covid-19
On the 15th March 2020 the President of South Africa declared a State of National Disaster after the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. With this announcement many restrictions were imposed on South Africans. Given the scale and the speed at which the virus is spreading, it was evident that the no country is immune from the disease or will be spared from the severity of its impact. The South African President and his Executive had decided to take urgent and drastic measures to manage the disease, protect the people of our country and reduce the impact of the virus on our society and on our economy. As a result of this announcement, Regulations in terms of Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 were issued with the aim at mitigating the severity of its impact.
The ZF Mgcawu District Municipality held a Personnel meeting on the 16th March 2020 to discuss what this declaration means for our staff and the ZFM District as a whole. Subsequent to that meeting a Rapid Response Team was established which consisted of the following key internal role-players:
Senior Management (MM & Directors); Communications Manager (Coordinator); Environmental Health Services; Disaster Management; Occupational Health and Safety and Risk Management
ZF MGCAWU DISTRICT MUNICIPAL ACTIVITIES
EHP Awareness Campaigns
The Environment Health Unit at the ZF Mgcawu District embarked on an awareness campaign to inform citizens on COVID-19. The awareness campaign formed part of the “National Hand Hygiene Behaviour Change Strategy 2016 – 2020” The key areas targeted specifically for Covid-19 awareness included providing leaflets at the taxi rank, Kalahari Mall, Kgalagadi Centre, large retail stores, banks, post offices, libraries and other gathering places. The awareness campaign kicked off at the Upington CBD Taxi Rank where taxi owners, drivers and passengers were educated on COVID-19. They also received an opportunity to ask the Environmental Health Practitioners questions and received pamphlets and posters.
Awareness within the Municipality
Our personnel are an important part of distributing the message of Covid-19 and it was imperative to raise awareness within our offices. EHP and Communications made posters available in central parts of the buildings and also translated the material to Afrikaans for those staff members who understand only Afrikaans.
Political Intergovernmental Relations Forum with Mayors & Municipal Managers
Following the call of the Premier that all Districts must establish Joint District Operations Centres. An urgent stakeholder engagement meeting was called by the ZFM Executive Mayor, Cllr Paulus Mgcera to discuss plans for Covid-19 in their respective Municipalities. The meeting was attended by representatives of the ZFM Department of Health and ZFM Environmental Health Services. The call from the President requires us to act with decisive action to curb the spread of the coronavirus.