Parliamentary activities in light of Covid-19

The Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP) shares the same concern as all South Africans for the situation in our country regarding the spread of COVID-19. I, together with the Deputy Speaker, the leaders of the political parties represented in the WCPP and the leadership of the parliamentary administration are taking this matter very seriously and we have finalised our official response and plan of action.

 

In support of the measures announced by President Ramaphosa a few days ago, the WCPP have responded as follows:

 

  1. We have established WhatsApp groups to communicate immediately with employees and Members.
  2. Regular communiques containing information about the virus, steps to reduce the spread of the virus, response to infection, etc.
  3. Discouraging the distribution of information not being shared through official channels and the spread of fake news and misinformation. As a result our WhatsApp group is only lead by the administration.
  4. Immediate cancellation of all incoming tour groups and visits.
  5. Immediate cancellation of all public outreach and education activities.
  6. Immediate cancellation of all outgoing international visits.
  7. Local travel limited to essential travel only.
  8. Immediate discontinuation of the use of biometric scanners.
  9. Installation of sanitation points at key points in the building.
  10. All Members and employees who have been in contact with an infected persons to self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.
  11. A Business Continuity Committee to convene regularly to deal with the (a) prevention of infections (b) to ensure the health and safety of employees and Members and c) to ensure that the work of the WCPP be continued. In this regard a skeleton staff will be in attendance to deal with any enquiry.

 

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in consultation with the Western Cape Provincial Parliament’s Programming Authority which represents all political parties in the legislature, it has been decided to expedite parliamentary processes to allow for the consideration of the province’s budget by 20 March. This decision was unanimously supported by the Speaker’s Consultative Political Party Forum. We will then encourage our Members to work in their constituencies and practice social distancing in order to reduce the spread of the virus. In addition, will also be encouraging our staff, where possible, to work from home. We have every intention of ensuring that the operations of the WCPP are not negatively affected and will have limited attendance at the office. This arrangement will be observed until 18 April, at which stage we hope that the level of spread will have reduced to such an extent as to allow for normal activities to continue.

 

Although we are all anxious about the unfolding situation, it is important that we remain calm, reasonable and responsible. As much as we don’t want to become infected ourselves, we also don’t want to place our families, friends and colleagues at risk. I encourage everyone to follow the proper hygiene procedures by:

  • - Regularly washing your hands very well with soap and water or using hand sanitiser (min 70% alcohol).
  • - Cough and sneeze into your elbow or cover your mouth with a tissue.
  • - Avoid shaking hands – use the elbow greeting.
  • - Avoid contact with people with flu-like symptoms.
  • - Self-isolate if you display flu-like symptoms.

 

Should you develop flu-like symptoms, do not panic. Please self-quarantine and limit contact with other people. If you are unsure of what to do, contact the national hotline on 0800 029 999 or the Western Cape hotline at
021 928 4102.

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