The weekly virtual meeting of the Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) Forum on Covid-19, which is chaired by the Executive Mayor – Councillor Mpho Khunou, was alarmed by the updated statistics of Covid-19 in Rustenburg released by the Department of Health. As of 16th July 2020, the City had recorded 6353 cases with over 1500 recoveries.
The Department of Health remains concerned with the increase of new cases in the areas which have been identified as local hotspots which include Freedom Park, Kroondal, Rustenburg’s Central Business District, Tlhabane West, Boitekong, Meriting, Mfidikwe, Cashan and Marikana. The mining sector has been equally affected by the pandemic, to the extent that from the total number of recorded cases in the City, the sector has over one-thousand recorded Covid-19 cases.
Despite this, mining houses have continued to work closely with the Department of Health in a multi-stakeholder effort to flatten the curve. To that effect, the Department’s 22 public facilities in the Rustenburg municipal area have received Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the mining sector – Anglo American Platinum and Sibanye Stillwater donating over 7500 litres of alcohol-based sanitizers, to ensure that officials have sufficient protective gear while on the front-lines and serving the various communities. A donation of 3500 litres of sanitizers was donated to the Job Shimankana Tabane Hospital early today received by the Hospital’s CEO from Sibanye Stillwater.
The Department’s public facilities have also been hard-hit, as health practitioners have also tested positive for Covid-19, with operations having to be suspended intermittently when new cases have been reported. Despite the disruptions of services, due to closures, the Department is pleased with the recoveries that resumption of duties by those who had been isolated, during the mandatory 14-day period to gain medical clearance.
The Executive Mayor, said it is worrying that the new cases may stem from noncompliance to the gazette regulations by the national government and the forum, will have to work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that public awareness campaigns are rolled out “for over a while the City has firmly sat at the top, as the Provinces epicenter. If indeed we are to turn the tide and flatten the curve, law enforcement agencies, who are a part of the forum, will have to ramp up their effort, to ensure we deal decisively with the aspect of noncompliance. Our focus is now to work hard, to slow the rate of infection” Mayor Khunou said.
The Department of Education, continues to receive material support from the mining sector, in respect of Covid-19 PPE including facial masks and sanitizers. The Department is still to receive more donations from the mining sector, emanating from a commitment made two months ago, to ensure that the resumption of schooling experiences minimal challenges in respect of learner and teacher safety in schools. Sibanye Stillwater, Anglo American Platinum, Royal Bafokeng Platinum, Glencore Alloys as well as Tharisa, have been working with the department to ensure that the needs of the various schools for Covid-19 are adequately addressed.
The Department of Social Development’s assessments are on course, in preparation for the re-opening of early childhood development centres. ECD’s in the Rustenburg area will reopen once assessments carried out by the department indicate that the centers are fully compliant with all the Covid-19 safety protocols. Also, the shelter for the homeless is still in operation, albeit the influx in the number of news admissions, and social reintegration processes.
The South African Police Services have not been spared, by the spread of the Covid-19. To date within the Rustenburg municipal area, the SAPS has recorded 58 Covid-19 positive cases. However, despite the mandatory disruptions when a new case is reported, which warrants a closure of a Police Station, to ensure that deep cleaning is carried out policing in respect of the amended regulations, have been on-going.
Anglo American Platinum has been working closely with the Office of the Speaker to offer assistance to households in distress. These are families, which hard-hit by the effects of Covid-19. To date, the mining house has issued out 200 vouchers to assist such families. The company will continue to work closely with the office in identifying other families that can benefit from the intervention.
The Municipality has increased its operation and subsequent service offering to the public, despite a surge in the number of recorded cases within the institution. From the first case to date in the month of July, the RLM has recorded 60 cases, with 17 recoveries. The number of active cases stands at 43.