The weekly virtual meeting, which is hosted by the City’s Executive Mayor with participation from sector departments, mining houses, and law enforcement agencies, lauded the substantial progress which has been done, to reduce the rapid spread of the novel Corona Virus. The Bojanala district, since the nationwide lockdown, experienced an exponential rise in new recorded Covid-19 cases, to the extent that the region and Rustenburg have cemented their place as the Province’s hot-spot as a district and Local Municipality.
To date 12341 cases in Bojanala, with the recovery rate up to 63% and actual 7827 recoveries. Rustenburg has recorded 9092 cases with 6219 recoveries as at 13th August 2020. Despite the progress which has been registered in both the District and City, Rustenburg remains the Province’s hot-spot. The Department of Health in its presentation, said despite that the region and City had recorded a high recovery rate, much work still lay ahead.
One of the departments, which had been adversely affected by Covid-19 cases which included recording Covid-19 related deaths – the Education Department, said the break which was necessitated by the rising infection rate, has greatly assisted the department within the Rustenburg jurisdiction. To date, the department has not recorded a single Covid-19 case affecting an educator or a leaner. This has allowed the catch-up program much-needed break from interruptions, where disinfection of buildings as and when new cases are recorded. The resumption of teaching and learning has commenced with no challenges in respect of the return of Grade 7’s.
13 Early Childhood Development Centres (ECD’s) have since reopened to continue with the remainder of the educational calendar for the year. The resumption of operations at the various ECD’s follows a lengthy compliance process led by the Department of Social Development, to ensure that ECD’s are Covid-19 compliant to welcome back the children of varying ages to attend. 40 residents are currently at the shelter for the homeless, this center houses people who also are being assisted with social reintegration.
Anglo American has supported the department by donating Covid-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as well as other resourced for the upkeep and daily operations of centres which have been identified to assist victims of GBV. To date, in the last week, 12 new cases of GBV have been recorded within the Rustenburg Jurisdiction. The centres, mainly assist with overnight accommodation, while reintegration is implemented by social workers. The MEC for Social Development in the North West; Boitumelo Moiloa has donated 1.6 Million rands to Bessie Mpelege Ngwana to cater for 56 children, which is a specialized centre for children with disabilities.
The South African Social Security Agency – SASSA has reported improved service, following the challenges that the Rustenburg centre has had to confront, such as long queues caused by applicants of the Covid-19 relief fund. The Post Office, has over the last couple of weeks been processing payment and this has significantly reduced the number of people visiting the offices. In addition to this, satellite operating centres out of the City’s CBD have been administering new registration, following a joint communication and awareness campaign by SASSA and the Rustenburg Local Municipality to decongest the main office in the City centre. The Grant in Aid, Care Dependency grant are being implemented as well.
Anglo American Platinum has been hard work, with the clinical support programme. The main objective of the program is to roll-out training of health workers across 22 clinics in Rustenburg for Covid-19 screening, testing and PPE usage. This will further assist far-flung communities in receiving health-related services and becoming more Covid-19 conscious; this is a joint programme between AAP and the department Health as part of the IGR forum on Covid-19
The South African Police Services, South African National Defence Force, and members of the City’s Public Safety Directorate have been involved in ongoing crime prevention operations. These operations also focus on Covid-19 regulations, and the compliance affecting businesses and residents, in promoting general law and order. About 3020 vehicles have been searched in joint operations, 1251 liquor premises were inspected, 688 informal traders checked for general compliance including that governing the Covid-19 regulations. The operations have led to the seizing of about 5082 cigarettes which are currently not permitted for sale and distribution. The people of Marikana, have received support from Tharisa Mine, where numerous schools have been fitted with social distancing apparatus, to ensure that the premises observe all the Covid-19 protocols.
The Rustenburg Local Municipality has not been spared from the effects of Covid-19, to date about 94 officials had been infected by the virus and the recovery rate stands at 92%, with about 8% of active cases. In line with resolutions of the previous meetings, the Municipality’s Directorate for Public Safety has been conducting public awareness campaigns in the various wards, as this had been a serious concern raised by the Department of Health and the Executive Mayor, on the back of the increasing number of new cases.
On concluding the meeting Mayor Khunou, said the formation of the IGR Forum on Covid-19 could have been seen as a compliance requirement at the beginning of the lockdown, but great strides have been to cushion the impact of Covid-19 in the provincial hot-spot “I am elated of the progress we have registered. One needs to commend all of our social partners, who have always been relentless in their effort to ensure that Rustenburg, does not become a health hazard for the province” Mayor Khunou concluded.