While the country’s health authorities are relentless in their fight against reducing the number of newly recorded daily Covid-19 cases and fatalities, the leadership collective of Rustenburg, has shown concern with the City’s Covid-19 cases. The City until the end of 2020, had been the provincial hotspot and the district was recently declared a corona-virus hotspot in the province by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The Executive Mayor of Rustenburg Councillor Mpho Khunou, with various mining houses and other departments, had worked around the clock until the country was moved to lock-down alert level 1 last year, with numerous interventions including education and awareness campaigns.
Although Rustenburg continued to lead, with the newly recorded daily cases, the rapidity of the transmission had slowed down. The Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) Forum on Covid-19 in its first meeting of this year, resolved to commence with compliance operations in and around Rustenburg. This as concerns emanated from residents, about the lack of compliance to social distancing at some businesses and various public buildings which posed an increased risk to Covid-19 transmission as the health and safety protocols had not been adhered to.
The City’s Public Safety Directorate, led by the Emergency and Disaster Management Services, accompanied by Law Enforcement and Traffic Services, led an operation around the CBD to inspect the level of compliance in some of the business premises and public buildings. At the Home Affairs located near the bus and taxi terminus, the inspection revealed numerous shortcomings including that there was no register in place, for clients to record their information, in case of Covid-19 contact tracing, social distancing markings were not in place outside the building for queueing clients as required by the regulations and that the building did not have an isolation area for Covid-19 suspected cases. The team found that inside the were sufficient control measures, to ensure that the offices are not overcrowded and that there is social distancing and compliance with PPE.
A similar situation was found at the Post Office, close to the City Council offices, where the snaking queue of grant recipients was not well managed to the extent that social distancing was not enforced. The facility did not have a register for contact tracing, however a sanitizer station was at the entrance for members of the public entering or exiting the office. The facility managed to comply with most requirements for Covid-19, like regular decontamination, use of thermometers for checking temperature as well as an isolation room.
At Shoprite, the inspection revealed that there was no register for customers when entering the premises but only sanitizer, there are social distancing markings but no compliance with a 2 metre distance. The store, did not have an isolation area in case of a suspected case and that there is regular decontamination and there is compliance regarding COVID-19 PPE e.g. Masks, Sanitisers. The operation was concluded at Impala’s Shaft 1, where the mining giant was found to comply with Covid19 regulations.
While reacting to the operation, Mayor Mpho Khunou said the findings were concerning “we are impressed with the work, the Public Safety Directorate has done, to ensure that residents feel safe however the lack of strict compliance worries us. We cannot be complacent when the country is preparing for the Covid-19 peak, our is to double our efforts and ensure that we do not compromise any of the set regulations because we know of the strain that our health system is experiencing currently” Mayor Khunou concluded.