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Cogta wants state of disaster to be extended

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The department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) will during Saturday’s Cabinet meeting propose that the state of disaster, which is governed by the Disaster Management Act, be extended.

Minister of Cogta, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. Picture: Siyabulela Duda GCIS

THE CABINET is expected to decide before the end of Saturday whether or not it extends the country’s Covid-19 state of disaster, which comes to an end at midnight, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) spokesperson Lungi Mtshali said.

Speaking to the SABC, Mtshali said his department would during the Cabinet meeting on Saturday propose that the state of disaster, which is governed by the Disaster Management Act, be extended.

However, Mtshali said he could not predict what the Cabinet would decide, except that “they would take on our recommendations, and apply their minds”.

It was understood that the state of disaster, which kicked off in March and came to an end on June 15, would be extended on a month-to-month basis.

“When we move within the levels, or we move (back) to Level 4 or move to Level 2 we must be still within the national state of disaster. We have until midnight to extend it (national state of disaster),” said Mtshali.

He said that if the Cabinet failed to extend the national state of disaster before the end of the day, the current regulation would no longer be applicable.

“There are other laws that would kick in, in terms of protecting the health care system, although they may not be as responsive in terms of dealing with the pandemic. There are acts that would protect the country in terms of communicable diseases that would kick in with some limited functionality in terms of dealing with the disaster or a pandemic of this nature,” said Mtshali.

He added that Cogta had on April 26 outlined to the nation how the country would exit from the lockdown, which involved five stages.

“Those levels would be informed by two things; number of infections vis a vis the state of readiness of the national health care system, whether the health care system is able to deal with those numbers of infection. So it is those balances that will inform whether we go on with the state of national disaster,” said Mtshali.

He said that as the co-ordinating department, Cogta had, after the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) meeting, drafted a proposal for the extension of the state of disaster.

“That is informed by the deliberations and consultations with other departments. For example, the Department of Health will tell us what the state of the health care system is.

“But also we already know what the numbers of infection are per province, and based on that we will say the regulations that we have to promulgate need to support us moving out of a dangerous situation when it comes to the state of the health care system,” said Mtshali.