Contentions over SA's state of national disaster

Contentions over SA's state of national disaster

By Daniel Itai, Johannesburg, South Africa

With just under 48 hours before the state of national disaster lapses, they are now contentions on whether to extend it or do away with completely.

To date, the country has recorded 694 537 COVID-19 cases with 18 028 succumbing to the deadly virus. However, the country has an overall recovery rate of 90 percent.

“The Disaster Management Act can always be revoked there is no need to remain in a state of national disaster.

We are managing the situation we are not in a disaster phase. Regardless, certain measures might need to remain in place,” said Professor. Alex van den Heever, Chairperson of the University of Witwatersrand’s School of Governance of Social Security Systems Administration and Management.

However, University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Dean and Head of School, Nursing and Public Health, Professor. Ntombifikile Mtshali, said extending the state of national disaster would be the right move.

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“We don’t know how the resurgence will look like, it could be worse but we have to be better prepared. It’s really best to rely on the preventative methods than our health care system.

Moreover, the Disaster Management Act brought all sectors together which has helped to control the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Professor. Mtshali.

In addition, Professor. Shabir Madhi, a vaccinologist at the University of Witwatersrand said people should avoid being complacent as the virus was still prevalent.

“For the next 6 to 12 months we need to remain vigilant wearing of masks, physical distancing and washing of hands. People are now becoming complacent,” said Professor. Madhi.

The state of national disaster will expire tomorrow with government expected to make an announcement today or tomorrow with regards to its extension.