Mayor Masina – City’s Response to The Covid-19 Outbreak
Executive Mayor Mzwandile Masina has outlined a list of containment and mitigation measures to decrease the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement comes off the back of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration of National State of Disaster on Sunday, 15 March 2020.
Following extensive consultation with the City’s senior managers and in line with the best practice measures outlined by the National Department of Health and the World Health Organisation, the City of Ekurhuleni has decided to embark on the following measures:
COVID-19 JOINT OPERATIONS CENTRE
The City has activated a Joint Operations Centre (JOC) to coordinate the City’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The JOC is composed of senior officials from all the departments and will convene every Tuesday and Thursday. The JOC will provide the Office of the Executive Mayor with daily situational reports on developments relating to the COVID-19 outbreak. It will meet with various City stakeholders, (ACSA, ESKOM, ERWAT, faith based organisations, traditional leaders, taxi associations, IziNduna at our hostels, various Chambers and business forums to name a few) regularly to receive input and provide updates on developments surrounding the outbreak.
The City believes the health and safety of its employees remains a top priority. To this effect the City is rolling out the following measures:
- allocating hand sanitising stations at all entrances of government buildings and enforcing hygiene protocol for all individuals entering and exiting the buildings
- introduce scheduled sanitation of commonly used objects across the City, this includes telephones, door handles, taps, and desks amongst other things
- investigating the introduction of staggered reporting times across the City’s depots in order to minimise the number of people gathered at these venues
- setting up a dedicated hotline for employees who have any questions regarding COVID-19, and possible symptoms
- considering the introduction of a ‘Work From Home’ protocol for high-risk staff members and will make an announcement to this effect in the near future
- the Human Resource Department will publish Leave Management Guidelines for the current National State of Disaster for staff
- a moratorium on all official staff travel, domestic and international have been enforced until further notice.
The City recognises that globally, social distancing has emerged as one of the most effective methods of slowing down the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, the City has closed the following government-owned facilities:
- Community halls
- Civic centres
- Stadia and sports fields
- Public swimming pools
- Innovation and business labs
- Nature reserves
The aforementioned facilities will be closed until further notice. Any changes to the status of this will be communicated. All prior bookings and events that were scheduled to take place at these venues have been canceled until further notice.
All upcoming City events have been postponed until further notice. The City is currently investigating an innovative solution to conduct public participation through digital platforms to avoid public gatherings.
Public cemeteries will remain open throughout the state of disaster. Families are advised to keep funeral attendance to under 100 people, and exercise punctuality during their service, to avoid contact with other funeral parties.
Public libraries will not be allowed to host more than 100 people at a time. All visitors to our libraries will be required to be seated a minimum of 1,5 metres apart. Shortening the operating hours of libraries is being considered.
Restaurants and taverns are advised not to exceed the limit of 100 patrons within their facility. The City also calls upon these establishments to introduce strict hygiene protocol for their staff and customers.
The City urges all shopping centres and malls to monitor the number of customers entering their facilities. We also encourage retailers to introduce measures to mitigate panic buying by customers.
COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC EDUCATION
Empowering the public with knowledge surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic is an effective method of allaying fears and reducing the harmful impact of misinformation. The City will introduce the following measures:
- a mass public awareness campaign regarding the COVID-19 outbreak,
- intensive education workshops to be provided to high-risk individuals in the City by health and safety officials,
- daily situation updates to be sent to residents via SMS and digital media platforms,
- internal communications campaign to educate City employees and provide regular updates of decisions taken by the City which may affect them
SAFETY AND SECURITY
The City is cognisant that criminal elements will see the COVID-19 outbreak as an opportunity to capitalise on the fear and anxiety of our citizens. The City will be adopting a proactive to this effect and will be enforcing the following measures:
- Increased visible policing throughout the City,
- City personnel will be assigned to monitor and fact check fake news containing information regarding the City. Misinformation alerts will be communicated to the public through our digital media platforms,
- A zero-tolerance approach will be taken against public disobedience and violent acts of xenophobia .
In order to minimise the potential strain the COVID-19 pandemic might exert on our public hospitals the City will be capacitating local clinics with the following interventions:
- Sanitisation stations are currently setup at the entrance of all of the local clinics
- All clinics will allocate isolation rooms for patients that display symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, where they will be tested and quarantined before being sent to a hospital
- Further training of clinical staff will continue in order to ensure they are suitably prepared to deal with potential COVID-19 cases
PORTS OF ENTRY
The City is home to continents busiest airport, OR Tambo International. This means the City must take an active interest in the screening, tracing and reporting of contact individuals at this port to safeguard the wellness of our residents. To this effect the following measures are introduced:
- Health and safety officials are deployed to OR Tambo International Airport and the Rand Airport to assess the effectiveness of screening of entrants into the City, and monitor the enforcement of hygiene protocols throughout the facilities
- Additional City health and safety officers to be stationed at both airports to support COVID-19 containment measures.
The City encourages account holders to use the Siyakhokha online system. Siyakhokha offers residents and businesses the convenience of online services, while at the same time promoting social distancing.
The Siyakhokha portal allows account holders to conduct the following services:
- Link your municipal accounts,
- Add your banking details,
- View your municipal statements,
- Make payment for your municipal account (Once-off Payment/Recurring Debit Order/ Master-pass),
- View payment history/status,
- View consumption (water/electricity),
- Log complaints/compliments.
The City is aware that the following measures will inconvenience a large number of our residents. The drastic measures undertaken in the interest of protecting our citizens and drastically slowing down the spread of the virus.
“As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, we are asking the citizens of the City of Ekurhuleni to come together and play their part in curbing this pandemic. Now is not the time to panic, but we must rather empower ourselves with knowledge and follow best practices for reducing the spread of the virus. The City will continue to do everything within our power to keep you safe,” Said Executive Mayor Masina.
Issued by the Office of the Executive Mayor of the City of Ekurhuleni