COVID-19: essential services during nationwide lockdown

posted in: COVID-19 information, Events, News, Tips, VRCID | 0

March 2020 – Cape Argus – BALDWIN NDABA AND MWANGI GITHAHU

Essential services workers who will be allowed to report for work during the 21-day nationwide lockdown will do so under strict regulations.

Yesterday police emphasised that all people classified as essential workers would have to adhere to the regulations gazetted by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on Wednesday.

Each worker will be expected to carry a permit which they will have to present to law enforcement agencies during the execution of the lockdown.

According to the permit, under Regulation 118(3), “the person to whom this permit is issued must at all times present a form of identification to be presented together with this permit. If no identification is presented, the person to whom the permit is issued will have to return to his or her place of residence during the lockdown”.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula also announced that minibus taxis, metered taxis and e-hailing services would be limited to the public during the lockdown. He said only staff rendering essential services and those out for essential purposes, such as buying groceries or going to work, would be allowed to leave home. Taxis will only be allowed to transport people for these essential trips from 5am to 9am and 4pm to 8pm.

A vehicle licensed to carry up to four people will only be permitted to load one passenger. A vehicle licensed to carry up to eight passengers will only be permitted to load a maximum of three people.

Buses will also have limited operations – only transporting essential services workers and people making necessary trips.

Police Minister Bheki Cele also issued a warning to those who might want to transgress the regulations, saying law enforcement officers would act against them.

Gatherings would be banned, except for funerals, which could be attended by only 50 people or less.

Movement between provinces, metros and district areas would also be banned and roadblocks on the community, provincial and national roads would be conducted, to enforce this with health screenings to ensure movement was restricted.

With the SANDF possibly aiding the SAPS to police the lockdown, military sociologist Professor Lindy Heinecken of Stellenbosch University said sending in the army once again placed the military in a situation it might not be adequately prepared for.

“With just 10 companies (roughly 1400 soldiers), which implies less than 400 boots on the ground at any one time to allow for rotation, one wonders how much support they can render,” said Heinecken.

Meanwhile, Premier Alan Winde said staying home was the only way to save lives.

“I know what we are asking for is difficult, and it is scary, but we have overcome many, many challenges as a country. We can do it again, together. If we all do this, we will be able to go back to our lives again and start to rebuild our economy.

“If we do not, and the virus continues to spread, many people will die and the lockdown may be extended. So now is the time. We can do this together. Let us be strong now for each other,” said Winde.

He underlined that the lockdown meant: “You will be required to stay in your home unless it is to go and buy groceries, go to the pharmacy or to seek medical attention.”

He said that as of 9am yesterday morning, “the province had confirmed 181 positive cases of Covid-19. Three residents are currently in hospital as a result of this virus.”

Winde said they had put measures in place to assist victims of violence.

“Rendering services to victims of crime and violence is an essential service. The Western Cape Department of Social Development and civil society organisations will continue to provide these services through provision of shelters and psycho-social support.”

Winde said four shelters had been identified as Stage 1 shelters to admit at-risk victims of crime and violence.

“Only referrals from a social worker with safety risk assessment and SAPS referral will be accepted.

“After the initial 14 days, clients will be transferred from a Stage 1 shelter to a Stage 2 shelter with the assistance of the SAPS,” said Winde.

He said the Department of Health would assist with medical screening and the medical needs of clients.

———-

26 MARCH 2020

STATEMENT BY THE EXECUTIVE MAYOR, ALDERMAN DAN PLATO

City finalises plans for essential services during COVID-19 lockdown

The City of Cape Town is primed to continue delivering essential services to residents during the three-week lockdown that takes effect at midnight.

However, we have had to institute mitigation measures to ensure that we operate within the framework of the lockdown, as set out by the President in his address to the nation earlier this week, and that we abide by the hygiene and social distancing protocols that have been advanced since the virus was first detected in South Africa.

The City would therefore like the public to take note of the following arrangements that have been put in place:

City clinics

Clinics across the City will still operate for the collection of medication and for primary health-care services. When visiting a clinic, all patients are required to maintain social distancing and ensure that they make use of the provided hand-sanitiser. The City of Cape Town, in conjunction with the Metro District Health Service, is looking at various ways in which to reduce the number of clients presenting at health facilities.

A number of initiatives have already been undertaken, while others are in the pipeline. These include:

  • Increasing chronic medication packs to last for two months – and three months in some instances
  • Establishing quick pick-up points for medication outside the clinic
  • Nurses giving medication for minor ailments from the consulting rooms to lighten the load on the facility pharmacies
  • Where possible, home deliveries of medication by Community Health Workers of NGO partners
  • Spacing/postponing non-essential follow-up appointments
  • Installation of tents where clients will be triaged, before they enter the facility
  • Educating the community at large on the importance of social distance

We urge the communities to understand the inevitable delays resulting from the implementation of these new measures. Ultimately, we require the public’s assistance during the lockdown period and we urge residents to please only visit their clinic if they are in urgent need of medical care.

Safety and Security

The Safety and Security operations during the lockdown will continue with key departments geared to protect citizens, property and the City’s emergency response teams.

The Cape Town Traffic Service and Law enforcement operations will remain operational during this time. Additionally, the Fire and Rescue Services will remain operational. We continue to request that all residents adhere to the lockdown regulations to ensure the safety of themselves and other residents. The Metropolitan Police Service during this time will work with our national security forces, the South African Police Services (SAPS) and South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to monitor and enforce strict adherence to the guidelines outlined by the President during the 21 days lockdown.

The Disaster Operations Centre will be activated and run 24 hours a day during this period, which acts as a central information point to communicate swiftly with the public during emergencies. This centre plays an essential role in coordinating and integrating multiple emergency services and other essential services to ensure that these organisations work together, to ensure effective response and recovery from disasters.

The City’s 107 operation centre will remain open during this period. The City reminds the public to please save the number for the Public Emergency Communication Centre on their cell phones.

The number to dial in the event of an emergency is: 107 (landline) or 021 480 7700 (cellphone)

In addition, City emergency and policing vehicles have started loud hailing across areas communicating the lockdown and disseminating information on basic health and safety measures.

Waste Removal

Every effort will be made to ensure collection of Solid Waste continues as normal, however this may be affected due to staff availability. If services are affected, residents should please take their bin out every morning (preferably by 06:30 when trucks start clearing their beats) and taking it back in every night after 21:00 until it is collected. Current indications are that delays should not last for more than a week, and in most cases, backlogs will be cleared more quickly.

Impact to services going forward is however difficult to predict at this stage. Residents should be aware however that lower income and higher density areas are being prioritised due to increased risks of the disease spreading quickly in these areas. In order to protect staff delivering this vital service, we will be ensuring that social distancing is practiced and providing necessary protective equipment. In addition, we request that all waste coming from a property where someone has been diagnosed with, or is showing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, is double-bagged.

Residents are encouraged to submit service requests using the following channels:

Call 0860 103 089 (choose option 1 for Solid Waste and option 2 for water-related matters)

Online www.capetown.gov.za/servicerequests

Water and Sanitation

Water and Sanitation Services will ensure the services will continue as an essential service. Services such as, water distribution, conveyance of wastewater and the management of all pump stations will carry on as in normal circumstances. All aspects of bulk water treatment, conveyance and storage including operation, maintenance and repair of associated infrastructure as well as internal administrative support and quality management will remain fully operational. The testing and sampling of the water to ensure compliance with national standards and regulation by Scientific Services is deemed essential and will continue. Meter management, and support relating to leak detection, pressure management and emergency protocols relating to pollution and spills will continue. Meter reading will be suspended for the period of lockdown and affected residents will receive estimated accounts, based on their normal consumption.

Residents can still submit service requests related to:

  • Burst mains
  • No water at a property
  • Stolen meter
  • Water quality complaints
  • Sewer blockages/overflows
  • Pump station faults/overflows
  • Servicing of septic tanks
  • Missing/stolen manhole covers.

Residents are encouraged to submit service requests using the following channels:

Call 0860 103 089 (choose option 1 for Solid Waste and option 2 for water-related matters)

For water matters, please email water@capetown.gov.za or SMS 31373 (max of 160 characters)

Online www.capetown.gov.za/servicerequests

Energy and Climate Change

Electricity services

The only service that will continue to be offered will be first line response to network faults and breakdowns. Repairs that are imperative from a safety perspective will be prioritised. Repairs on streetlights will be done only if, after an assessment, it is deemed a safety risk for the community or electricity staff.

For faults and emergencies please send an SMS to 31220, or email power@capetown.gov.za or faultreport.centre@capetown.gov.za.

Customers can buy prepaid electricity via their cellphones or online. Please register on one of the following websites first:

Those customers who cannot make use of online or cellphone options should be able to purchase electricity units from retailers offering this service.

Meter electricity meter readings
No on site meter readings will be done during this period.
Billings will be based on estimations done over the lockdown period compared to the usage over the same period in 2019. After the lockdown period, normal billing procedures will resume.

To submit your own reading:

Register on www.capetown.gov.za/Cityconnect to insert a reading

Read your own meter on a regular basis and send a photo of the meter reading by email to Electricity.MeterReading@capetown.gov.za or phone 021 444 6286/8432/8478/1554 or 0860 103 089 to give your meter reading

Transport

A reduced MyCiTi bus service will continue to operate throughout the lockdown period. The City will continue with its rigorous cleaning regime and safety protocols. In order to align to National Regulations and requirements to maintain social distancing, buses will accommodate up to 50% of their passenger capacity.

The Transport Management Centre will remain operational to respond to any incidents on the city’s road network. The maintenance and operations of the city’s traffic signal network will continue. Teams responsible for the maintenance and repair of the major arterial roads will remain operational.

Please note that customer requests relating to the road network, including pothole repairs, will only be responded to if urgent and essential.

Cemeteries

Cemeteries will remain operational as an essential service, on condition that the following strict conditions are adhered to:

  • The Cemetery Booking Offices will, with immediate effect, only accept electronic email submission of mandatory documents. No burial will be allowed without ALL mandatory documents, including proof of payment having been received 24 hours before burial.
  • Kindly note that all original documents for information affidavits which are submitted electronically, will need to be held in safekeeping by the undertakers, should these be required at a future date.
  • Additionally, in-person visits to the Cemetery Booking Offices by members of the public, undertakers and stonemasons are suspended until further notice.
  • No memorial permits, exhumation permits nor confirmation of burial certificates will be issued during the lock-down period.
  • Cemeteries will accommodate burials, subject to ongoing national directives which may impose further restrictions.
  • From Friday, 27 March 2020, all attendance will be strictly limited to immediate family only. A maximum of 50 people including undertakers and staff per burial.
  • Social distancing guidelines must be strictly adhered to at all times at cemeteries.
  • Time spent at the graveside will be limited to a maximum of 30 minutes.
  • Strict limitations on number of burials per day and adherence to timeslots will be enforced to avoid compromising social distancing guidelines.
  • Cemetery officials will be limited to operational hours only, with the exception of specific religions that require burial on the same day before sunset.

Finance

All cash offices will be closed, however customers can still make use of EFT and online options to pay their accounts. Payments are crucial to enable the City to remain financially healthy and to continue providing services, while we all fight the COVID-19 pandemic together. If you have any further enquiries or need assistance with the settlement of debt, reconnections or how to make payments, please phone 0860 103 089. For indigent assistance please send an email to indigent.relief@capetown.gov.za.

Please use the following convenient payment options:

Online payments: Visit www.Easypay.co.za or www.payCity.co.za

EFTs: Select the City of Cape Town as a bank-listed beneficiary on your bank's website. Use only your nine-digit municipal account number as reference

For convenience and peace of mind, you may pay your account at any of these listed vendors while doing your essential lockdown shopping: Checkers, Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Spar and Woolworths

Please note:

Billings will be based on estimations to avoid huge bills when readings are finally done. Estimations will be done over the lockdown period and compared to the same period in 2019.

Invoices will not be printed and posted, but previous invoices could be used to pay an equivalent amount, but invoices could be emailed if customers request it via email at copy.invoice@capetown.gov.za

Please use eServices or register for eServices for a host of online City services, including invoices or billing amounts: http://www.capetown.gov.za/City-Connect/Register/eservices-and-municipal-accounts/Register-for-a-municipal-account or http://www.capetown.gov.za/City-Connect/Register/eservices-and-municipal-accounts/Register-for-e-billing

Motor Vehicle Registration offices
The City’s Motor Vehicle Registration and Licencing offices will be closed to members of the public from the end of the working day today on Wednesday, 25 March 2020. Extensions will be granted and no penalties will apply over this lockdown period.

Human Settlements Directorate – projects and housing offices lockdown arrangements

All housing offices will be closed to members of the public. Housing development projects will also be suspended to adhere to the national lockdown. Any engagements with consultants and contractors will be done telephonically or online.

Only emergency housing services, such as with public housing, will be continued in person with all necessary hygiene and social distancing COVID-19 requirements in place.

Public Housing tenants – emergency

Should you be experiencing an emergency such as a burst water main or geyser, among others please send a WhatsApp to 063 299 9927, please provide the correct details to be assisted timeously. Such emergency services will be the only service requests attended to.

This includes:

1.    Emergency electrical work

2.    Staircase and balustrade work

3.    Plumbing work (only emergency plumbing and drainage maintenance issues such as no water supply and blockages)

4.    Area cleaning in the areas having refuse huts

Housing Database, maintenance, housing-related queries:

WhatsApp: 063 299 9927

  • Update of housing application details
  • Housing database queries
  • Housing maintenance complaints
  • Housing-related queries

Email: housingdb@capetown.gov.za

For all housing database queries

SMS: 44108

SMS your ID number with one space followed by your surname to 44108 to check your housing application status.

Housing Database online applications: https://web1.capetown.gov.za/web1/HWL2012Online/ to complete an application form.

Account payments – rental

Go to your nearest Pick n Pay, Shoprite or Checkers shops to pay your municipal accounts when you are able to do so. Please note enhanced hygiene and social distancing measures in effect.

Account payments remain vital to help the City function during this time. The City is dependent on rental income for the maintenance of its rental stock. Please help us by paying your dues to help us function and fight COVID-19.

Informal Settlements

The City deems its basic service offering within informal settlements as ‘critical services’. It continues to provide basic and essential services to existing and historic settlements in accordance with the national standards where it is possible to do so. The Western Cape Government and National Government departments as well as the City are working together to achieve enhanced COVID-19 measures for the most vulnerable groupings in society.

Therefore, the City is putting in place measures to ensure the continuation of service delivery within informal settlements through the means of:

1.   Ongoing communication as to the City’s operational plans and educational information detailing the dangers of COVID-19 and the best means for combatting it.  Communication will be digital in form (across social media platforms and through bulk sms).

2. Distribution of water supply via water tankers that will be allocated to specific informal settlements that do not have access to running water due to these being recently occupied through land invasion or where it is impossible to provide permanent services.

3.  Ongoing collection of waste within informal settlements

4.  Ongoing sanitation services within informal settlements

Arrangements for Homeless People

The City has harkened the words of the President and is making provisions for those that are most vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19.  Cape Town has roughly 6 000 homeless residents in the city; 4 000 who sleep on the streets and 2 000 who make use of the City facilitated night shelter offering.

The City of Cape Town is establishing temporary accommodation for all homeless residents during the national shut down and for the immediate foreseeable future.

Paint City, in Bellville, will be used for this purpose and will provide the city’s homeless with sanitation and electrical provision, and an opportunity to safely self-isolate in a protected environment. The site will be made available to individuals, couples, and families of the homeless. The site is an extension of a current City owned site and the structures provided will be temporary in nature.  As such, following the completion of the COVID 19 pandemic, the site will revert to an alternate use. In the interim, the City will need to determine a sustainable solution to addressing homelessness within Cape Town.

Facilities Management

City Facilities which support the delivery of critical services, such as health, safety and security, water and sanitation and waste collection will remain open to essential workers.  Servicing of these facilities continues despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, with increased health and safety actions (heightened sanitation of sites) to mitigate against the spread of the virus.

All other City facilities will remain closed throughout the duration of the lockdown. The facilities will be monitored by security services to prevent any vandalism or unlawful occupation.

Fleet management

The City’s fleet services have been re-organised to support critical service operations across the functions of the administration.

Fleet services will primarily support Health and Safety and Security services, ensuring that maintenance and depot facilities will be available throughout the lockdown.  Fleet that supports on-going basic services such as water and sanitation provision and waste removal will be accounted for, as will the ability to perform emergency maintenance on any of the fleet that suffer break-downs.

Surplus fleet will be utilised to support the transport of critical staff to their various postings as well as in logistical undertakings of obtaining critical supplies and equipment.

Court Services

The municipal courts will remain open and functional for matters that are set down for hearing. Once the matters for the day are concluded, the courts will close. Restrictions on access to court buildings are, however, being enforced at all courts in order to comply with the recommended social distancing rules. Those who want to pay fines or warrants can only do so via www.paycity.co.za as no payments will be processed at the courts.

A further release detailing transport measures will be issued shortly.