Eastern Cape towns, districts prepare for 21-day lockdown

People with protective suits and mask respirators outdoors, coronavirus concept.

Eastern Cape metros and municipal districts are confident they will be able to effectively support national government during the country’s 21-day lockdown period, starting at midnight on Thursday.

All over the province, municipalities and management teams have been putting measures in place to ensure essential services are provided as SA fights to contain the coronavirus.

On Thursday morning, Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane will announce decisions taken at a provincial level on how the lockdown period will be managed.

Buffalo City Metro mayor Xola Pakati said traffic and law enforcement services would assist in the efforts “aimed at bringing law and order during this (lockdown) period”

“They will continue to ensure that the restrictions on people staying at home and public gatherings are respected fully. They will also be implementing our own bylaws,” said Pakati.

He said BCM would make sure that the refuse removal service operated optimally.

“We will ensure that regular grass cutting and maintenance of parks takes place. The municipality will work to ensure that there is consistent water, sewerage and electricity services provided during this period.”

Those areas without water would be provided with water tanks.

“A detailed schedule of distribution will be publicised using mass media.”

Residents are encouraged to pay their bills at supermarkets and on online platforms, Pakati said.

The shutdown of Ebuhlanti, all beaches, public libraries, the East London Zoo and the Aquarium would remain in place.

“Residents are advised to refrain from trying to go to beaches, Ebuhlanti and other picnic spots during this period. We advise that those who do not heed this message, that they will be met by the multi-stakeholder law enforcement teams that have been deployed.”

Ndikinda also discouraged people from what he termed “mass cooking” at funerals. He was referring to the practice whereby many cooks were on hand to prepare and dish up food for the mourners.

“One of them (cooks) could be infected,” he said.

ADM is also discouraging people from using ordinary plates and glasses. They should rather use disposable plates.

Lockdown measures have been taken in Nelson Mandela Bay, where electricity meters have been unblocked, refuse removal plans are in place and personal protective gear has been provisioned.

A municipal team has been in the process of identifying quarantine sites, with plans at an advanced stage, to ensure homeless people were accommodated in compliance with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decrees.

“It is during these times of difficulties that the character of strong men and women are tested,” said interim Bay mayor Thsonono Buyeye. — Additional reporting by Angela Daniels, Gareth Wilson and Simtembile Mgidi.

The public transport system would also not be operational, Pakati said.

Plans would be finalised at a meeting on Thursday, Pakati’s spokesperson Luzuko Buku told DispatchLIVE.

Amathole district municipality is also leaving nothing to chance.

At the council’s special council meeting in East London on Wednesday, the district adopted guidelines on how to deal with the outbreak of this pandemic.

Council speaker Nceba Ndikinda urged all communities in the district to ensure that they no longer used indoor venues for funerals, saying such venues were a “recipe for disaster”.

Ndikinda said residents had to consider the pandemic as “very serious” and had to do their utmost to prevent it spreading further.

“We should not become another Italy,” he said.

He said as part of the guidelines adopted by council, only close family members should be allowed to attend such gatherings.

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