25 March 2020
STATEMENT BY EXECUTIVE MAYOR, ADV. GESIE VAN DEVENETR
For immediate release
This is an unprecedented time for our municipality, our nation and indeed the world. We welcome the announcement of a national lockdown and we recognise the massive impact this will have on our already fragile economy.
As a municipality, we have taken bold steps to reduce the economic impact on our residents, particularly our most vulnerable residents. An urgent council meeting took place today to approve an item that will provide support and assistance to our communities during this challenging time:
- A payment reprieve/holiday on property rates will be implemented from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020;
- No interest will be charged for property rates billed over this period (subject to criteria that will be made available on the municipal website);
- Free basic water allocation for indigent residents will be increased from 6 to 10 kilolitres per household from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020;
- A temporary suspension of all credit control measures and procedures will be implemented until the end of April 2020, meaning that all electricity meters that were blocked because of overdue accounts, will be unblocked and residents will be able to buy and upload electricity freely during this period.
Essential municipal services will continue during the lockdown period. This includes refuse removal, water, electricity, traffic, law enforcement and fire services. Councillors, administrative staff and all officials who are not directly responsible for essential or emergency services will be working from home.
As our resources and standby teams will be severely stretched and restricted over the lockdown period, we appeal to all residents to only report issues related to critical services and emergencies. Our control room and WhatsApp service line will remain fully operational.
Residents are encouraged to submit service requests using the following channels:
Phone (General): 021 808 8111
Phone: (24/7 emergency line) 021 808 8890
WhatsApp: 076 951 0768
We will continue to work with our National and Provincial partners to ensure that the regulations and measures announced by National Government are fully adhered to. This will include our Law Enforcement Department providing support to the South African Police Service.
We are fully aware that this is a challenging time and we urge all residents to give their full cooperation and adhere to the restrictions as announced and implemented by the national and provincial authorities. Restricting physical and social contact is essential in curbing the spread of the virus and we all have a responsibility to work together to reduce infections.
I would like to implore our communities to stay alert and to stay safe. Please take care of yourself and your family. Follow official government and media platforms for updates and alerts. There is no need to panic buy, there is no need for fear mongering and there is no need to spread fake news. Together, we can flatten the curve, restrict the spread and ultimately beat this virus to potentially save many lives.
Stuart Grobbelaar T: 021 808 8172 | C: 084 036 1395
Mart-Marié Haasbroek T: 021 808 8024 | C: 072 910 3724
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
When does the lockdown begin and end?
The lockdown will begin on the evening of Thursday 26 March 2020 at 23:59 and will remain in force for 21 days, ending at midnight on 16 April 2020.
Who is exempted from this lockdown?
- Health workers in the public and private sector
- Emergency personnel
- Security services – such as the police, traffic officers and military personnel.
- Any persons necessary for our response to the pandemic
- Citizens involved in the production, distribution and supply of food and basic goods and services, essential banking services, the maintenance of power, water and telecommunications services, laboratory services, and the provision of medical and hygiene products (pharmacists)
What will remain open/operational during the lockdown?
- Public and private hospitals and clinics
- Supermarkets (grocery stores)
- Petrol stations
- Social grant distribution points (including ATMs, retail point of sale devices, Post Offices and cash pay points)
- The SAPS, metro police, municipal law enforcement, the military and emergency services
- Companies that are essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods and medical supplies will remain open
Can I leave my house?
Residents are encouraged to stay indoors and practice social distancing. However, this is a lockdown and not a shutdown. People may leave their houses to buy groceries and important supplies, visit a doctor or pharmacy, get petrol, collect a social grant or visit the bank.
Can I walk my dog?
You are allowed to take your dog on a walk but should avoid congregating in groups.
Can I visit a nature reserve or the beach?
No – reserves and beaches are closed. Please stay in your homes.
What should I do if I think I’m infected?
Immediately contact the dedicated COVID-19 hotlines and await instructions:
- National Hotline: 0800 029 999
- Provincial Hotline: 021 9284102
- WhatsApp: 0600 123 456
- Stay connected via the phone, social media or email.
- Maintain your networks and speak to friends or family regularly.
- Keep doing enjoying and relaxing activities.
- Stay informed by getting the facts, not rumors or fake news.
- Engage children in your care in creative ways; develop fun learning activities, play games and try to keep their daily routine going.
- Stay active by doing simple exercises within your home or garden.
- Create an exercise plan specifically to suit your environment.
- Social distancing is imperative during the lockdown period – keep a distance of at least 1.5 meter between you and the next person, do not shake hands or hug when greeting one another, minimize physical contact.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Sanitize your hands and surfaces with an effective sanitizing product.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw it away after use.