South Africa: Western Cape's Big Question - How to Save Both Lives and Livelihoods?


Can you choose lives or livelihoods in a province with the highest number of Covid-19 cases in SA? While Western Cape coronavirus cases keep rising, the province is dealing with several issues: economics, public health emergency and now, a testing backlog that has forced the province to choose who to test in the City of Cape Town.

There is no binary choice between health and economics, said Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo on Thursday afternoon during a virtual sitting of the provincial legislature, at which questions and debates centred on one key theme: lives or livelihoods - should we choose one, or both?

Western Cape has the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 27,006 cases confirmed and 651 deaths recorded by late on Thursday 4 June. Since the start of virtual sittings of the legislature and within its committees, Covid-19 is the one topic that constantly comes up. On Thursday afternoon, the discussion topic was: "The importance of preserving life whilst at the same time preserving livelihoods in the economy."

Mbombo stressed that whether lockdown or not, people should observe basic principles of handwashing, cough etiquette and staying home when feeling unwell.

"If the labour force is sick,...

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