Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has shot down calls by opposition parties in Parliament on Wednesday for the national government to take over the running of the Eastern Cape for failing to contain the spread of Covid-19.
MPs said the Eastern Cape provincial Department of Health has failed to manage the Covid-19 disease with numbers surging but there were no plans and facilities to deal with the crisis.
They warned that by next week the Covid-19 infections would hit the 100 000 mark. They said the state of healthcare has collapsed and the national government must take over the province.
Mkhize said they would not invoke Section 100 of the Constitution and take over the running of the Eastern Cape.
He said the province was no different to other provinces where he had sent in reinforcement teams to strengthen the fight against Covid-19.
He said he had sent teams to the Western Cape, Free State and Gauteng to help deal with the coronavirus.
Mkhize said all provinces needed intervention from the national government.
“I have sent reinforcement to the Free State, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Gauteng. Everyone needed support. To call for Section 100 for the Eastern Cape is premature. I have not written to the Eastern Cape in terms of Section 100(a) to say you have not done so. They are no different to other provinces. The members must be aware that we are aware of this as a possibility but we are far from it,” said Mkhize.
The EFF, DA and Freedom Front Plus had on Wednesday, during the presentation of the report by the Eastern Cape provincial health department, called for action against the province for not containing the spread of the virus.
They said the province appeared not to have done adequate preparation during the hard lockdown, when the numbers were still low, to ensure it was ready during the peak of Covid-19.