SEKHUKHUNE – With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in the province, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo last week announced that it would request MEC Phophi Ramathuba to provide a detailed plan to contain the cases.
The DA said the large increases of COVID-19 cases had left many concerns about the province’s capacity and readiness to contain the surge in cases.
On Friday 15 January 2020, when the party issued a statement, Limpopo had 10 137 active cases and 702 deaths. Almost half of the new tests conducted – 49.3 percent – were positive and the province as a whole had a cumulative positivity rate of 23.3 percent.
According to the party, one of the major concerns the province is currently facing is the difficulty in procuring sufficient oxygen for Limpopo’s healthcare facilities. This, coupled with the poor enforcement of COVID-19 protocols at funerals and taxi ranks, continues to play a role in the spread of the virus among members of the public. Plans to address the two areas have been alluded to but no real detail has been given.
MEC Ramathuba announced in a media briefing by Limpopo Provincial COVID-19 Command Council (LPCCC) on Thursday, 14 January 2020, that there was still sufficient bed space for patients under investigation, high care and intensive care patients.
The DA said there was, however, a real concern of how long it would last as cases increased on a daily basis and private hospitals lacked capacity as it was.
MEC Ramathuba also announced plans to appoint doctors, nurses, cleaners and porters in the near future. The DA said but the MEC did not offer any detailed information of the timelines involved, exact numbers of staff to be hired and how much it would cost the province.
Risham Maharaj, DA Limpopo Spokesperson for health, said Premier Chupu Mathabatha committed to hold fortnightly meetings with the leadership of opposition parties represented in the Limpopo legislature but had failed to do so.
Maharaj said the Premier last held the meeting in the middle of 2020 and kept opposition political leadership in the dark since then.
The party said MEC Ramathuba and her department needed to be transparent and provide a detailed plan with timelines, costing and well outlined strategies to contain the virus as well as address the concerns around Limpopo’s COVID-19 response.