City ready for lockdown, residents will have to 'aggressively' change behaviour
With just over 24 hours to go until South Africans go into lockdown for 21 days, Pippa Hudson gets an update on the City of Cape Town's preparations from Alderman JP Smith.
The Mayco Member for Safety and Security emphasizes that the City is fully behind the lockdown.
It's the only sane thing to do... Where countries have prevaricated, they're now seeing the consequences thereof, so the state president is right to effect a lockdown.JP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety and Security - City of Cape Town
While he understands it takes a while for people to change their habits, they will "aggressively" have to change their behaviour says Smith.
The Mayco member relates what he witnessed on an information drive through the Cape Flats on Wednesday:
I've just spent the last couple of hours driving around with metro police and disaster management and the other services all over the Cape Flats loudhailing to communities about the lockdown and about the virus and there's very little behaviour change going on at the moment.JP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety and Security - City of Cape Town
He says from what he saw, people are going about their business as usual.
Shebeens are open; people are sitting down; kids are playing in the street; people are out in masses at shopping centres; are engaging on the streets; walking together...JP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety and Security - City of Cape Town
He adds that driving through the Camps Bay strip by night last week he was perplexed to see that many people are just not getting the message.
On the positive side though, during this morning's Cape Flats drive-through many residents did approach them with questions and he believes that with enough repetition Capetonians will begin to take the advised precautions on board.
With regards to the effect of the lockdown on services in the City, Smith emphasized that essential services will not be interrupted.
Those employees still at work are also implementing hygiene regulations.
In view of this, driver's license testing centres are being closed as eye-testing staff cannot limit their proximity to applicants.
Where basic services need to be rendered around water, electricity and the City's emergency and policing services, their staff will work without pause and in fact more staff are being brought on board.JP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety and Security - City of Cape Town
Staff are getting out of spaces where there are perhaps less essential things for them to do and being repurposed to do the most important things. For us at the moment that's around behaviour change in the safety and security space, just to get people to self-regulate better.JP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety and Security - City of Cape Town
He says the final schedule is expected later today, when residents will be able to get the details of exactly what business are exempt from closing.
Regarding access to pre-paid electricity, he points out that grocery stores will be open where electricity can be purchased. In any case, it is of course much simpler to do this task online.
Residents whose water has been cut off (or rather "reduced to a trickle") due to defaulting on payments will be reconnected, but this will take time he says.
Garbage collection will continue as usual for obvious hygiene reasons.
Smith says the City will be providing further clarification in general when finer details are finalised.
For more information, listen to the interview in the audio below:
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