Here's the Cape Town lockdown lowdown from mayor Dan Plato

26 March 2020 - 19:40 By TimesLIVE
Cape Town mayor Dan Plato briefed the city's four million people on Thursday about how city council services would be delivered during the three-week Covid-19 lockdown.
Cape Town mayor Dan Plato briefed the city's four million people on Thursday about how city council services would be delivered during the three-week Covid-19 lockdown.
Image: GroundUp/Ashraf Hendricks

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato issued a lengthy statement on Thursday about how the three-week lockdown will affect services the city council provides for four million people.

It covers clinics, safety and security, waste removal, water and sanitation, electricity, transport, cemeteries, finance, vehicle registration, housing, informal settlement, homeless people, council facilities, fleet management and municipal courts.

Plato also provided contact numbers and details of digital channels.

“I request all residents to please comply with the lockdown. Restrict commuting to urgent trips only. Do not leave your house unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. The less contact we have with one another during this time, the better,” said the mayor.

“These measures are drastic, and will have a huge impact on our lives. However, we must do all we can to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities against the deadly Covid-19 pandemic. Working together, we will be safer.

“Stay home as much as possible. Implement social distancing. Don’t shake hands. Don’t hug or kiss. Wash hands often with soap and water. Don’t touch your face. Be safe.”

Here are the details

The City of Cape Town is primed to continue delivering essential services to residents during the three-week lockdown that takes effect at midnight.

However, we have had to institute mitigation measures to ensure that we operate within the framework of the lockdown, as set out by the president in his address to the nation earlier this week, and that we abide by the hygiene and social-distancing protocols that have been advanced since the virus was first detected in South Africa.

The city would therefore like the public to take note of the following arrangements that have been put in place:

City clinics

Clinics across the city will still operate for the collection of medication and for primary health care services.

When visiting a clinic, all patients are required to maintain social distancing and ensure that they make use of the provided hand-sanitiser.

The City of Cape Town, in conjunction with the metro district health service, is looking at various ways in which to reduce the number of clients presenting at health facilities.

A number of initiatives have already been undertaken, while others are in the pipeline. These include:

  • Increasing chronic medication packs to last for two months — and three months in some instances;
  • Establishing quick pickup points for medication outside the clinic;
  • Nurses giving medication for minor ailments from the consulting rooms to lighten the load on the facility pharmacies;
  • Where possible, home deliveries of medication by community health workers of NGO partners;
  • Spacing/postponing non-essential follow-up appointments;
  • Installation of tents where clients will be triaged before they enter the facility; and
  • Educating the community at large on the importance of social distance.

We urge the communities to understand the inevitable delays resulting from the implementation of these new measures. Ultimately, we require the public’s assistance during the lockdown period and we urge residents to please only visit their clinic if they are in urgent need of medical care.

Safety and security

The safety and security operations during the lockdown will continue with key departments geared to protect citizens, property and the city’s emergency response teams.

The Cape Town traffic service and law enforcement operations will remain operational during this time. Additionally, the fire and rescue services will remain operational.

We continue to request that all residents adhere to the lockdown regulations to ensure the safety of themselves and other residents.

The metropolitan police service during this time will work with our national security forces, the SA Police Service (SAPS) and South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to monitor and enforce strict adherence to the guidelines outlined by the president during the 21-day lockdown.

The disaster operations centre will be activated and run 24 hours a day during this period, acting as a central information point to communicate swiftly with the public during emergencies.

This centre plays an essential role in co-ordinating and integrating multiple emergency services and other essential services to ensure that these organisations work together, to ensure effective response and recovery from disasters.

The city’s 107 operation centre will remain open during this period. The city reminds the public to please save the number for the public emergency communication centre on their cellphones.

The number to dial in the event of an emergency is 107 (landline) or 021 480 7700 (cellphone)

In addition, city emergency and policing vehicles have started loud hailing across areas communicating the lockdown and disseminating information on basic health and safety measures.

Waste removal

Every effort will be made to ensure collection of solid waste continues as normal, however this may be affected due to staff availability.

If services are affected, residents should please take their bin out every morning (preferably by 6.30am when trucks start clearing their beats) and taking it back in every night after 9pm until it is collected.

Current indications are that delays should not last for more than a week, and in most cases, backlogs will be cleared more quickly.

Impact to services going forward is difficult to predict at this stage. Residents should be aware that lower-income and higher-density areas are being prioritised due to increased risks of the disease spreading quickly in these areas.

In order to protect staff delivering this vital service, we will be ensuring that social distancing is practised and providing necessary protective equipment.

In addition, we request that all waste coming from a property where someone has been diagnosed with, or is showing symptoms of the Covid-19 virus, is double-bagged.

Residents are encouraged to submit service requests using the following channels:

Call 0860 103 089 (choose option 1 for solid waste and option 2 for water-related matters)

Online www.capetown.gov.za/servicerequests

Water and sanitation

Services such as water distribution, conveyance of wastewater and the management of all pump stations will carry on as in normal circumstances.

All aspects of bulk water treatment, conveyance and storage including operation, maintenance and repair of associated infrastructure as well as internal administrative support and quality management will remain fully operational.

The testing and sampling of water to ensure compliance with national standards and regulation by scientific services is deemed essential and will continue.

Meter management, and support relating to leak detection, pressure management and emergency protocols relating to pollution and spills will continue.

Meter reading will be suspended for the period of lockdown and affected residents will receive estimated accounts, based on their normal consumption.

Residents can still submit service requests related to:

  • Burst mains;
  • No water at a property;
  • Stolen meter;
  • Water quality complaints;
  • Sewer blockages/overflows;
  • Pump station faults/overflows;
  • Servicing of septic tanks; and
  • Missing/stolen manhole covers.

Residents are encouraged to submit service requests using the following channels:

Call 0860 103 089 (choose option 1 for solid waste and option 2 for water-related matters)

For water matters, please e-mail water@capetown.gov.za or SMS 31373 (max of 160 characters)

Online www.capetown.gov.za/servicerequests

Electricity 

The only service that will continue to be offered will be first-line response to network faults and breakdowns.

Repairs that are imperative from a safety perspective will be prioritised. Repairs on street lights will be done only if, after an assessment, it is deemed a safety risk for the community or electricity staff.

For faults and emergencies please send an SMS to 31220, or e-mail power@capetown.gov.za or faultreport.centre@capetown.gov.za

Customers can buy prepaid electricity via their cellphones or online. Please register on one of the following websites first:

  • Electricity.co.za (EFT)
  • Prepaid24.co.za (EFT, receive token via SMS and e-mail)
  • Power24.co.za (EFT, receive token via SMS and e-mail)
  • EasyPay (Credit cards)
  • ibuy (Credit cards)
  • Ontec (Credit cards)

Customers who cannot use online or cellphone options should be able to purchase electricity units from retailers offering this service.

No on-site meter readings will be done during this period. Billings will be based on estimations done over the lockdown period compared to the usage over the same period in 2019.

After the lockdown period, normal billing procedures will resume.

To submit your own reading:

Register on www.capetown.gov.za/Cityconnect to insert a reading

Read your own meter on a regular basis and send a photo of the meter reading by e-mail to Electricity.MeterReading@capetown.gov.za or phone 021 444 6286/8432/8478/1554 or 0860 103 089 to give your meter reading

Transport

A reduced MyCiTi bus service will continue to operate throughout the lockdown period. The city will continue with its rigorous cleaning regime and safety protocols.

In order to align to national regulations and requirements to maintain social-distancing, buses will accommodate up to 50% of their passenger capacity.

The transport management centre will remain operational to respond to any incidents on the city’s road network. The maintenance and operations of the city’s traffic signal network will continue.

Teams responsible for the maintenance and repair of the major arterial roads will remain operational.

Please note that customer requests relating to the road network, including pothole repairs, will only be responded to if urgent and essential.

Commuters must please take note of the following:

The MyCiTi service

  • The service will continue operating to transport health workers, other workers for essential businesses and services, and those who need to procure essentials — food, medicine, and social grants;
  • The number of trips will be reduced, and only the express stations will be open during the lockdown: Atlantis, Melkbos, Sandown, Porterfield, Table View, Racecourse, Woodbridge, Woodstock, Civic Centre, V&A Waterfront, Omuramba, and Century City, Wood, Gardens and Adderley;
  • Passengers can board and alight at all bus stops by waving the driver down;
  • Normal weekday peak and off-peak fares will apply to the reduced service; and
  • The MyCiTi buses will operate according to the Sunday schedule once the lockdown is in effect

The buses will be allowed to carry only half of its passenger capacity. Buses and stations will be cleaned regularly, and in accordance with the requirements relating to Covid-19. MyCiTi personnel and commuters must please adhere to the health safety measures, in particular, as it relates to social distancing and personal hygiene.

The City will monitor the use of the service during the lockdown, and may review or amend the operations if needed.

Commuters can visit the MyCiTi website for regular updates; use the MyCiTi app, or follow us on Twitter @MyCiTiBus; or phone the 24/7 transport information centre on 0800 65 64 63.

Golden Arrow Bus Service (GABS)

GABS will provide transport services during the lockdown. The provincial covernment and GABS will provide more information about the services in due course.

Dial-a-Ride 

The city’s Dial-a-Ride will keep  operating but only to transport users to hospitals or clinics for general health related consultations, and to procure medicine and collect grants. Those who are providing essential services will be transported to work. Bookings must be done in advance, as is currently the case.

Any user who suspects that he or she may have contracted Covid-19 must call the hotline for assistance and must be transported by an ambulance to get tested, or for medical treatment.

Minibus taxis

Minibus taxis may only operate between 5am and 9am, and from 4pm to 8pm. They will be allowed to transport people who provide essential services, and other passengers to buy food and medicine, and collect their grants. The vehicles may only carry half of their passenger capacity and must be sanitised inside and out as often as possible.

The city will increase safety and security and cleaning services at the busiest public transport interchanges during the lockdown. No operator will be allowed to transport commuters for any other reason.

E-hailing and metered taxis

Taxis may only operate between 5am and 9am, and from 4pm to 8pm. They will be allowed to transport people who provide essential services, and passengers to buy food and medicine, and collect their grants. At most, the vehicles may only carry half of their  passenger capacity, and must be sanitised inside and out as often as possible.

No operator will be allowed to transport commuters for any other reason.

Long-distance buses

All long-distance bus services will be suspended during the national lockdown. This is in alignment with the national government’s prohibitions on movement.

Commuters must please take note that nobody will be allowed to travel between provinces once the lockdown is in effect — be it by bus, minibus-taxi, or in a private vehicle.

Trains

Metrorail will suspend the passenger rail service and as such, no trains will be operating during the lockdown.

Cemeteries

Cemeteries will remain operational as an essential service, on condition that the following strict conditions are adhered to:

  • The cemetery booking offices will, with immediate effect, only accept electronic e-mail submission of mandatory documents. No burial will be allowed without all mandatory documents, including proof of payment having been received 24 hours before burial;
  • All original documents for information affidavits which are submitted electronically will need to be held in safekeeping by the undertakers, should these be required at a future date;
  • In-person visits to the cemetery booking offices by members of the public, undertakers and stonemasons are suspended until further notice;
  • No memorial permits, exhumation permits nor confirmation of burial certificates will be issued during the lockdown period;
  • Cemeteries will accommodate burials, subject to ongoing national directives which may impose further restrictions;
  • From Friday March 27, all attendance will be strictly limited to immediate family only. A maximum of 50 people including undertakers and staff per burial;
  • Social distancing guidelines must be strictly adhered to at all times at cemeteries;
  • Time spent at the graveside will be limited to a maximum of 30 minutes;
  • Strict limitations on number of burials per day and adherence to timeslots will be enforced to avoid compromising social distancing guidelines'
  • Cemetery officials will be limited to operational hours only, with the exception of specific religions that require burial on the same day before sunset.

Finance

All cash offices will be closed, however customers can still make use of EFT and online options to pay their accounts.

Payments are crucial to enable the city to remain financially healthy and to continue providing services, while we all fight the Covid-19 pandemic together.

If you have any further enquiries or need assistance with the settlement of debt, reconnections or how to make payments, please phone 0860 103 089.

For indigent assistance please send an e-mail to indigent.relief@capetown.gov.za.

Please use the following convenient payment options:

Online at www.Easypay.co.za or www.payCity.co.za

By EFT by selecting the City of Cape Town as a bank-listed beneficiary on your bank's website. Use only your nine-digit municipal account number as reference

You may pay your account at Checkers, Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Spar and Woolworths while doing your essential lockdown shopping

Billings will be based on estimations to avoid huge bills when readings are finally done. Estimations will be done over the lockdown period and compared to the same period in 2019.

Invoices will not be printed and posted. Previous invoices could be used to pay an equivalent amount. Invoices could be e-mailed if customers request it via e-mail at copy.invoice@capetown.gov.za

Please use eServices or register for eServices for a host of online city services, including invoices or billing amounts. Go here or here.

Motor vehicle registration offices

The city’s motor vehicle registration and licensing offices are closed. Extensions will be granted and no penalties will apply over this lockdown period.

Housing

All housing offices will be closed to members of the public. Housing development projects will also be suspended to adhere to the national lockdown. Any engagements with consultants and contractors will be done telephonically or online.

Only emergency housing services, such as with public housing, will be continued in person with all necessary hygiene and social distancing Covid-19 requirements in place.

Should public housing tenants experience an emergency such as a burst water main or geyser, among others, please send a WhatsApp to 063 299 9927. Please provide the correct details to be assisted timeously.

Such emergency services will be the only service requests attended to. This includes:

  • Emergency electrical work;
  • Staircase and balustrade work;
  • Plumbing work (only emergency plumbing and drainage maintenance issues such as no water supply and blockages); and
  • Cleaning in areas with refuse huts

Housing database and maintenance queries can be sent by WhatsApp to 063 299 9927, by e-mail to housingdb@capetown.gov.za.

Rental payments can be made at Pick n Pay, Shoprite or Checkers.

Informal settlements

The city deems its basic service offering within informal settlements as critical services. It continues to provide basic and essential services to existing and historic settlements in accordance with the national standards where it is possible to do so.

The Western Cape government and national government departments as well as the city are working together to achieve enhanced Covid-19 measures for the most vulnerable groupings in society.

Therefore, the city is putting in place measures to ensure the continuation of service delivery within informal settlements through the means of:

  • Ongoing communication as to the city’s operational plans and educational information detailing the dangers of Covid-19 and the best means for combating it. Communication will be digital in form (across social media platforms and through bulk SMS);
  • Distribution of water supply via water tankers that will be allocated to specific informal settlements that do not have access to running water due to these being recently occupied through land invasion or where it is impossible to provide permanent services;
  • Ongoing collection of waste within informal settlements; and
  • Ongoing sanitation services within informal settlements

Homeless people

 Cape Town has roughly 6,000 homeless residents: 4,000 who sleep on the streets and 2,000 who make use of the city-facilitated night shelter offering.

The City of Cape Town is establishing temporary accommodation for all homeless residents during the national shutdown and for the immediate foreseeable future.

Paint City, in Bellville, will be used for this purpose and will provide the city’s homeless with sanitation and electrical provision, and an opportunity to safely self-isolate in a protected environment.

The site will be made available to individuals, couples and families of the homeless. The site is an extension of a current city-owned site and the structures provided will be temporary in nature.

As such, following the completion of the Covid-19 pandemic, the site will revert to an alternate use. In the interim, the City will need to determine a sustainable solution to addressing homelessness within Cape Town.

Facilities management

City facilities which support the delivery of critical services, such as health, safety and security, water and sanitation and waste collection will remain open to essential workers.

Servicing of these facilities continues despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, with increased health and safety actions (heightened sanitation of sites) to mitigate against the spread of the virus.

All other city facilities will remain closed throughout the duration of the lockdown. The facilities will be monitored by security services to prevent any vandalism or unlawful occupation.

Fleet management

The city’s fleet services have been reorganised to support critical service operations across the functions of the administration.

Fleet services will primarily support health and safety and security services, ensuring that maintenance and depot facilities will be available throughout the lockdown.

Fleet that supports ongoing basic services such as water and sanitation provision and waste removal will be accounted for, as will the ability to perform emergency maintenance on any of the fleet that suffer breakdowns.

Surplus fleet will be utilised to support the transport of critical staff to their various postings as well as in logistical undertakings of obtaining critical supplies and equipment.

Court services

The municipal courts will remain open and functional for matters that are set down for hearing. Once the matters for the day are concluded, the courts will close.

Restrictions on access to court buildings are, however, being enforced at all courts to comply with the recommended social-distancing rules.

Those who want to pay fines or warrants can only do so via www.paycity.co.za as no payments will be processed at the courts.


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