Ramaphosa's trip to Western Cape off after premier goes into quarantine
President Cyril Ramaphosa has cancelled his visit to the Western Cape on Friday after premier Alan Winde was forced to place himself in Covid-19 quarantine.
Winde said he had a one-on-one interview last Thursday with eNCA cameraman Lungile Tom, whose death from Covid-19 was announced on Wednesday.
"Because [I was] in close range for some time, I am deemed a close contact and will now self-quarantine," said Winde.
"It has been nearly seven days since our contact, and I will therefore go into self-quarantine for another seven days.
"I have been in contact with the president to alert him to this situation, as he was due to visit the province on Friday. The president has agreed to reschedule his visit given this development, and we thank him for his understanding."
Ramaphosa's visit was announced on Saturday after health minister Zweli Mkhize met Winde and senior members of the team fighting Covid-19 in the Western Cape, the worst-hit province with more than half SA's confirmed cases.
Winde said he had been saddened by news of Tom's death. "Lungile was a regular fixture at many Western Cape government events and was well respected and liked by members of the Western Cape cabinet and the entire Western Cape communications team," he said.
"We send our condolences to his family and to his colleagues today. He will be missed."
The premier said eNCA told provincial officials on Wednesday that Tom had been the cameraman at a digital news conference last Thursday.
Lungile Marawa Tom. I am going to miss you, more than you will ever know. Your words of inspiration and encouragement. Your direction and conversation. Your laughter and your hugs. Your chirps and good smell and great sense of dress. I LOVE YOU MY MA SE KIND 🙏🏽❤️😭 #eNCA #RIP pic.twitter.com/NrKWsCzcdF— Justin Ford (@JustinFordZA) May 13, 2020
"These digicons have been held digitally with the express purpose of ensuring that physical distancing can occur. Only a few television journalists are invited to attend in order to broadcast these news announcements," said Winde.
"We also have strict hygiene protocols in place, with touch points sanitised, and everyone who entered the room was temperature-screened and wearing a mask on the day.
"For this reason and on advice from the specialists, most of the attendees have been deemed casual contacts and not close contacts."
All Western Cape government staff members who were in the room were being screened, he said. "Should any of them require testing, in terms of our established protocols, this will be arranged.
"Members of the public should be reassured that I have not experienced any symptoms associated with Covid-19 - but if I do, I will have a test performed straight away.
"I will continue to work full steam ahead from home. Because of our developed systems, I can continue to join all meetings, and will be overseeing our new hotspot-targeted strategy.
"I really want to thank eNCA for taking a proactive approach in handling this matter, even at a time when they were grieving the loss of their colleague.
"This is what every person and company should do in such an instance. This is how we slow the spread and flatten the curve."