Disaster Volunteers could soon be tackling queues of death across Eastern Cape

Issued by Bobby Stevenson, MPL
Shadow MEC for Safety and Security

The use of disaster management volunteers to assist with implementing social distancing amidst the current queues of death, could soon be a reality, after a motion tabled by the Democratic Alliance in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature was accepted.

Today I tabled a motion with notice, during a virtual sitting of the Provincial Legislature, wherein I requested that the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) engage with municipalities in regard to the recruitment and appointment of disaster risk management volunteers, so that lives may be saved in the Eastern Cape.

Download: Notice of Motion

This follows after horrifying pictures of people squashed together while lining up for either grants, food parcels or outside shops, illustrating that there is a complete lack of control, discipline and strategy.

These queues can potentially become super spreaders of the COVID-19 virus and end up becoming queues of death.

Municipalities are empowered to use disaster management volunteers in terms of chapter 7 of the Disaster Risk Management Act. These disaster risk management volunteers should be able to explain, engage, and encourage social distancing in the various queues that one finds throughout the province.

In the City of Cape Town over 400 disaster management volunteers are in operation, which have all been recruited from community structures. Municipalities in the Eastern Cape need to urgently follow suit.

The Speaker, Helen Sauls-August, immediately put the motion to the House, where it was carried and has now been referred the relevant portfolio committee to action.