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Failure to test more people tantamount to premeditated murder - EC premier Mabuyane

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane.
Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane.

Failure to test as many people as possible for Covid-19 because they wanted to have low numbers of positive cases would be “tantamount to premeditated murder”, premier Oscar Mabuyane told the Eastern Cape legislature yesterday.

Mabuyane was addressing a virtual legislature sitting that deliberated on reports after portfolio committees had public participation meetings late in 2019 and early this year.

He said they had screened more than 500,000 people and tested almost 14,000, with 630 confirmed positive for the virus, while 46 people had recovered by Wednesday night because they had embarked on a mass screening and testing campaign.

Mabuyane said testing positive for Covid-19 was “not a death sentence”.

“These numbers are not consistent with the narrative out there that we are failing in the war against this invisible enemy,” he said.

“We have been proactive and if testing as many people as possible means our positive cases will continue going up, so be it.

“Failure to test people because you fear positive cases will be high is tantamount to premeditated murder. We value human life, hence we will continue testing people so that those who test positive will get the medical treatment they need.”

Mabuyane described the coronavirus as a “moving target”.

Defending embattled health MEC Sindiswa Gomba as calls for her removal have been mounting since her andidikwe  [fed-up] comments during a virtual press briefing with health minister Zweli Mkhize on Tuesday night, Mabuyane said Gomba and her team had been leading from the front and not “from the comfort of their own homes”.

The easing of the national lockdown from level 5 to 4 from Friday would be done under strict conditions, which included high law enforcement visibility, he said.

He also announced that former health MEC Dr Monwabisi Goqwana and former superintendent-general Dr Siva Pillay had been roped in to provide clinical services in OR Tambo, Nelson Mandela Bay and Sarah Bartmaan.

Mabuyane also told MPLs that the provincial government supported finance minister Tito Mboweni’s call for employees to be biased towards South Africans when filling unskilled labour positions.

“Our allegiance is to South Africans. Our skilled brothers and sisters from the continent will continue competing for scarce skills positions,” he said.

Get the full story at HeraldLIVE.