KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Sihle Zikalala, has reassured members of the Diplomatic Corps that the provincial government is committed to building a sustainable and developmental province through job creation and ensuring the economic recovery of the province.
Zikalala was speaking during a high-level engagement with members of the Diplomatic Corps from over 17 countries, which include some economic powerhouses in both the continent and the world.
Premier Zikalala also recommitted to strengthening relations with individual members of the Consular Corp but also with the respective governments of the various countries, they represent.
“We meet at a time which we believe is a season of hope and optimism notwithstanding the number of challenges that we face on various fronts. The world as we had known it some 22-years ago has been turned on its head.
“We are now in a world which is characterised by shifting geopolitical currents, a few years from now social scientists will theorise about how COVID-19 has radically altered the conventional world view that we have enjoyed before. We wish to highlight that climate change continues to change the living environments in the world and so does COVID-19,” Zikalala said.
He added that both climate change and COVID-19 know no borders or boundaries.
“The collective wisdom of scientists from Africa to Europe from Asia to America have come together to give us hope and guarantee that the set of vaccines that have been developed will help to mitigate the effects of COVID-19,” the Premier said.
In response to the COVID-19 fourth wave, Zikalala said that the provincial government is hard at work to ensure that all citizens get vaccinated through the massive roll-out of the Siyagoma WayaWaya Campaign, as well as the Vooma Vaccination programme.
“We are working hard as government to dispel the propaganda against vaccinations. We are grateful that two critical sectors have come on board to help us encourage people to go out and get vaccinated, these include the religious sector and the traditional leadership,” he said.
The Premier also reflected on the provincial government’s economic recovery plan to deal with the impact of COVID-19 and the July civil unrest.
“We have characterised the July civil unrest as backward acts that hinder and undermine progress that we have made thus far which resulted in job losses and the downfall of the economy, and we are working hard to resuscitate the economy.
“We are supporting companies that were affected through relief from national government as well as the initiatives of the province where certain sectors will be supported through loans or special grants as part of the relief efforts,” Zikalala said.