Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa for clarity on the proper interpretation of the lockdown regulations, after Police Minister Bheki Cele lambasted the provincial administration for allowing the sale of cigarettes.
On Thursday, Cele urged businesses in the province "not to listen to people who tell them wrong things" after the Democratic Alliance-led province said on Wednesday that cigarettes could be bought at supermarkets, along with essential goods.
Winde said he was serious about co-operating with the national government in its efforts to fight Covid-19.
"I therefore called President Ramaphosa this morning to make clear that our concerns relate to the proper interpretation of the regulations, which are at times vague. Together with the national government, we want to apply a common sense approach to them that stops the spread, but also assists us with things like e-learning, for example," he said.
He pointed out that the debate was not only about cigarettes, but also whether data dongles and notebooks or pens for pupils were considered essential while schools were closed.
Winde, who thanked the president for his willingness to "help us and our residents get the clarity they need", will submit a list of issues which he believes require clarification, to the Minister of Cooperative Governance on Friday and a special President's Coordinating Council will be called on Saturday to discuss the regulations in particular, he said.
Regulations created 'to save lives'
During an inter-ministerial briefing on Thursday, Cele warned that police would crack down on businesses found selling cigarettes, saying the ban during the lockdown applied countrywide.
He warned that no matter where residents were, cigarette sales were not allowed and "that includes the Western Cape".
Winde said there had been debate about how regulations were being interpreted, especially relating to what one could buy at shops.
"I want to make something very clear: All of us have one clear objective in mind - and one only: to stop the spread of Covid-19, and to collectively, as a country, help save lives.
"We know that the regulations were created for this reason. And any clarifications or updates to them - which, considering how quickly we moved into lockdown is entirely normal - needs to be done with that ultimate aim in mind - to continue keeping us all safe."
He said the provincial government had shown its full support to the president and the lockdown, doing everything it could to help ensure the regulations are enforced.
"The regulations are however at times vague, and residents across the province are confused about what it means for them. We have tried to help with this interpretation, after consulting our legal team, and SAPS.
"We have done this only to provide the clarity many people need – so that they can abide by regulations properly. Everyone wants to play their part."