Cape Town Time:


Cape Town’s COVID-19 team recognised as global team of the year

7 February 2021

The City of Cape Town’s COVID-19 Crisis Coordinating Team has been named the Apolitical Global Public Service Team of the Year in the category: COVID-19 Rapid Responders.

The award formed part of the Apolitical Public Service Awards, which recognises and celebrates innovative, ground-breaking public service teams globally. The City of Cape Town won the category after receiving votes from peers in various government administrations around the world.

Leading the City’s COVID-19 response

Apolitical, a global learning platform for government, received hundreds of applications for this award. The City of Cape Town was one of a small number of finalists in the COVID-19 Rapid Responders category. Other finalists for this category included public service teams within government sectors from Australia, Chile, Canada, Togo, and the Ukraine.

Having our COVID-19 Crisis Coordinating Team recognised as the global public service team of the year by various public servants around the world, is a great achievement for the administration.

“This award reflects the calibre of public servants we have on our teams and how we were able to pull together our expertise and experience in responding to the greatest crisis our city has ever faced. It was a truly transversal effort that guided our response to the pandemic in 2020, one that would not have been possible without this strong crisis coordinating team,” said Councillor Theresa Uys, Chairperson of the City’s Corporate Services Portfolio Committee.

Over the past 10 months, every resident has been impacted by COVID-19 and municipalities across the globe had to respond to the crisis as effectively and strategically as possible.

Outstanding achievement

The award is in recognition of the COVID-19 response programme developed and implemented in 2020.

“We are proud of this outstanding team and all of the committed public servants who have served the residents of Cape Town throughout this devastating pandemic and who are still continuing to do so despite very difficult circumstances. I would like to pay tribute to all of the City staff who continue to serve with dedication, and to all of the colleagues whom we have lost along the way,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Corporate Services, Councillor Sharon Cottle.

A data-driven approach

The City implemented a data-driven approach in developing the COVID-19 response programme with innovative data products and the implementation of a high-calibre programme and project management. Adaptive management remained a key founding principle in the City’s response as the pandemic is multi-directional in nature. Operational responses at times had to be adapted almost on a weekly basis as the trajectory of the pandemic adjusted.

Some of the team’s major achievements included:

  • the production of a number of high quality data products for decision-makers;
  • the fatalities management contingency plan;
  • the building of extensions at 38 clinics to promote social distancing; and
  • the risk and resilience products to manage the dynamic nature of the pandemic that manifested as both a health and an economic shock to the city

The team maintained rigorous records and up to date reports of high standards to equip all role players with the necessary data for forward planning at all times.

The Pandemic Business Continuity Committee will exist until the end of the declared disaster, the City has announced.

Looking ahead, scenarios for recovery have been endorsed by the City’s leadership and the City’s Mayoral Committee. Many of the tools that have been developed thus far will guide the municipality’s priorities in its response to the future trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic.