OPINION | Ballito Rage: Vaccine passports are the way to go if we're serious about the fight against Covid-19
The “no vaccine, no entry” policy implemented by the organisers of the Ballito Rage festival demonstrates their dedication to the fight against Covid-19.
Last year, the festival was identified as a superspreader event after nearly 1,000 Covid-19 cases were linked to it. Yet, for anti-vaxxers, this is not a strong enough reason to implement the vaccine passport. Some have tried to turn this into something it's not - an attempt to force people to vaccinate.
Of course, no-one is forced to vaccinate as much as no-one is mandated to attend the event. But those who choose to attend should be open to following the rules of the event organisers.
Critics fail to recognise that while they have the right to refuse the jab, businesses equally have the responsibility to ensure the safety of people they allow into their premises, even if that means implementing vaccine passports.
The entertainment industry has largely been out of business for 15 months. If a vaccine passport is what will help it survive and thrive, then so be it.
With everyone over the age of 18 encouraged - not forced - to take the jab, it is only fair for anyone who wants to attend a public event of this magnitude to get jabbed.
There are fears that the vaccine passports will not work because they will be sold fraudulently to unvaccinated people.
This is a possibility, but it doesn't mean the system shouldn't be implemented, or that the law will not take its course against those individuals.
We can never fully anticipate all the challenges that will come with implementing these measures, but we will get it right as we go.
What is important is that we prevent, as best as possible, a situation where the lives of thousands are put at risk without a plan to protect them.
It's concerning that people would go to the extreme of buying fake vaccine passports instead of getting jabbed.
Last year, the event organisers found that at least two people attended the event having recently tested positive for Covid-19.
They gave false information to gain access to the festival, putting nearly 1,000 lives at risk and contributing to the peak of the second wave of infections.
This happened despite the organisers of Ballito Rage submitting an 86-page document on its Covid-19 plan and committing to comply with more than 20 regulations before obtaining approval to host the event.
Without vaccine passports, is it really possible to prevent what happened last year?
The entertainment, tourism and other industries have largely been out of business for 15 months. If a vaccine passport is what will help it survive and save millions of jobs, then so be it.