KZN premier lays down the law against those attending 'superspreader' events

08 December 2020 - 12:08
By orrin singh AND Orrin Singh
Matric Rage partygoers are now regarded as contacts who were potentially exposed to the virus. File photo from a previous year's event.
Image: Shelley Christians Matric Rage partygoers are now regarded as contacts who were potentially exposed to the virus. File photo from a previous year's event.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala has issued a stern warning to those planning to attend or host superspreader events.

In a statement on Tuesday, Zikalala appealed to parents and pupils not to organise or take part in celebrations in the province which flout current Covid-19 safety protocols and endanger lives.

“We again wish to warn all those who intend to hold such events that this is against the regulations and we will not hesitate to apply the full extent and might of the law to deal with any such transgressions wherever they occur.” 

Zikalala expressed the sentiments after the news which TimesLIVE broke at the weekend about an influx in requests for Covid-19 tests among matriculants who attended Rage parties in Ballito and Durban between November 27 and December 4.

“Most of these gatherings young people gather in large groups, others indulge in alcohol binges and other wanton activities. We want to reiterate that these are 'superspreader' activities which endanger the lives of young people and expose them and ultimately all those around them to the coronavirus.

“We wish to warn all our learners against holding events such as Rage and others known as 'throw the pen away' [pens down] after-parties.”

On Sunday health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize identified the 2020 Ballito Rage festival as a superspreader event as a dozens of attendees and staff members tested positive for Covid-19.

The following day Rage organisers postponed all events planned for 2020 and 2021 until further notice

Prof Salim Abdool Karim, infectious disease epidemiologist and co-chair of the Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee, said he was aware of at least 92 positive cases among those who attended rage events.

Zikalala said the provincial government is aware that similar events to mark the end of schooling are also scheduled in various parts of the province including parks and so-called “underground” venues.

“All these large gatherings which involve excessive consumption of alcohol are characterised by risky behaviour and pose a real threat to the national effort to fight the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.

“We expect parents to play a leading role in guiding their children to celebrate this important milestone in their lives in a responsible manner that will ensure that the children are safe to enter the next stage of their lives after matric.”