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ANC lambasted for breaching Covid-19 regulations during Polokwane rally

The ANC says everything went smoothly until the 'entertainment session' when the situation was beyond its control

12 November 2020 - 08:19 By zimasa matiwane
The SA Events Council (SAEC) has lambasted the ANC for failing to adhere to Covid-19 regulations
The SA Events Council (SAEC) has lambasted the ANC for failing to adhere to Covid-19 regulations
Image: Supplied

The ANC in Limpopo has come under fire for not adhering to Covid-19 safety regulations — and has been accused of jeopardising the already hard-hit events industry.

This follows a Siyanqoba rally held in Polokwane on Sunday, where the party was said to have flouted Covid-19 restrictions. The regional ANC admitted to TimesLIVE that the situation was beyond its control during the “entertainment session” of the event.

The SA Events Council (SAEC) expressed extreme concern and disappointment.

“Video footage shows thousands of attendees flouting social distancing regulations, the majority of whom are without masks. We are all aware that events like these create the perfect environment for the super-spreader event — a major contributor to a viral 'second wave' — that the government and civil society are concerned about,” SAEC’s Robyn D'Alessandro said.

SAEC accused organisers of hosting the event without any consideration to the safety of those attending.

It said that the event organisers broke a number of laws under lockdown level 1.

SAEC has reached out to the necessary authorities, both provincially and nationally, to determine what went wrong and how this was allowed to happen.

“The SAEC has been working tirelessly to ensure that the events and exhibitions industry only hosts events aligned with government regulations and World Health Organisation (WHO) advisories during the Covid-19 pandemic in SA. Our members have engaged with the government on the protocols required to reopen events safely and through the event safety council, we have written and published event reopening guidelines on what one needs to do to hold safe events while Covid-19 is prevalent.

“Yet safety regulations are still being ignored, not only by the event organisers of the ANC Siyanqoba rally but by many other organisations across the country. Despite assurances that non-compliant events will be closed down, and that those contravening the regulations would be brought to book, policing by the relevant authorities seems to have all but disappeared under alert level 1,” D'Alessandro said.

SAEC warned that the threat of events contributing to the virus' resurgence must be taken seriously by the government, event organisers, venues and attendees alike.

“We have no choice other than to continue to work towards the safe reopening of our industry,” D'Alessandro said.

ANC Peter Mokaba region spokesperson Jimmy Machaka said preparations were for 500 people to attend and that social distancing was observed and everyone was sanitised and wearing masks.

“Unfortunately, during the entertainment session a lot of people began to come to the venue and the situation was beyond our control. The weekend attendance is regrettable and it was impractical to turn members of society away,” said Machaka.