WATCH | Sports minister Mthethwa: Fans will need a jab to enter stadiums

08 September 2021 - 16:39 By Marc Strydom
Sport, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa receives his jab at the launch of a vaccination campaign at FNB Stadium on September 8, 2021. The ministry of sports, arts and culture launched the vaccination campaign using its unique position to galvanise support for vaccinations through the country's sporting and creative industries.
Sport, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa receives his jab at the launch of a vaccination campaign at FNB Stadium on September 8, 2021. The ministry of sports, arts and culture launched the vaccination campaign using its unique position to galvanise support for vaccinations through the country's sporting and creative industries.
Image: Gallo Images/Lefty Shivambu

The government aims to harness the public’s desire to return to sports stadiums and arts, cultural and music events to galvanise support for its Covid-19 vaccination drive, deputy president David Mabuza said on Wednesday.

Sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa could not give a timeline on a return of fans to sports stadiums and music concerts. Speaking at the launch of the government’s “Return to Play — it’s in your hands” campaign at 2010 World Cup final venue FNB Stadium on Wednesday , the message from Mabuza and Mthethwa was clear — that such outcomes depend on as many South Africans being vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Mthethwa clarified that when fans return to stadiums and events, vaccination will be a prerequisite.

As the government embarks on a programme to combat vaccine hesitancy, and stepping up a door-to-door and pop-up venue drive, Mabuza pointed to international examples of fans being back at stadiums and events in countries with high vaccination rates.

He said by getting fans back in stadiums “our hope is to unlock the country and ensure that the creative industries and sporting economies return to some normality”.

“If we so desire to return to our stadiums, to our theatres, to our concerts, to our fashion shows, it lies with us to go out and mobilise our people, our communities, to vaccinate,” Mabuza, chair of the interministerial committee on Covid-19 vaccines, said.

“A vaccinated nation is what it will take to again open the stadiums for the popular Soweto derby we know, our Cape Town Jazz Festival, to go back to Macufe, the Joy of Jazz, the Durban July.

“A vaccinated nation is a very important milestone that will take us back to normality.”

Mthethwa was asked if he could reveal a timeline for supporters to return to sports stadiums.

“Back to play, it’s in your hands,” he said. “As we have been driving through the message here, it will depend on how many people have vaccinated.

“The time frame would be what their hands give all of us.”

Asked to clarify if vaccinations would be a prerequisite for fans to enter stadiums and events, he said: “Absolutely, yes. That’s the incentive actually. To go back to play, vaccinate.”

Mthethwa received his second vaccination jab live at the event. Famous Kaizer Chiefs fan Saddam Maake received his jab watched by Mabuza, Mthethwa and Gauteng Premier David Makhura at one of the pop-up vaccination tents set up inside the stadium for launch attendees.

Sports administrators, artists and sports stars spoke at the event, including SA Football Association president Danny Jordaan, SA Rugby president Mark Alexander, ex-Bafana Bafana star Siphiwe Tshabalala, and musicians Yvonne Chaka Chaka and DJ Tira.

The government has set a target of 38-million vaccinations by the end of December. By Wednesday 13.83-million South Africans had been vaccinated, according to the health ministry.


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