Mthethwa: Fans in sports stadiums low on priority list for opening economy
Minister of sport Nathi Mthethwa has indicated that allowing fans back into stadiums will be at the tail-end of the government’s process of fully opening up the economy.
On Wednesday in Cape Town‚ SA began administering the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to health workers‚ who were followed by President Cyril Ramaphosa and health minister Zweli Mkhize.
“The level we are in at the moment quite clearly shows that sport, arts and culture are sectors that work with multitudes of people and most definitely they will be at the tail-end of the entire process of opening up sectors of the economy‚” Mthethwa said in a media webinar dealing with governance issues at Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Friday morning.
Most sporting codes in the country returned to action late last year under strict health and safety protocols that were prescribed by the government, but fans remain locked out of professional sports events under the current restrictions.
Media have been allowed to cover some of the cricket‚ rugby and netball activities at the stadiums and there has been an outcry as to why Premier Soccer League (PSL) officials continue to lock out football journalists.
Only TV broadcasters are allowed into local football matches, while some of the clubs have allowed media at the stadiums in their Caf Champions League – continental cup competition – games.
Mthethwa said it is still “early days” to say when spectators will be allowed inside stadiums or people will return to arts and culture events, but the vaccination rollout offers hope for the future for the sectors.
“Vaccination and the process thereof is always news giving hope to the future. I am not going to be able to say when games will be opened for spectators.
“As you know‚ even with what we have secured so far in terms of vaccines is at a level where specific categories of people are getting it.
“This morning we were looking at the whole issue of procurement and procuring even more vaccines going forward. The details will from time to time be shared with the public and I think its early days now to talk about opening of games and so on.”