KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has issued a stern warning and appealed to parents and learners to stop organising or taking part in celebrations that flout current COVID-19 safety protocols and endanger lives.
“With the end of the year, comes the end of school for learners, especially matric, as they enter the new world of tertiary education or work,” Zikalala said.
However, he has warned learners against holding events such as Matric Rage or “throw the pen away after parties”.
“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 super-spreader activities which endanger the lives of young people and expose them and ultimately all those around them to the Coronavirus,” he cautioned.
This comes after the Department of Health has identified the Ballito Rage as a super-spreader event after scores of COVID-19 infections that emanatED from the event over the weekend.
“We are however also aware that similar events to mark the end of schooling are also scheduled in various parts of the province and parks and so-called ‘underground’ venues,” the Premier said.
“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 believes that 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 COVID-19.
“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.”
He has called on the youth to remember that they are an important weapon in the fight against the pandemic.
“This generation of young people must in playing their part, identify themselves as the generation that defeated COVID-19. We also wish to state the country is still under lockdown and that the state of disaster is still fully in place.”
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health has since confirmed the province is experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 in four neighbouring districts attributed to the Ballito Rage events.
Meanwhile, the Gauteng Department of Health is working around the clock to track over 1 300 learners from the province who attended the Ballito Rage event.
Zikalala said the provincial government is committed to its responsibility of protecting the lives of all citizens and is calling on every citizen to play their part.