DURBAN - THE KwaZulu-Natal Health Department has urged the organisers of the Ballito Rage to be extra vigilant as they plan the annual event for matriculants.
Last year the Ballito Rage was labelled a super-spreader event by then minister of Health Zweli Mkhize, after many of the young patrons in attendance tested positive for Covid-19 following the event.
The annual event is attended by matriculants to celebrate the end of their schooling.
Ntokozo Maphisa, KZN Health Department spokesperson, said they were aware, through media reports, that the event was expected to take place between November 30 and December 5.
Maphisa said in KZN more than 2.4 million people had been vaccinated, and the province needed to reach a target of 7.2 million (at least 62%) of the provincial population to achieve herd immunity.
He said based on scientific data, the provincial government remained concerned about potential super-spreader events and the threat of a fourth wave, but in line with the objectives to revive economic activity and return to some normality, event organisers had to be extra vigilant.
“We have not reached herd immunity as a province, but we remain positive that by December we would have, because everyone wants to have some sense of normalcy.”
Darren Sandras, Ballito Rage spokesperson, said for the five consecutive nights of the event, the rage would be subject to all necessary government approvals, and all attendees would be required to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination prior to entry.
He added that all attendees would also be subject to non-invasive Covid19 rapid antigen tests every second day, while staff would be screened daily. He said it would be the responsibility of attendees to ensure they received their vaccinations prior to attendance.
On the Rage festival website, the organisers said they took the safety of attendees, staff and the community very seriously. “What happened in 2020 was deeply regrettable and simply cannot happen again.”
Ballito Rage packages range from R2 200 to R3 900 per patron, and the access passports include three mandatory rapid Covid-19 tests at a cost of R1 500, but exclude accommodation and travel costs.
On Friday, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said KZN, Free State and the Northern Cape had recorded the highest number of active Covid-19 cases.
Phaahla said positivity rates had come down from their highest level of 35% in mid-July to 12%. He said the rate in Gauteng had gone down to 4.4%, which is what the country needed. He said Gauteng and Limpopo had exited the third wave and he hoped other provinces would follow suit.
He said at present people could not choose which vaccine they wanted, as the department had more doses of the Pfizer vaccine than of the J&J vaccine.
“We still need to reach 18 million more adults to achieve 70% coverage of all adults with at least one dose by December. When we get more J&J vaccines we will be able to increase full vaccinations by a single dose. Female clients are still higher at 57.7% and males 42.3%.”