KZN government bans major festive season events due to Covid-19
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Durban – Durban will not live up to its reputation as the entertainment capital of the country this festive season as the provincial government has warned event organisers against staging big gatherings.
Following a cabinet meeting this week, the KwaZulu-Natal government discouraged the hosting of any big events fearing they might become Covid-19 super-spreader events.
The announcement received mixed reaction from entertainers and event organisers, with some saying it was necessary to comply in order to save lives while others indicated that they would comply grudgingly.
“The executive council (cabinet) assessed the requests against the Covid19 situation in the province and the country. On advice by medical and scientific practitioners (it) resolved not to encourage the hosting of major events in the province owing to the threat and risks imposed by the pandemic.”
The statement said the country was still under lockdown and the state of disaster was still in place.
“People are encouraged to visit and enjoy the province of KwaZulu-Natal, they can hold small family activities without compromising the disaster management regulations.”
The cabinet said there was evidence the second wave had become real in other provinces, adding KZN was edging closer towards the Covid19 second wave cliff, according to the latest figures.
“The government understands the social and economic impact of not hosting major events at popular locations in the province during the festive season, however, it is the view of the government that lives of our citizens matter and need to be protected.
“The provincial government has a duty to protect the lives of citizens and does not want to take decisions that may be regretted later.”
Sharif Baker, who was part of the Light SA Red campaign which highlighted the plight of the entertainment sector during the lockdown, said the announcement threatened the survival of the industry.
“The entertainment industry has one of the most stringent safety protocols, events are going to take place anyway, so it’s better to have them take place under safe conditions,” he said.
Jabulani Nzama, owner of Eyadini Lounge, said he would comply, albeit begrudgingly, with the government directives.
“There is no point in complaining, I will do whatever the government decides we must do.”
He said since the country had moved to lockdown level 1, business had started picking up and he was concerned about the future of his business.
Event organiser Sipho Ndaba of Mbawula Investments said professional event organisers had a responsibility to ensure their patrons were safe and therefore should comply with the government regulations.