Durban - In a move that is likely to further cripple the already limping tourism and events industry, one of the money spinners for the KZN economy, the provincial government says there will be no major events this festive season.
The government cited the raging Covid-19 pandemic as the reason for the decision announced on Wednesday, shortly after its last cabinet meeting of this year.
It said it considered various requests from event organisers in relation to hosting major events that are associated with the festive season but opted not to accede to them.
"The executive council assessed the requests against the Covid-19 situation in the province and the country. The Executive Council on advice by medical and scientific practitioners resolved not to encourage the hosting of major events in the province owing to the threat and risks imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Executive Council also noted that the country is still under lockdown and the state of disaster is 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. There is evidence of the second wave which has become real in other provinces. KZN is edging closer towards the Covid-19 second wave cliff, according to the latest figures," the cabinet said.
Among the events to be temporarily canned is the Inkasi music concert held in KwaMashu on December 16, Durban jazz festival held at Hazelmere Dam on December 26, Durban braai day at People's Park on December 26, Fact Durban Rocks on New Year's eve at People's Park and the Inanda Dam picnic on January 1.
The cabinet stressed that while it understood the social and economic impact of not hosting major events at popular locations in the province during the festive season, the lives of citizens mattered and needed to be protected.
"The Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal has a duty to protect the lives of citizens and does not want to take decisions that may be regretted later. The Provincial Major Events sub-committee of the Provincial Executive Council will communicate with all major events organisers and stakeholders on this decision," it said.
Others decisions taken at the meeting was to rebuild the burial sites of two ANC stalwarts, Moses Mabhida who was reburied in Pietermaritzburg and Johnny Makhathini who was buried in Pietermaritzburg after his body was exhumed in Lusaka, Zambia.
"The current area where the tombstones are located is experiencing environmental challenges, hence the relocation and the rebuilding of the tombstones. Once complete, this rebuilding process will give due honour and dignity to these freedom fighters, who made a priceless sacrifice and contribution in dismantling apartheid, and ushering in a democratic South Africa."