Political parties must stick to the level 2 restriction of 500 people at public meetings - Sanco
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Johannesburg - The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) has appealed to political parties and independent candidates contesting the upcoming local government elections to adhere to the regulations to allow only 500 people to their public meetings.
Sanco national spokesperson Simon Skhosana made the call after President Cyril Ramaphosa moved the country from adjusted level 3 to level 2 on Sunday.
Ramaphosa also announced the relaxation of attendance numbers at church gatherings and public meetings.
The president said all gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 250 people indoors, and 500 people outdoors.
Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used. This includes religious services, political events and social gatherings, as well as restaurants, bars, taverns and similar places.
“These recommendations have been discussed at the National Coronavirus Command Council and with premiers, mayors and traditional leaders in the President’s Coordinating Council. They have also been discussed with the leaders of political parties represented in Parliament and with faith-based organisations,” Ramaphosa said.
On Monday, Skhosana said Sanco welcomed the lowering of Covid-19 restrictions to adjusted lockdown level two.
He, however, cautioned against irresponsible behaviour particularly in the run-up to the November 1, 2021, local government elections.
“Vaccine hesitancy remains a major obstacle towards herd immunity which will guarantee economic recovery and a return to some form of normalcy. Public education and mobilization to ramp up vaccination rollout must therefore be intensified to counter myths and conspiracy theories particularly among men,” he said.
Skhosana said non-surgical interventions such as wearing masks, observing social distancing and regular washing of hands or sanitising must be religiously followed to curb infections.
”We implore various political parties not to run ahead of themselves in their quest to speedily mobilise voters through mass gatherings while compromising the lives of the targeted voters. Those who do so would not be deserving of anyone's vote,” he said.
He urged unregistered and first-time voters to make use of the September 18-19 final weekend voter registration period to register for participation in the crucial elections.
“None should miss the opportunity to exercise their hard-won democratic right to vote for candidates of their own choice who will advance their wishes and aspirations. All of us must go out there and ensure that our addresses are correctly captured on the voters roll,” said Skhosana.
He also urged communities not to be intimidated by those who were desperate enough to resort to political killings and public violence if they are not nominated as councillors.
“Barbaric acts of violence such as the drive-by shooting that claimed the lives of three women in (Inanda at the weekend) KwaZulu-Natal have no place in democratic processes. We call on our communities to reject such heinous and ghastly acts with the contempt that they deserve as well as assist law enforcement agencies to unmask the heartless perpetrators responsibly,” he added.