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Organiser blasts media for cancellation of annual Ballito, Plett Rage parties

Greg Walsh blames the media for the cancellation of the Rage festivals. Picture: Supplied

Greg Walsh blames the media for the cancellation of the Rage festivals. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 13, 2021

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Pretoria - The organiser and founder of the annual Ballito and Plett Rage parties has blamed the media for causing the “hysteria” which led to the cancellation of the events.

Greg Walsh this week lashed out at the media, blaming it for the cancellation of the after-party, held for mainly matriculants.

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He vented his frustration on Facebook, calling the media industry liars who spread hysteria and panic in order to get click-bait.

Both festivals were cancelled last week amid mounting public pressure, and incidents of staff testing positive for Covid-19.

It was reported that four staff and 32 revellers tested positive on November 30, the first day of the event.

Walsh, however, believes the events should have gone ahead, and expressed anger and disappointment in his video post.

He said the event had brought joy to students for 20 years, even though last years’ festivities led to a super spread of the virus.

Walsh said there were safety protocols in place as well as medical facilities built on site, which had rapid antigen testing for all staff and all guests on the first day and fourth day planned.

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He added with the news of Omicron, the company invested more money to make testing available for every day of the festival.

In blaming the media for the cancellation, he said: “It was something extraordinary to listen to the media lie, spread panic and hysteria, and call on politicians and parents for us to cancel.”

The Hospital Association of South Africa meanwhile said it strongly believed that recent lessons learned from large events – including the rage festivals – should be sufficient to persuade organisers of potential super spreader gatherings to cancel.

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The association said despite the extensive precautionary actions taken to prevent the spread of the virus at the now cancelled rage events – the fact remains that these events were risky.

“We are sympathetic to the disappointment any such cancellations would have to people, in the case of the rage events to matriculants who have been through an extremely difficult last two years.

“We are also sympathetic to the potential for revenue loss for businesses. However, infections are spiking and the positivity rate among tests indicates an imminent fourth wave,” said deputy chairman of the association Neil Nair.

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He warned that if the infection continued to spread, hardship would again come upon the most marginal in society.

“Our vulnerability will again be at risk, a lockdown may again become necessary, and our recovery from the pandemic will be further delayed,” he said.

Nair added that vaccine mandates, while necessary and a step he believes the country should take, are only as strong as the observation of them.

“For us, this is the key learning from the rage event in Ballito.

“It is simply better that no super spreader events are allowed to take place,” he said.

Pretoria News

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