“This is an extraordinary display of disregard for the public interest at a time of great crisis in South Africa.”
HEALTH experts say the after-effects of the gathering at former president Jacob Zuma’s home in Nkandla will be felt in the next 14 days.
Hundreds of supporters of Zuma gathered at the former president’s home, where they staged demonstrations after he was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment.
Pictures and videos shared online showed many people not wearing masks or observing social-distancing protocols at the gathering.
Health and social security expert Professor Alex van den Heever said the gathering would result in community-based transmissions of Covid-19 that will impact on many households and we could see an acceleration of infections in about two weeks.
Van den Heever said: “This is an extraordinary display of disregard for the public interest at a time of great crisis in South Africa. The personal woes of a dreadful former president don’t come close to meriting such conduct. If this crowd can disregard the law, many will feel that they can, too. Unfortunately, it implies that individual conduct going forward will count more than the government’s actions.”
“What we are seeing is a failure of leadership from a political party in utter disarray due to their corruption and total disregard for the public interest. This is about a week on from the EFF displaying the same lack of leadership and disrespect for the law. These are not legitimate protests as they place society at risk for self-evidently private interests.”
Meanwhile, UCT public health medicine specialist Professor Mary-Ann Davies said Covid-19 infections are driven by a small number of people who transmit it to a large number of people and gatherings are a fertile ground for this to happen.
“During this time of a Covid wave, where there are a large number of cases, the chances that somebody with Covid-19 is going to be at a gathering are very high and the chance of spreading is extremely high,” she said.