Vaccinate today, play tomorrow

Mabuza, Mthethwa and Mabuyane lead inoculation drive at Bay stadium

Deputy president David Mabuza, centre, sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa, left, and Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane led the Return to Play: It is in Your Hands social mobilisation campaign at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday
STEPPING UP: Deputy president David Mabuza, centre, sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa, left, and Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane led the Return to Play: It is in Your Hands social mobilisation campaign at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday
Image: EUGENE COETZEE

Deputy president David Mabuza was mum on the progress of coalition talks on Friday but he urged everyone to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Mabuza was in Nelson Mandela Bay for a social mobilisation campaign to encourage residents to get inoculated against the virus.

He was accompanied by sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa and Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane.

All three leaders encouraged residents to get vaccinated at the event, held at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, where vaccinations were on offer.

Asked during a media briefing on the progress of talks between political parties about possible coalitions to run the Bay after the November 1 local government elections, Mabuza said these conversations were private.

“I am not the one leading the talks.

“They are busy negotiating and we will get the outcome of what is possible and not,” he said. 

Addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, Mabuza said achieving herd immunity in SA should be everyone’s objective to avoid the full effects of an expected fourth wave of infections.

Many experts believe herd immunity will be achieved when 60 to 70% of the population gains immunity, either through vaccinations or past exposure to the virus.

Mabuza said historically, every pandemic had similarities that threatened the existence of humankind, but this time Covid-19 could be defeated through vaccinations.

“It can be contained through vaccination and the fight against the pandemic is a war that calls for adherence,” he said. 

He urged residents to get vaccinated before December.

“I’m not sure if we will reach our 70% target.It looks far-fetched, but let’s try.

“We are left with a few weeks and we are only above 40% — it is very important for all of us to get vaccinated to protect your friends and family,” he said.

“It’s important for sports lovers to take this call so we can come back to stadiums.

“Once herd immunity is achieved we can open the economy. It is in our hands,” he said.

Mabuza said it was appropriate that 2,000 vaccinated soccer fans had been allowed to attend the World Cup qualifier between Bafana Bafana and Ethiopia at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg in October.

He added that the successful staging of the municipal elections on November 1 — despite the pandemic and a shortened preparation period — had proved that SA could rise to the challenge.

Mabuyane said Covid-19 had caused havoc in the province, and it was time to put the pandemic behind us.

“We’ve had enough of Covid-19. We want to go back to normal,” the premier said.

“The sooner you get your vaccine the better.

“We want the stadiums to be opened.”

Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders deputy head Nkosi Nombulelo Kama said Covid-19 had disrupted sporting events and prevented pupils from going to school.

“The great house is encouraging all to get vaccinated.

“Our government talks about our peoples and it is our turn to honour them by supporting the government by getting vaccinated,” she said. 

Deputy health minister Sibongiseni Dhlomo pleaded with officials to redouble their efforts with the inoculation campaign.

“We are approaching the festive season and initiation school season.

“When our sons come back from initiation there will be celebrations and we need to be extra careful not to allow the events to be superspreaders,” he said. 

HeraldLIVE

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