With the class of 2021 having completed writing their matric exams on Tuesday, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KwaZulu-Natal has called on the provincial department of basic education to take a stand and ban all matric “pens down” celebrations.
The IFP said these matric final exam celebrations should be prohibited because they could easily become super-spreader events, especially in light of the discovery of the new Omicron variant that has led to a resurgence of new Covid-19 cases in the country during the festive season.
The party said it believesc that it would be difficult for young people who attend these celebrations to ensure that they follow Covid health and safety protocols like wearing face masks, sanitising their hands regularly and maintaining social distance.
“Allowing such parties to take place is nothing more than a recipe for disaster, as they are also destructive in nature.
“Unprotected sex and the use of illegal substances are often a fixture of the parties and, in the past, matric final exam celebrations have claimed the lives of many young people, through car accidents and violence meted out against one another,” the IFP said in a statement.
“The IFP calls upon the KZN department of education to ensure that such events are banned in KZN. A clear message must be sent out that anyone found to be staging such an event will be held accountable.”
The IFP further urged schools and parents to be alert as some of these parties were planned secretly by pupils.
“In the interest of protecting their children from this new Covid variant, and for their general safety and wellbeing, parents must denounce such parties. It would be tragic for young people with their whole future before them to lose their lives.”
KZN fourth wave
At the weekend, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala announced that the province had officially entered the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections.
Zikalala raised concerns that Covid cases were rising “at an alarming rate” due to the Omicron variant.
“In the past three weeks, our province has observed a significant climb in the rate of infections on a daily basis. The number of daily cases that have been registered in the past seven days has been rising at an alarming rate,” he said.
On Wednesday, South Africa reported 13,147 new coronavirus cases and 27 related deaths, with the majority of new cases coming from Gauteng (64%) followed by KwaZulu-Natal (11%).
President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to return to the country on Wednesday after concluding his working visit to West Africa. Ramaphosa has called an urgent meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) to look at Omicron interventions as Covid-19 infections surge.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe