'Blatant disregard for the lives of our people': ANC slams own members and EFF for super-spreader events

EFF members marching to the offices of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) - under the banner of "March to Save Lives" demanding the Sputnik and Pfazier vaccine.
EFF members marching to the offices of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) - under the banner of "March to Save Lives" demanding the Sputnik and Pfazier vaccine.
Image: Ziphozonke Lushaba

The ANC has slammed its own members — as well as the EFF — for organising events that could potentially be Covid-19 super-spreaders this week.

The party said it was alarmed that at the height of the Covid-19 third wave in Gauteng, both the EFF and supporters of ANC's suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule had organised events that were attended by hundreds of people.

Magashule supporters gathered at the South Gauteng High Court on Thursday to support him as he took his party head on in an attempt to reverse his suspension.

And on Friday the EFF organised a march in Pretoria demanding that more Covid-19 vaccines be acquired, arguing that lockdowns have proven ineffective.

These gatherings, said ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe, were “wholly unwarranted” and a “blatant disregard for the lives of our people”.

More concerning, Mabe said about Magashule’s supporters, was that it had been widely publicised that the court session would be virtual, making it unnecessary to gather outside court.

“In Gauteng, 5,842 people are hospitalised as a result of Covid-19, and a total of 584,458 people have been vaccinated to date. To gather in large gatherings at the height of the third wave truly undermines the efforts of many health workers, who are currently under intense pressure in our healthcare facilities,” Mabe said.

“All political parties are represented in parliament where the government updates them on numerous developments in the efforts to arrest the pandemic.”

The ANC also warned against those who “project vaccination” as the only method to save lives, saying that “our own behaviour should not contribute further to burdening the health system”.

“The ANC calls on all leaders to provide responsible leadership at this challenging time so that we can all save lives. We urge all our people and all leaders to do everything in their power to avoid all super-spreader events,” Mabe said.

Gauteng has been hit the hardest by the third wave, with premier David Makhura suggesting that on average one in three people were likely to test positive for Covid-19.

It was reported on Thursday that 16,078 people had tested positive for coronavirus with at least 59%, about 9,521, of those cases reported in Gauteng.

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