Organisers of Plett Rage have halted ticket sales for the student festival - which was postponed and approved for January 29 to February 6 next year - for the time being following an outbreak of Covid-19 during a similar festival in Kwazulu-Natal recently - YOLANDÉ STANDER reports
HEALTH Minister Zweli Mkhize in a statement on Sunday slammed post-matric festivals as “super spreader” events and said that it undermined government’s efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 infections.
The KZN festival was held in Ballito from November 27 to December 4; several youngsters and staff members had since tested positive for the virus.
“While government makes an effort to contain this virus, we now plead with parents to also exercise their parental prerogative and set boundaries on activities that their children, specifically the youth, can participate in.
“It is clear that in these entertainment activities, most participants are not constantly conscious of good behaviour. This means our youth is not only exposing themselves to the risk of contracting Covid-19, but they also put the lives of their loved ones living with co-morbidities at risk,” Mkhize said.
In response to the news, Plett Rage organisers have halted ticket sales for the time being and are in constant communication with local authorities on the way forward.
While Mkhize indicated in his statement that Plett Rage took place between November 27 and December 5, organisers made it clear that this was incorrect.
Bitou municipal spokesman Andile Namntu explained that these dates were initially proposed, but were not approved following the outbreak of Covid-19. The event was then postponed and approved for January 29 to February 6. The approval was also subject to Covid-19 regulations.
Festival owner Ronen Klugman explained that this decision to move the event was taken to minimise the congregation of visitors in Plett as this period fell beyond the town’s traditional tourism season and outside of the school-holidays.
Namntu said the event had not been cancelled, but that decisions would be made in the near future and would depend on Covid-19 protocols.
Klugman said last week that thousands of parents trusted him and his team with their children’s safety and that this was not something he took lightly.
As part of the planning for this year’s event, organisers have looked at many ways of minimising the risk of spreading the virus. One of these includes hosting the festival in outdoor spaces on the town’s Central Beach and dividing these spaces up in line with government regulations.
Others include ventilation systems, possible Covid-19 testing for all attendees, and an electronic system to keep tabs on festivalgoers.
In terms of the future of the Plett Rage, Klugman said that the outcome of the event was still unknown. “We will be making further announcements in coming days. We will only act in the interest of our Ragers and safety of our staff.”
Garden Route Media