Bhisho wants Covid rules eased to allow for traditional ceremonies

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane says the number of Covid-19 infections continues to be on a downward trajectory
PRESSURE’S ON: Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane says the number of Covid-19 infections continues to be on a downward trajectory

The Eastern Cape provincial government will request the National Coronavirus Command Council to further ease lockdown regulations to allow people to conduct traditional ceremonies.

Premier Oscar Mabuyane made the announcement in Hogsback on Tuesday during his weekly press briefing, saying engagement was under way to open up the initiation season.

Mabuyane said Bhisho did not want to expose initiates to Covid-19 but was looking into the matter.

“The pressure is there,” he said.

“We’re being questioned almost on a daily basis by people wanting to conduct their rituals and traditional ceremonies, more especially now during Heritage Month.”

Mabuyane said though there was pressure, he was happy because no youngsters had lost their lives due to the lockdown rules prohibiting traditional ceremonies.

“We’ve saved lives because around this time we would’ve recorded about 30 deaths of young boys.

“This is something that is being looked at and we’re working on preventing more deaths while in lockdown,” Mabuyane said.

“We will also start engagements with the House of Traditional Leaders in our province to discuss whether the summer circumcision season should be opened or not.

“This is a matter we want to handle with sensitivity and care, bearing in mind that we still have a deadly coronavirus in our midst.

“The last thing we want is to expose boys who undergo traditional circumcision to the coronavirus.”

The premier also urged liquor traders to adhere to the lockdown regulations, adding that images of scores of vehicles parked outside taverns were disturbing

“There are ongoing discussions happening with liquor traders because this is a critical industry and has a huge impact on our economy.

“We can’t keep that industry permanently closed but if there was another alcohol ban imposed then they would suffer greatly,” he said.

Mabuyane announced that 110 people had died in the past seven days in the province due to Covid-19 — deaths he attributed to patients with co-morbidities.

He said the number of Covid-19 infections continued to be on a downward trajectory.


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