Diepsloot residents shun masks, while others abide

Residents walking through the streets without masks are pictured, on 29 June 2021, in Diepsloot, Johannesburg.
Residents walking through the streets without masks are pictured, on 29 June 2021, in Diepsloot, Johannesburg.
Image: SUNDAY TIMES/ ALAISTER RUSSELL

While the residents of Diepsloot continue with their lives seemingly unperturbed by alert level 4, people in areas such as Rosebank have made themselves scarce and tend to wear masks in public.

During the level 5 hard lockdown last year, TimesLIVE visited the township and noted that people were walking about without abiding by regulations. And it was the same again on Tuesday.

“I’ve been detained before because I wasn’t wearing a mask. I still won’t wear it. I suffer from asthma and I can’t risk my health further. People here don’t have the luxury to stay indoors and observe the protocols; we are already too poor and congested to care. We are crowded,” said 32-year-old Kutlwano Goitsemang.

The increasing number of infections in Gauteng has concerned the government.

A resident sits at Zoo Lake, on 29 June 2021, in Johannesburg.
A resident sits at Zoo Lake, on 29 June 2021, in Johannesburg.
Image: SUNDAY TIMES/ ALAISTER RUSSELL

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on developments in the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic last Sunday. He has placed the country on adjusted level 4. 

Schools have also been affected by Covid-19 cases with Gauteng recording 4,700 Covid-19 cases in its schools as infections continue to rise.

“The sale of alcohol both for on-site and off-site consumption is prohibited. Our ministerial advisory committee has advised that the limited restrictions that we previously imposed were not that effective and that a prohibition will ease the pressure that is placed on hospital services by alcohol emergency related incidences,” said Ramaphosa.

“All gatherings, whether indoors or outdoors, are prohibited, including cultural, social and religious gatherings. Funerals and cremations will continue to be permitted but attendance may not exceed 50 people and all social distancing and health protocols must be observed,” said Ramaphosa.

Goitsemang was walking the streets of section two with his friends, without face masks.

“I haven’t had anyone die from Covid-19 around me, so it’s kind of hard for me to panic. But I take home remedies, we drink a lot of concoctions at home to stay safe,” he said.

Residents walking through the streets without masks are pictured, on 29 June 2021, in Diepsloot, Johannesburg.
Residents walking through the streets without masks are pictured, on 29 June 2021, in Diepsloot, Johannesburg.
Image: SUNDAY TIMES/ ALAISTER RUSSELL

Nthabiseng Maake, 25, said she did not believe the pandemic was real.

“This whole thing is a scam, it’s something I have never seen. The masks will harm us because we breathe the same air we’re supposed to exhale. Also you’ll stand out like a sore thumb if you wear masks in a place like this,” she said.

Maria Mafopha, community healthcare provider in Diepsloot, said that though many were not abiding by the regulations, the number of people enquiring and taking the vaccine was impressive.

“They don’t really have a bad attitude around the vaccine. There’s a difference in attitude towards it. People are dying; it's bad and they don’t take too long being sick. But for most of the community, this is an imaginary problem. We continue to educate people on how to stay safe, but they continue to live freely.” Mafopha said.

Street vendor Israel Bhaku poses for a picture in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
Street vendor Israel Bhaku poses for a picture in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
Image: SUNDAY TIMES/ ALAISTER RUSSELL

The areas around Rosebank Mall and Zoo Lake were quiet on Tuesday as the regulations set in.

This however, is bad news for Israel Bhaku, who sells snacks and cigarettes on Oxford Road.

“I used to have customers, right now I come to my spot to watch a few people pass by and feel lonely. Before people worked from home I used to make some money, it's become dry.”

TimesLIVE


subscribe