- KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala has cautioned matriculants and pupils in general to avoid events such as the Ballito Rage.
- There were a high number of private hospital admissions for Covid-19 following the event.
- He also called on parents to help their children make decisions that would not put their lives in danger.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has cautioned pupils to avoid super-spreader events, saying they had the potential to cause widespread Covid-19 infections.
As news of multiple suspected Covid-19 cases from Ballito Rage and other non-affiliated events made headlines, Zikalala issued a strong warning and appealed to parents and pupils "not to organise or take part in celebrations in the province which flout current Covid-19 safety protocols and endanger lives".
"With the end of year comes the end of school for learners, especially matric, as they enter the new world of tertiary education or work. We wish to warn all our learners against holding events such as Rage and others known as Throw the Pen Away, After Parties. Most of these gatherings young people gather in large groups, others indulge in alcohol binges and other wanton activities."
He added: "We want to reiterate that these are super-spreader activities which endanger the lives of young people and expose them and ultimately all those around them to the coronavirus."
All Rage events were postponed until further notice on Monday. JBay Rage was cancelled on Monday by the organisers.
Zikalala's announcement comes amid a spike in Covid-19 cases following a matric Rage festivals in Ballito and Umhlanga last week, among other events.
Some private hospitals in Durban have reported having full ICU wards, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.
He added the health department had identified a number of Covid-19 cases arising from super-spreader events.
"Whilst government makes an effort to contain this virus, we now plead with all parents to also exercise their parental prerogative and set boundaries on activities that their children [specifically the youth] can participate in," Mkhize said in a statement.
Zikalala warned pupils about similar events to mark the end of schooling that were scheduled in various parts of the province as well parks and underground venues.
"We again wish to warn all those who intend to hold such events that this is against the regulations and we will not hesitate to apply the full extent and might of the law to deal with any such transgressions wherever they occur."
He said large gatherings involving the excessive consumption of alcohol were high-risk behaviour that posed a threat.
"We expect parents to play a leading role in guiding their children to celebrate this important milestone in their lives in a responsible manner that will ensure that the children are safe to enter the next stage of their lives after matric.
"In general, all our youth should be reminded that they are important weapon in the fight against Covid-19. This generation of young people must in playing their part, identify themselves as the generation that defeated Covid-19."
Zikalala warned the country was still under lockdown.