Omicron Update

Ballito Rage cancelled, only vaccinated matrics allowed at Plett Rage

ARCHIVE PHOTO: People during a party on November 29, 2014 at Living Earth in Ballito. (Photo by Gallo Images / Shelley Christians)

On Wednesday morning the Ballito Rage was cancelled by organisers after 32 guests and four staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. The matric rage in Plettenberg Bay will only allow vaccinated guests while the Jeffreys Bay event must still be confirmed, according to the organisers. The Johannesburg rage has been postponed to 2022.

The Ballito Matric Rage was cancelled on Wednesday morning after several guests and staff members tested positive for the coronavirus.

There is a resurgence of coronavirus infections in South Africa, with scientists saying the new Omicron variant – first identified in Gauteng and Botswana – is likely to be the driver behind the sharp increase in cases.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), there were 4,373 new cases registered overnight, of which 3,143 were in Gauteng and 259 in KwaZulu-Natal.

Fifteen new Omicron cases were registered in the Western Cape on Tuesday.

Archive Photo: People party at Living Earth during 2014’s Ballito Rage. (Photo: Gallo Images / The Times / Moeletsi Mabe)

“We take the safety of all our customers, staff and suppliers extremely seriously. It is for this reason that the event organisers have taken the decision to cancel the remainder of Ballito Rage,” the organisers said in a statement.

The festival opened for the first time on Tuesday, 30 November 2021, with unprecedented Covid-19 protocols in place, including mandatory vaccinations for all staff and guests and pre-arrival Covid-19 tests for all guests. A testing facility was located near the event site. Staff testing began on 29 November and none of the first 122 was positive.   

On 30 November, all remaining staff and all guests had Covid-19 tests before entering the event. 

Of the 940 guests and staff tested between 2pm and 10pm on Tuesday, however, 32 guests and four staff members returned positive results. 

“The Department of Health were on-site and worked together with our team to conduct contact tracing and ensure isolation of positive individuals and staff as per government protocols.”

The statement added that after consultation and guidance from the local and provincial health departments and other key stakeholders, the decision was collectively made to cancel the event based on data now available. 

“It is our responsibility to do the right thing, based on facts, collaboration and the resources and tools we have available… While we understand the disappointment that this causes for those who were looking forward to enjoying the festival, these are unprecedented times. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and support. Ticket holders will receive further information in the coming days via email,” the Ballito organisers said.

Foster Mohale from the National Department of Health said the rage events were managed by provincial departments.

Archive Photo: Thousands of matrics at Ballito Rage on 29 November 2014. (Photo: Gallo Images/Shelley Christians)

In 2020, the then health minister Zweli Mkhize identified the rages as potential superspreader events. 

Meanwhile, the organiser of the Plett Rage said only vaccinated guests will be allowed to attend the event.

Further information from the Bitou municipality is awaited.

According to the organisers, the Jeffreys Bay Rage must still be confirmed. Comment from the Kouga municipality will be added to this story. 

On Tuesday, the NICD called on people to avoid large gatherings and superspreader events. DM/MC


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