Cape Town will join numerous cities around the world in cancelling mass events this festive season, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Tweede Nuwe Jaar celebrations are among those that have been postponed to 2021, as a result of an increase in infections recently.
Held annually on the second day of January, the highly anticipated event draws tens of thousands to the streets of the Cape CBD. Adorned in vibrant colours and equipped with an orchestra of instruments, dozens of minstrel groups brighten the streets with song and dance.
Officials in the Western Cape are however considering the plausibility of “district-lockdowns” to curb a recent surge in Covid-19 cases. The Cape Metro and Cape Winelands are among those that have shown significant increases in infections and hospitalizations, with concerns of a second wave peaking ahead of the festive season. In the province’s latest COVID-19 report on 27 November 2020, it confirmed 8438 active cases, with 1067 patients hospitalized of which 195 are in ICU or high care. Western Cape Premier Alan Winde is this week expected to announce the outcome of a meeting with various stakeholders over the matter.
Speaking to VOC’s Breakfast Beat on Monday, the City’s Safety and Security directorate head Alderman JP Smith explained that due to impending fears of a second wave, minstrel groups were not given permits to march this year.
“The minstrels must decide whether they are going to march or not. It’s my understanding that they have cancelled (for) now because the national regulations does not permit it. We will not legally be permitted to give them an event’s permit.”
“They either have to postpone to when we reasonably guess the lockdown will be finished, which will probably be in March, but you can’t guarantee that because if infections go up then government may well impose heavier restrictions and keep it going for longer.”
Kaapse Klopse Karnival Association (KKKA) managing director Muneeb Gambeno confirmed that the event has been postponed until June 2021. Gambeno emphasised that the groups are ‘’simply not prepared to risk the goodwill of people” and noted that the level of infection must be considered.
“The next best available date, subject to where the pandemic is at, is the 16th of June 2021. Our people are of course disappointed, but I think people generally understand. While the culture has been around for hundreds of years, the priority now is to ensure we all get to next year,” he told VOC.
“It’s no use we have events during this time and then people get sick and die. I am, too, disappointed. But what can we do?” questioned Gambeno.
In terms of funding, Smith said that the monies have already been allocated.
“If the money isn’t used, it will get rolled over to later in the financial year which ends in June or rolled over to next year if they skip an entire year as the Cape Town carnival had to. The City, unfortunately, just has to roll with whatever punches come from national government on this matter. “