Premier David Makhura’s Welcome Remarks and Gauteng’s Progress on the Vaccination Programme

 

08 September 2021

Programme Director, Mr. Vusumuzi Mkhize, Director-General of Sport, Arts & Culture;
Deputy President DD Mabuza;
Dr Joe Phaahla, Minister of Health;
Mr. Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture;
The Distinguished Leadership of all Sporting Bodies in our country; MEC for Health, Dr Thembi Mokgethi;
MEC Mbali Hlophe, responsible for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation (Happiness) in Gauteng;
Cllr Jolidee Matongo, Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg;
Mr. Mabalane Mfundisi, Convener of Community Constituency Front;
Dr Stavros Nicolaou, Business for South Africa;

Distinguished Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen:

Creative artist and cultural scholar, Okakura Kakuzō reminds us that “the art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings”. The COVID-19 pandemic imposed on us a major readjustment to our lives.

We gather here today to launch the Vaccination Social Mobilisation Campaign under the stewardship of the Deputy President for the sector led by Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture.

This launch represents a major step forward in readjusting our lives to a new normal where we learn to live with COVID-19 as we return to do the things we love.

Vaccination between 67% and 80% of the population is the most powerful game changer in our hands.

Raising public awareness about the importance of vaccinating and addressing all the myths, fears and fake news about vaccines is central to taking back our lives, returning to a new reality and adjusting to a new normal.

As the theme for this event correctly points out, ‘returning to the games, is in our hands’. This is an empowering theme which calls upon all of us to play our part and take charge of our health.

This theme emphasises the power of collective action and the ability of people in every sector to take their destiny and future into their own hands. Together, we can make our country safe again for our creative economy to re-open and offer livelihoods to millions of people who depend on their talent and creative ingenuity to put bread on the table.

To achieve this goal, we need everyone on board so we reach herd immunity, making it safe for us to return to the games.

We launch this campaign during a month in which we celebrate the Heritage of our rich cultural diversity and our enduring spirit of humanity.

Like other existential threats such as pandemics, climate change and economic inequality, COVID-19 has reminded us that we are safer and stronger together. We are better when we face problems through collective action and human solidarity.

As the Gauteng Provincial Government, we have been exploring, through dialogue with sectors and creative individuals, different ways through which we can incentivise vaccine uptake and re-open more activities in the sporting, creative sectors and gig economy. We all want to return to the things we love.

Sport and the arts have been hardest hit by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Livelihoods have been lost, promising careers destroyed, businesses closed down and lives ruined.

We have seen an abnormal situation where sporting events and cultural performances take place in empty venues.

There is no doubt that artists and athletes have suffered a great deal; as have the art and sport loving people of our nation.

Vaccination can help us return not only to the things we love but also to the things we need for our survival.

All we have to do is get a jab on our arms, so we return back to the games and gigs.

 

Our artists and athletes have already started last Friday to join us on the campaign drive to say let’s vaccinate so that we can return to performing and playing in full stadiums, concerts and theatres.

Religious leaders are also saying let’s vaccinate to return to prayer services in full places of worship.

Vaccination will give back our human touch like being able to attend a game, a concert, a funeral, a wedding and church service safely. Being able to return to loud cheers and hugs. Being able to have a safe family lunch. Being able to attend a funeral of a family member or friend safely.

We have all gone through a tough time. Our province is now out of the 3rd Wave and we are gaining momentum for rebuilding a new economy from the ruins of this pandemic. We are in a much safer space to re-open more activities but we must vaccinate more people.

So far, we have administered 3.5 million vaccines among 2.6 million people, out of which 1.6 million are fully vaccinated. We still have a long way to go to reach our target of 10 million people by December 16. Woza Christmas, a vaccinated family is safer to have lunch together.

We are also working against the threat of the 4th Wave ahead of us. Let’s vaccinate more people to ensure that even if people are infected, the chances and cases of hospitalisation and deaths are drastically reduced.

Let us work together to ensure we reach herd immunity by the time the festive season approaches so we can truly enjoy our time with family and friends. Jab for your loved ones.

We are also doing door-to-door to reach those who are hesitant or reluctant to vaccinate. Our outreach teams are out and about, every day, working hard to mitigate against this challenge of vaccine hesitancy. These brave brigades need the support of sports and creative personalities and leaders to churn out our positive messages that compete with anti-vaxxers and fake news.

Deputy President, returning to the theatre, concerts, stadiums is in indeed in our hands. Taking a jab is not for the government. It’s to protect yourself and your loved ones. It’s for the love of sport and the arts. It is for the love of your country and community. It’s for the love of your family.

Are yeng! December is coming! Woza Dezemba!

Remember, even if you are vaccinated you must still wear your mask, social distance and wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser.

 

Let us vaccinate now!

We welcome you to the launch. I thank you.