Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has taken to cabinet a suggestion to make it illegal to be in public without wearing a face mask, following rising in cases across the country.
One suggestion was made by Wits University professor of vaccinology Shabir Madhi, a leading health expert who says people’s disregard for wearing the mask in public spaces other than shopping mallswas behind the recent spike in Covid-19 cases.
“It’s against the lockdown regulations not to wear a mask in public, but not illegal, according to the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta).”
Madhi said the spike in infections, especially in Gauteng, was due to people not doing what they are requested to.
“What we are seeing is ongoing transmissions of the virus in communities mainly because most people are not doing what they were asked to do, which is wearing the nonsurgical face mask, for example.
“It would be much more effective to have a regulation that forces people to wear masks.”
Cogta minister Dlamini-Zuma’s spokesperson Lungi Mtshali said the minister welcomed the suggestion and it would be taken to cabinet for consideration.
The suggestion comes as Gauteng remains a hotspot second only to Western Cape, with Madhi projecting that the worst was still to come.
“In about three to four weeks, Gauteng will probably be where the Western Cape is currently, right now it seems we are not going to cope as people get the virus rapidly.”
Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku’s spokesperson Kwara Kekana said: “The surge in the number Covid-19 cases is expected and will continue to rise as we head towards the peak period.