It has been 19 months since South African sports fans could set foot in a stadium. After a long and painful separation from the teams we love, supporters can now officially attend matches again, thanks to the rarest of all things: A positive lockdown amendment orchestrated by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The COGTA Minister’s unexpected alterations to the State of Disaster laws have caught many of us off-guard during the pandemic. But this latest change isn’t in the same school as the smoking ban or the attempts to redefine the meaning of a beach: This is a forward-thinking, vaccine-inspired decision.
Although South Africa is barely halfway towards its 70% vaccination rate goal, millions of citizens – including the elderly and most vulnerable – have got their full course of COVID-19 jabs. That means the government is ready to unlock the gates to stadiums and sports venues, slowly but surely…
In total, sports grounds will now be allowed to welcome a MAXIMUM of 2 000 fans back, effectively from Monday 11 October. The first major fixture that will benefit from these rule changes is the Bafana Bafana vs Ethiopia game, taking place at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. The game kicks off at 18:00 on Tuesday 12 October.
A couple of thousand fans in the 90 000-seater arena may not seem like a big deal, but the significance of this move speaks for itself. The passionate, fanatical, and vocal supporters across Mzansi can finally get back to doing what they love most, even if that does mean having limited attendances at first.
The ANC wants to have 70% of all adults vaccinated by the end of December. Once this threshold is reached, it’s understood that the State of Disaster itself will be scrapped for good, allowing venues to reach full capacity.