Residents of KwaMajola village in Port St Johns, in the Eastern Cape, have continued to ignore lockdown regulations, despite 40 people having tested positive for the coronavirus in the area. The lockdown regulations are intended to slow the spread of the virus. A total of 778 people have been screened and 560 tested in the village.
Below is a SA coronavirus statistics graph:
Villagers in the area continue with their daily routine, ignoring the regulations. There are many who don’t care about social distancing and the call for all South Africans to stay at home. A villager Luvuyo Manto says traditional herbs will save him from any illness and he fears no death.
“Naturally, I am not a scared person because I know that I was created to live and die. If I am sick I take my traditional herbs, crush them and make a mixture, so out of it I can be healed and in most cases I managed to heal myself. I am not sure about this new disease, I will deal with it when it attacks me. Otherwise I am not scared.,” says Manto.
But not all the villagers are complacent. Thembisile Mgwaqa says he is anxious because some of the people that tested positive are close friends.
“I having a long cough and I have just decided to go to the clinic for testing. I need to be tested because most of the people that I met have tested positive. This is very painful because we cannot play with our grandchildren, because of the flue so it is bad and we are anxious and we do not know what to do because there is no protection in this village,” says Mgwaqa.
Mgwaqa says they need more protection and education around this pandemic.
“The most critical issue here is the issue of protection and education regarding the COVID-19, we just heard about police, the army and the protection tools we do not have that. The reports that some of the people we know are positive have a psychological impact to some of us because we really do not know what to do,” says Mgwaqa.
KwaMajola Local Chief Nolundi Meji says people are reluctant to comply with the COVID-19 regulations. “Some of the people were told that should they be found infected will be taken out of the community to the health facilities but they literally removed because they believe that the treatment at the government health facilities is dehumanizing and they would remain at their homes,” says Meji.
Port St Johns mayor Nomvuzo Mlombile-Cingo says they will embark on a massive education campaign.
“There has been a sense of not taking this issue not seriously but I guarantee you that we are going to have a campaign with loud hailers from ward 1 and 20 because our belief is that it is not good to concentrate only to the people of Majola are related to other villages, but we are trying to make them realize and understand the seriousness of the situation,” says Cingo.
Eastern Cape Health Department Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo has urged all stakeholders to work together to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the province.
“You go to rural areas in this province. People are just walking around spreading the virus. We need people to work with us. We need people to respect the law and to realize the seriousness of the danger. It needs all of us to start working together and stop blaming each other. This is not the time to politicize this crisis,” says Kupelo.
The authorities fear that the trend in Majola can replicate in other villages in the province if people do not adhere to the regulations.
In the video below, Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane briefs media on COVID-19 response plan: