'You can’t regulate everything! Change behaviour, or Covid will remain a killer'


48 days ago

On 16 June – Youth Day - Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu launched the Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee on Social Change (MAC).

The 41-member Committee aims to drive social behaviour change in communities to not only curb the spread of Covid-19 but also deal with other issues such as gender-based (GBV) and domestic violence.

The MAC represents a story of “emancipation and empowerment”, Mkhize said at the launch.

He described the MAC’s work as “crucial”, now that we’re moving away from strict enforcement of lockdown regulations towards relying on the goodwill of South Africans to act responsibly in the face of the pandemic.

Mkhize added that MAC’s work and principles align with National Health Insurance (NHI), which strives for fair and quality healthcare for all.

Refilwe Moloto interviewed newly appointed MAC Chairperson Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana about MAC's objectives in the coming months as South Africa loosens lockdown regulations while still facing an approaching peak in infections.

So much has changed, socially, in the last two months! We don’t greet by hand anymore. We wash hands every other hour… we can effect similar social change as far as gender-based violence…

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, Chairperson - Ministerial Advisory Committee on Social Change

Unless how we conduct ourselves can change, Covid will be a killer for all time… The purpose of this committee is to have a wide range of civil society players saying what in their environment is a challenge – with regards to Covid – and what could be done to change that.

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, Chairperson - Ministerial Advisory Committee on Social Change

Our [churches] guidelines are much stricter and stringent than the regulations. Not everything can be regulated! Nobody is going to regulate how to wash hands at a funeral… In the light of what we know about the virus, what can we do differently? That does not mean regulations! … It’s a culture change.

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, Chairperson - Ministerial Advisory Committee on Social Change

Gender-based violence is not in the terms of reference of this committee… But because it has to do with behaviour change, there’ll be no harm in looking at it as well.

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, Chairperson - Ministerial Advisory Committee on Social Change

Listen to the interview in the audio below.

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'You can’t regulate everything! Change behaviour, or Covid will remain a killer'

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