The health department has formed a new multi-sectoral ministerial advisory committee to deal with social behavioural change.
The committee will be lead by Malusi Mpumlwana of the South African Council of Churches.
Minister Zweli Mkhize says South Africans should embrace the new culture of wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining social distance.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu have formed a new multi-sectoral ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on social behavioural change, in an attempt to increase the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
During a visual briefing on Tuesday, Mkhize said the committee is going to be led by Malusi Mpumlwana of the South African Council of Churches.
The MAC team comes from diversity of many stakeholders which stands in for civil society organisations, who are non-governmental organisation, youth organisations, church leaders, traditional leaders among others.
“This MAC is actually brought to life by you, our fellow South Africans. It was South Africans who stayed at home for five weeks, who decided to leave their places of worship, sacrificed their sport, sacrificed their favourite restaurant, sacrificed the Sunday surfs, sacrificed seeing family and friends, postponed weddings, no longer went to shisanyamas, and prevented themselves from touching another human.
“That collective discipline and cooperation is what permitted us to flatten the curve, extended the peak out by a few months, saved many lives and balance our resources,” he said.
Mkhize said, while the work of MAC would be to facilitate diverse stakeholder cooperation in the country’s Covid-19 response, it would also assist in the action for fair access to quality health care.
Choosing between life or external trappings
He said Covid-19 had altered the way people performed their things, dress, wash their hands, greet and show affection. And as the economy resumec during the increase in infections, Mkhize said the government appreciated the “challenge of maintaining what feels unnatural”.
“Behavioural change needs constant reinforcement and affirmation.
“It needs the whole buy-in of individuals, communities, societies, cultures and different social groupings,” he said.
Mkhize has also added that the virus had “disturbed our social lives and posed a threat to sink economies. It has pushed humanity to choose between life or external trappings”.
He said, in the next coming days, the nation is going to witness an increase in infections, more people would be hospitalised, and many are going to die.
Mkhize said, to deal with the virus, it is no longer about what the government says, but it is now about each individual. He also said citizens needed to build a culture of making sure that they wear masks, wash hands and maintain physical distance.