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Keeping safe during the festive season

THE festive season is upon us, and it is a crucial time to keep safe. The Department of Health in KZN has cautioned residents to rethink about potentially fatal conduct such as drinking and driving and having unprotected sex, all in the name of ‘festive-season fun’.

The Department’s MEC, Nomagugu Simelane, pleaded with residents to have fun in a responsible way.  “We are saying people need to sit down, think about themselves, and see what aspects of their lives they need to bring under control. We’re pleading with the public, let us have fun responsibly. Let’s have fun in a guarded way. Let’s not go overboard. Let’s not abuse alcohol. Those who drink must do so within a limit, and those who don’t drink, now is not the time to start.”

Simelane continued to condemn drinking and driving, saying it should be a ‘definite no-no’ for everyone, and in order to stay alive, revellers attending year-end parties, or enjoying themselves at trendy restaurants, should consider using a designated driver system, or e-hailing transport services.

“To those who drink, you can have a designated driver – the person who won’t be drinking on the night. To those who go partying together, do not allow a drunk person to drive you back home because this is your life, and you will die.”

The MEC also called on the public to seek alternative dispute resolution methods rather than resorting to confrontations, acts of road rage and fights, as these could easily turn deadly.

“Let’s not fight and harm each other because then people start dying, and many of them end up in our casualty wards with stabbings and gunshot wounds. All of that is usually as a result of drinking overboard, so we are pleading with fellow compatriots not to do that. Let’s have fun within limitations so that we’re all still around to usher in the new year.”

Simelane also appealed to the public to be mindful of the consequences of unprotected sex, which could give rise to unplanned and unwanted pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections (including HIV and syphilis).

She said reckless sexual behaviour could give rise to babies with names like Velaphi – Where Did He Come From, December and Phutha Liyenzeka – A Mistake Happens.

“As a department, we now offer both male and female condoms, free of charge. Each and every individual has the responsibility to protect themselves because our labour wards tend to be busiest during September, which means the babies were conceived in December. We shouldn’t have a situation where people fall pregnant ‘by mistake’ and have children with those kinds of names just because we got carried away during December.”