Cape Town – Good party secretary-general Brett Herron was among those who took exception to an anti-vaccine billboard in Beach Road, Maitland, in Cape Town, with questions asked on social media about its legality.
A Cape Town-based company that sells personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitisers erected the anti-vaccine billboard, which states: ’’In Gates you trust. In God we trust. No vaccines for us.’’
SAN-I-TIZE says on its website that it “specialises in the direct importation and distribution of medical and emergency supplies to state and private hospitals, governments and the private sector’’.
’’Not only is the messaging troublesome on its own, it becomes even more so when you realise that as a business that specialises in the direct ’importation and distribution of medical and emergency supplies’, promoting anti-vaccine messaging makes business sense for them,’’ Herron posted on Twitter.
The signboard is illegal as the owner has not applied for authorisation in terms of the City’s Outdoor Advertising and Signage By-law. The company has paid an admission of guilt fine and the City is currently liaising with the owner about the removal of the signboard.
— City of Cape Town (@CityofCT) June 30, 2021
Western Cape Legislature member Herron member also told a radio station: ’’The misinformation in that billboard contravenes regulations. The Bill Gates conspiracy is brought into it… there’s a picture of him. There’s an implied message that Bill Gates is implanting some chip in our bodies, and we should avoid the vaccine on that basis… It’s irresponsible and reckless…
’’A company that is trading in Covid PPE to be supporting this kind of message is cynical and reckless. The hypocrisy is astounding, making a profit while suggesting people shouldn’t be vaccinated.’’
The City of Cape Town said the signboard is illegal as the owner has not applied for authorisation in terms of the City’s Outdoor Advertising and Signage By-law.
’’The company has paid an admission of guilt fine and the City is currently liaising with the owner about the removal of the signboard,’’ the City said.
A Twitter user said: ’’It really seems there are people and companies of questionable integrity wherever one looks in this pandemic.’’
The billboard contravenes the Disaster Risk Management regulations which ban the spread of misinformation about Covid-19.
In announcing the adjusted level 4 lockdown regulations on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: ’’There is still a lot of misinformation being circulated about the Covid-19 vaccine.
’’False stories are being spread on WhatsApp groups, on social media, and by word of mouth about the Covid-19 vaccine, claiming that the vaccine is not safe, that it can make you sick, or that it doesn’t work.
’’I have said it before, and I wish to say it again: please think long and hard before you press share or send. Please consider the harm you may be causing.
’’You are spreading panic, fear and confusion at a time when we can ill-afford it. The scientific evidence before us shows that vaccines work. They are safe. They are effective, and they save lives.’’