The Executive Mayor of Mogale City Local Municipality has with grave concern noted the circulation of incorrect and false information related to our partnership with Scientology Volunteer Ministers (SVM). Social media and WhatsApp groups have been abuzz with information about the NGO whom people have been referring to as “men in white PPF” sanitizing our communities.
With Covid-19 emerging as a rapidly evolving pandemic, the World Health Organization encourages government and communities to ensure that public spaces are kept free from sources of infection and contamination. This includes adopting various control measures such as cleaning, sanitising and decontaminating of spaces to prevent the spread of the virus and its agents. It is against this background that the municipality over and above work done by the West Rand District Command Centre, engaged the voluntary services of this non-profit organisation at no cost.
The District Command Centre, inclusive of Mogale City Local Municipality and other sister municipalities in the West Rand has already out a Public Spaces Sanitisation Programme in place. This programme in Mogale City aims to cover high-traffic areas such as taxi ranks, government buildings, parking lots, sidewalks, spaza shops, stadiums and township spaces that are densely populated.
Our collaboration with SVM (https://www.volunteerministers.org/) which was also informed by their partnership with other government institutions all over South Africa including the national and provincial Departments of Social Development was purely on the basis of them having launched the Covid-19 Disaster Response Programme to manage the spread of Covid-19. When the municipality was made aware of this programme and knowing the specific areas of focus of the district programme, we welcomed this cost-free partnership as a major support catalyst in mitigating and curbing the spread of the virus in our city.
The SVM team consists of 50 volunteers inclusive of both African (Black) and white staffers who use Decon7 fogging machines which is the highest level of decontamination. It is environmentally safe and consists of hydrogen peroxide, detergent soap, inorganic salts, hydrogen peroxide booster and water to neutralize viruses and bacteria which can also be harmful if it gets in your eyes or covers a large area of your skin. It is for this reason that SVM staff must be in protective gear when decontaminating spaces. The chemical must also be wiped off after 15 minutes of discharging in households.
To date, SVM in consultation with Mogale City Covid-19 Task Team has been working in various communities in the city with the help of our ward councillors to identify high risk densely populated and high-traffic areas in our wards. These areas include hostels and homes of the elderly who are vulnerable to contract the virus as well as families that might not be privileged to afford sanitizing material.
I therefore wish to inform our constituency that this partnership is purely based on the priority to make and keep our environments safe from the evolving Covid-19. We realise that there might not have been proper communication to our communities prior embarking on this project but the public should note that no tender was issued, the project is at no cost to the municipality and the decontamination process will not poison any person whose home or surrounds have been disinfected.
Lastly, I would also like to implore the community of Mogale City to desist from creating, spreading, promoting and believing news when the source is not formal or lacks justification as this is not only a criminal offence but also negatively affects the image of the municipality. Communities are therefore encouraged to verify information with their local ward councillors before spreading any information.
REMEMBER TO BE SAFE, STAY HOME, PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS.
Mogale City Local Municipality Executive Mayor