Foggers have ‘no role' in preventing Covid, but IEC is still sending them to all voting stations – at taxpayers expense

Medical experts say there’s no role for disinfectant foggers in Covid-19 control, but the Electoral Commission is distributing them to SA’s 23,151 voter registration stations this weekend and plans to order 126,280 more canisters for the upcoming elections.

© Copyright (c) Daily Maverick , All Rights Reserved

The Electoral Commission is distributing disinfectant fogger sprays to each of the 23,151 voting stations that will open this weekend despite health institutions and medical experts stating that fogging is not recommended to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

In a briefing on Thursday ahead of the registration weekend for the local government elections, Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo said each voting station had been provided with disposable face masks, cardboard bins, sanitiser wipes, hand sanitiser, disinfectant fogger sprays and social distance markers “for use as precautionary measures to obviate possible Covid-19 transmissions”.

IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said the Electoral Commission had purchased the fogger sprays and other protective products long in advance of the initially scheduled election date of 27 October.

At the time of writing, Bapela was unable to say how much the IEC had spent on foggers, which companies were involved, or what advice the IEC relied on in deciding to procure the foggers.

“By the time we went to the Constitutional Court to ask for a postponement to February, all of these things had already been bought. So we procured way in advance,” Bapela told Daily Maverick.

Leading health institutions and medical professionals have dismissed the use of foggers as an effective Covid-19 disinfectant for over a year.

In a May 2020 situation report, the World Health Organization said, “In indoor spaces, routine application of disinfectants to environmental surfaces via spraying or fogging (also known as fumigation or misting) is not recommended.”

In June 2020, the Department of Health issued a statement saying, “The Department of Health does not endorse or require ‘deep cleaning’ that involves fumigation, demisting or fogging.”

Guidelines on returning to work from the Department of Basic Education, Department of Public Service and Administration and National Health Laboratory Service all stated that fogging is not recommended to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Professor Francois Venter, divisional head of Ezintsha at Wits University, said, “There is no role whatsoever for fogger sprays. They are potentially dangerous.”

Venter is a member of The Scientists Collective, which includes South Africa’s leading medical scientists and academics. In August 2020, they wrote, “There is NO role for ‘fogging’, ‘disinfection tunnels’, spraying or ‘deep cleaning’ for Covid-19.”

Foggers have been described as ineffective in preventing the spread of Covid-19 and potentially harmful as workers and community members are exposed to the inhalation of disinfectants.

Unnecessary decontamination, deep-cleaning and fogging during the pandemic have also been linked to a number of questionable government contracts.

Electoral Commission Vice-Chairperson Janet Love told Daily Maverick that the health advice on fogging was unclear when the IEC signed contracts with its more than 20,000 voting sites.

She said many venues, which include both private and publicly owned properties, requested their sites be decontaminated or “defogged” during the elections, particularly schools.

After a Maverick Citizen investigation, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probed R431-million spent by the Gauteng Department of Education on decontamination and fogging during the pandemic, leading to the freezing of more than R60-million from 20 companies.

Gauteng Department of Education spent R431-million in three months on unnecessary ‘deep cleaning’ and ‘decontamination’ of schools

Love noted that there was now “more consensus” over the use of foggers to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and said the IEC would ask the Department of Health to provide clarity on the issue. But the IEC is still sending foggers to voting stations this weekend and plans to buy more.

Both IEC spokesperson Bapela and Love noted that the Electoral Commission had procured the foggers and other election gear far in advance of the registration weekend and the election date.

But the IEC has advertised a tender to buy an additional 126,280 400ml canisters of disinfectant fogging spray “for effective disinfection at voting stations” to be delivered no later than 20 October. Bids close on 1 October.

The IEC is under significant pressure to prepare to host open, free, fair and safe elections during the coronavirus pandemic after its application to postpone the vote to February 2021 was denied by the Constitutional Court.

Love said that while the IEC would approach the Department of Health regarding the use of foggers, it still planned to procure more than 120,000 canisters to distribute to voting stations for the 1 November vote.

“The reality is we have a process that’s on the move,” said Love.

She said the Electoral Commission was contractually obliged to distribute foggers to voting stations and could not “pull the plug” on voting sites and did not have the time to renegotiate contracts one by one. DM

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


Teach young people about osteoporosis, says Duchess of Cornwall

The Duchess of Cornwall would like to see more young people being educated about osteoporosis and how to prevent it. © PA BBC handout photo of the Duchess of Cornwall ... Read more »

BP paid ex-MI6 agents to snoop on peaceful climate campaigner

© Provided by City AM BP has hired a private intelligence company set up by former MI6 agents to spy on a peaceful climate activist, according to a joint investigation ... Read more »

Super cold explained: What is the 'super cold'? How can you treat it?

Reports of a “super cold” have increased dramatically recently with many calling it the “worst cold ever”. GPs are reporting high numbers of patients describing Covid-like symptoms despite repeatedly testing ... Read more »

EXPLAINER: How wildfires impact wildlife, their habitat

Wildfire And Wildlife Explainer (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved) The porcupines were walking slow and funny, more so than they usually do. Their stride concerned some residents ... Read more »

Rare error £1 coin sells for £206 on eBay – how to spot one in your change

A RARE £1 coin with a notable minting error has sold on eBay for £206. Only last month a similar coin sold for almost the same price as a buyer ... Read more »

What Mamelodi Sundowns need to do to join Benni McCarthy and Pitso Mosimane

© Provided by The South African Mamelodi Sundowns are aiming to follow in the footsteps of Benni McCarthy and Pitso Mosimane who qualified for the CAF Champions League with their ... Read more »

Ugly Christmas sweaters may be in short supply this year, as the shipping crisis has left them stuck on delayed container ships, a report says

© Ying Tang/NurPhoto via Getty Images Participants in the Ugly Christmas Sweater Run. Ying Tang/NurPhoto via Getty Images A company selling ugly holiday sweaters predicted a shortage amid the supply ... Read more »

Myanmar junta rules out talks with dissidents, including Suu Kyi's ousted government

© Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP Myanmar’s junta on Saturday said it would not engage in talks with coup dissidents, including members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s ousted government, after a loyalist ... Read more »

Tesco website and app disrupted following 'attempt to interfere with our systems'

Users of the Tesco website and app are experiencing disruption following an “attempt to interfere” with the system, the retail giant has said. © Other The Tesco website is displaying ... Read more »

Meet the men joining the fight to end violence against women

© Provided by The Independent John Davis was walking through his local area in north London at 10am one Friday when he saw a man screaming profanities at a woman. ... Read more »

Queen Elizabeth to cut down on royal duties amid health concerns

© Provided by After an overnight stay in hospital forced her to cancel her trip to Northern Ireland earlier this week, it’s been reported that Queen Elizabeth will be ... Read more »

Transfer news: Ricardo Pepi wanted by Liverpool, Manchester United

© Provided by NBC Sports The latest Ricardo Pepi transfer news is that the USMNT teenage sensation has requested a move from FC Dallas and European giants are lining up ... Read more »

Serie A schedule: Watch Inter vs. Juventus, Roma vs. Napoli on Paramount+, CBS Sports Network

Clear your Sunday schedule. Fans will be treated to two of the biggest games of the Serie A season thus far and they’re happening back to back. Napoli (2nd, 24 ... Read more »

Security Council delegation in Mali to push for civilian government

A UN Security Council delegation is expected in the Malian capital Bamako on Saturday to press the transitional government to allow a civilian administration to take over following two coups ... Read more »

Very difficult to put figure on cost of transitioning to net zero – Sunak

Rishi Sunak has said he cannot put a “precise figure” on exactly how much it will cost for the UK to transition to a net zero economy. The Chancellor was ... Read more »

Long & Short of Markets: What could end this bull run? Why are PSU stocks getting rerated?

Déjà vu of 1994? Despite a very strong macro and business cycle, Dalal Street veteran S Naren says the current euphora reminds him of the 1993-94 cycle, where investors had ... Read more »

Croatia's right-wing eurosceptics seek referendum on euro adoption

© Reuters/ANTONIO BRONIC FILE PHOTO: Euro currency bills are pictured at the Croatian National Bank in Zagreb ZAGREB (Reuters) – Croatia’s conservative and eurosceptic party Hrvatski Suverenisti (Croatian Sovereignists) began ... Read more »

Ethiopia conducts air attacks in Tigray region: Gov't

© Provided by Al Jazeera Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has been locked in a war against the TPLF since last November [File: AP] Ethiopia’s military has carried out a ... Read more »

Brazen thieves strike satellite police station making off with guns

© Provided by Eyewitness News CAPE TOWN – Thieves have made off with guns after attacking a satellite police station at Sir Lowry’s Pass in the Western Cape. The town, ... Read more »

iPhone slowing down? How to speed it up by clearing 'Other' storage

If you’re running out of storage space on your iPhone, that doesn’t mean you have to rush out to upgrade to the iPhone 13. In fact, please don’t if that’s the only ... Read more »

Priscilla Chan won't let her own daughters on social media before 13

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Mark Zuckerberg‘s wife Priscilla Chan has revealed how her two daughters, aged five and four, are already learning to code with their tech-whizz father. ... Read more »

iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12 vs. iPhone 11: Portrait mode shootout

The iPhone 13 Pro is here and, unusually, its most vaunted features aren’t its cameras. My CNET colleague Patrick Holland gave the 13 Pro and Pro Max high marks for ... Read more »

Chris Wallace labels Psaki 'one of the best press secretaries ever'

Fox News host Chris Wallace, a former White House correspondent, praised White House press secretary Jen Psaki, calling her “one of the best press secretaries ever.” © Getty Images Chris ... Read more »

Ethiopia launches air strikes in northern and western Tigray

Ethiopia’s military on Sunday launched two air strikes on what a government official said were rebel-held facilities in Tigray, the seventh and eighth bombardments in its war-torn northern region in ... Read more »

Adam Woodyatt's estranged wife left furious as star signs six-figure I'm A Celeb deal – while she struggles for food

ADAM Woodyatt’s estranged wife is furious after he signed a six-figure I’m A Celeb deal — while she relies on food handouts. EastEnders’ Ian Beale is yet to settle his ... Read more »

5,666 kes Covid-19, 6,978 sembuh

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today PETALING JAYA: Kementerian Kesihatan (KKM) melaporkan rekod kes harian Covid-19 dengan 5,666 jangkitan dikesan dalam tempoh 24 jam lalu. Dalam kenyataan media hari ini, ... Read more »

Stage 2 black outs to continue until Tuesday

© Provided by eNCA JOHANNESBURG – Eskom has announced that power cuts will continue until Tuesday night. The utility implemented blackouts from 9 pm on Saturday. The embattled power utility ... Read more »

Nigella Lawson lasted two weeks on vegan diet before she ‘needed eggs, suddenly'

© Provided by The Independent Nigella Lawson has admitted she was only able to do a vegan diet for two weeks before she began craving eggs. The TV cook and ... Read more »

UAE launches ‘major investigation' into Dubai developer Union Properties

© Motivate Publishing Dubai The UAE has launched a “major investigation” into some of the senior executives at Dubai-listed real estate developer Union Properties, the country’s attorney general, Dr Hamad ... Read more »

Lunar Eclipse 2021: Date, timings and which Indian cities will witness grahan, all you need to know

© Provided by Zee News Lunar Eclipse of 2021: As the date for the last lunar eclipse of the year comes closer stargazers in India are in for a treat. ... Read more »

Madhya Pradesh Congress MLA joins BJP ahead of bypolls

The Madhya Pradesh unit of the Congress suffered another blow on Sunday when its MLA, Sachin Birla, switched over to the Bharatiya Janata Party. Sachin Birla joined the BJP at ... Read more »

Bihar Police SI, Sergeant preliminary exam on December 26: BPSSC

The preliminary test of the Bihar Police Sub Inspector and Sergeant recruitment exam will be held on December 26, the Bihar Police Sub-Ordinate Services Commission (BPSSC) has said on October ... Read more »

Never seen such chaos, anarchy in Punjab Congress: Manish Tewari

© Provided by Zee News Chandigarh: Amid sharp exchanges between Punjab Congress leaders and ex-chief minister Amarinder Singh over his friendship with Pakistani journalist Aroosa Alam, senior leader Manish Tewari ... Read more »

Last chance for damage control: Sidhu says won't let real issues of Punjab take back seat

Amid high drama within the Punjab Congress, the party’s state unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday said he would stick to the real issues of Punjab and won’t let ... Read more »

Bruno Fernandes' concerns over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shared by Man Utd teammates

Bruno Fernandes’ concerns over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactics are reportedly shared by several of his Manchester United teammates. Pressure mounts on the Norwegian boss as he endures one of his ... Read more »

'He's rubbish', 'Drop him' - Many Sheff Wed fans slaughter key performer after yet another draw

A number of Sheffield Wednesday supporters have laid into Barry Bannan’s performance after the Owls’ 1-1 draw at home to Lincoln City. © Provided by Transfer Tavern Barry Bannan in ... Read more »

An astronomer at Japan's space agency is making simple animations that reveal the surprising physics of the solar system

© NASA An artist’s concept of our solar system showing a sense of scale and distance. NASA Astronomer James O’Donoghue works at Japan’s space agency and makes animations in his ... Read more »

U.S. urges North Korea to stop missile tests and return to talks

SEOUL, South Korea — A senior U.S. diplomat on Sunday urged North Korea to refrain from additional missile tests and resume nuclear diplomacy, days after the North fired off its ... Read more »

SAMA calls for COVID-19 booster shots for healthcare workers

© Provided by Eyewitness News FILE: Nomvelo Radebe (22) from Soweto received her COVID-19 vaccine jab at Bara Taxi Rank. JOHANNESBURG – The South African Medical Association (SAMA) is calling ... Read more »

3 ways to fix the vicious cycle that's disrupting childcare and making the labor shortage worse

© Juanmonino/Getty Images Juanmonino/Getty Images The childcare industry is dealing with its own labor shortage, making other shortages worse. Parents need care to be able to get back to work, ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic