South Africa

Vaccine Politics

Malema claims ‘mines, supermarkets are super-spreaders, not EFF’ as party marches on Sahpra offices

Malema claims ‘mines, supermarkets are super-spreaders, not EFF’ as party marches on Sahpra offices
Members of the EFF march to the offices of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority to demand that the organisation speed up the approval of Russia’s Sputnik vaccine in Pretoria on 25 June 2021. (Photo: Supplied)

At a ‘March to Save Lives’ on Friday in Pretoria, the EFF flouted disaster regulations in place to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and threatened the women in charge of the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority. The combative party submitted a memorandum to the Sahpra, giving it seven days to adhere to its demands for vaccines from China and Russia, or face a sit-in at the home of their CEO.

EFF leader Julius Malema brushed aside accusations that the party’s protest march, by a conservative estimate of at least a thousand supporters to the offices of the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) on Friday, was a super-spreader event, saying that indoor supermarkets and mines posed a greater risk for the virus to spread. 

“They are saying our event is a super-spreader. It’s not true, we are meeting here for a few minutes, then we are going home. The mines are operating underground without masks but they are not called super-spreaders.

“Those are our mothers and fathers,” said Malema.

“Shoprite, Pick n Pay and other white-owned stores are open,” said Malema during the Pretoria march to demand approval for Covid-19 vaccines produced in China and Russia.

See a critical analysis here by Rebecca Davis ahead of Friday’s action: Why the EFF’s March on Sahpra should be rejected with contempt.

“There is no compliance underground but no one is saying it’s a super-spreader because it’s white monopoly capital. They say the EFF event is a super-spreader because they want to stifle political debate,” the EFF leader said.

Malema told supporters that the EFF had initially supported lockdown efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19, but that the government had squandered the time – and money. 

Members of the EFF march to the offices of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) to demand that the organisation speed up the approval of Russia’s Sputnik vaccine in Pretoria, on Friday 25 June, 2021. Photo:Supplied

At the start of the march, EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo appealed for supporters to adhere to lockdown protocols, but instead of physical distancing, the crowd huddled together for about two hours. Pockets of party members scattered elsewhere in the park did not wear masks. They openly drank alcohol and nobody said anything to them.

There was also a lot of hugging and handshaking among the red berets. 

The march to the Sahpra offices was held as acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane warned that tough action needed to be taken against super-spreader events. At a briefing on Friday morning, she called for “consequences” where public gatherings exceed the numbers stipulated in the disaster regulations, adding that Gauteng was in a grave situation. 

The protest follows a gathering by Ace Magashule supporters outside the South Gauteng High Court on Thursday, where more than a hundred of his supporters took to the streets in solidarity with the ANC secretary-general, who is challenging his suspension from the party. The court hearing, which continued on Friday, has been held virtually amid the surge in Covid cases in Gauteng.

In terms of the Disaster Management Act regulations, under the current lockdown level 3,public gatherings are limited to 100 people outdoors and no more than 50 people indoors.

News24 reported on Friday that police are set to open a criminal case against the convenor of the EFF protest for the alleged contravention of Disaster Management Act regulations. Police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili told News24 that police did not take action against the large group of protesters because they wanted to avoid a chaotic situation. 

Officials were aware about plans for the march beforehand. A statement by the Tshwane Metro Police Department on Thursday confirmed knowledge of the march on Sahpra on Friday, noting the route the protesters would take, warning of road intersections that would be affected, and calling on the public to use alternative routes.

Dozens of South African Police Service and Tshwane metro police officers  observed the march.

Malema led supporters with deputy president Floyd Shivambu and party general secretary Marshall Dlamini.

EFF leader Julius Malema looks on as they march to the offices of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) to demand that the organisation speed up the approval of Russia’s Sputnik vaccine in Pretoria, on Friday 25 June, 2021. Photo:Supplied

“Our demands are simple: we want vaccines. All we are saying is bring more so that we can vaccinate more of our people,” Malema said.

“If you lock down the country, put a plan in place. Approve the other two vaccines from Russia and China, that’s the only way to rid us of Covid-19.

“We are here for one simple thing, the rest of the writing is just English, we want other vaccines besides J&J and Pfizer [sic],” he said.

Malema accused Sahpra of not approving Sputnik V and Sinovax “because they want to give the advantage to J&J”.

He blasted Sahpra accusing it of siding with white monopoly capital and self-enrichment. The EFF then took aim at Sahpra chair, Helen Rees, and the body’s CEO, Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela, calling on both to resign.  

Members of the African Transformation Movement were also present, with  a representative, Servant Ndzwanana saying: “We support the EFF’s call for more vaccines. We are saying this is the only way to save the masses from the deadly virus”.

Marchers dispersed around 2pm to catch buses and other transport home. 

Political scientist and author Professor Susan Booysen described the protest as “preposterous and opportunistic”.

“It interferes with the meticulous processes of testing and screening in the medical fraternity,” Booysen said, adding that it was aimed at getting political mileage from the governing party’s underperformance on the vaccination front, despite signs of an improvement and a widening rollout.  The EFF was trying to position itself at the centre of popular discourse, as the saviour of a corrupted nation. But, Booysen said, she cannot see how its strategy can work. DM



Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • John Bestwick says:

    Catch a virus you ridiculous pompous moron. And Bheki Cele i did not see you rushing to disband this illegal gathering. Perhaps no TV or white people to make an ass of yourself about???

  • John Buchan says:

    EFF should be eternally graceful for White Monopoly Capital and doing all he can to protect and grow it. Without WMC there would be no money to plunder. Once it’s gone, where and what will he loot?

  • Diablo DC says:

    I agree that something must be done to speed up the vaccine rollout. The ANC government should be charged with Genocide. Gross negligence to the highest degree. At the cost of FAR too many lives. #VoetsekANC

    • Alley Cat says:

      I so agree with you! No need for Sputnik or Sino. If this useless bunch in the ANC had spent less time looting Covid money and more acquiring vaccines, we could be ahead of the curve right now.
      So frustrating and irritating!

  • Gerhard Pretorius says:

    One of the problems with Jules is that he forever runs on half-truths. All stores are super spreaders, not only so-called white-owned ones. Are black-owned ones closed during this crazy period?
    Mne workers have masks long before covid as part of their PPE. And so forth.
    What stands out about Jules is that he loves money. Lots if it. And he is extremely jealous about everyone who has it, black and white, obtained legally or not.
    And he is running out of original ideas. He is getting so boring and predictable that I won’t even bother to read anything further about him.

    • Geoff Young says:

      Agree 100%, well said sir. Just like a certain ex-President of the USA, he craves attention and publicity to feed his massive ego.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    I’m sure SAHPRA is aware that in  the Seychelles, Chile, Bahrain and Mongolia, 50 to 68 percent of the populations have been fully inoculated with the Chinese vaccine. All four ranked among the top 10 countries with the worst Covid outbreaks as recently as last week. Indonesia now joins them where 20 doctors fully Vaccinated with Sinovax have died. It didn’t seem to work.

    • Coen Gous says:

      So right you are….but one country you omitted, is Russia. Despte their Sputnik V vaccine, it still, and has been for the last 12 months, still one of the worst. Yesterday 20,000 new cases, 600 deaths. Population: 145 million.
      Total cases since pandemic started: 5.4 million, total deaths 132,000. And that is only what has been reported, because in the first six months they hardly reported. Just as China does not report.

    • Coen Gous says:

      Likely that DM will delete my original reply, so I’ll stick to the following: Data provided by WHO, Russia still rates amongst the highest in the world, despite their Sputnik V vaccine. Their cases have no dropped on a daily basis on average. China off course does not report at all.

    • Coen Gous says:

      After studying the Daily Maverick’s policy on comments in some detail, I have no idea why my previous post is “awaiting moderation”. In other words, basically deleted. All I did was to highlight the severity of Covid-19 across the world. The whole of South America can be classified as a persona-non-grata, with Brazil in a dire straits situation. Figures provided on a daily basis by country, by day, provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) are available on a website. But I can only presume my post has been deleted because it mentioned the source (website address), which is anything but illegal. In fact, very informative, as it puts a lot of things in perspective. Like the impact vaccines had on the number of cases and deaths in the USA and in many other countries. I applaud our Health Authority for doing proper testing on all vaccines before it being approved, despite the fact that South Africa lags behind in the vaccination roll-out. There are proof that many vaccines used in some countries are not as effective as others. South Africa certainly don’t need those!

  • Brian Cotter says:

    Anarchy is a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority or other controlling systems. Lack of action for this march by Police at the time, it had been broadcast that it was going to happen, means that EFF can do what they want whenever they want. Everyone please imagine if this march took place in China or Russia, what would happen there. They wouldn’t stand for it.

  • Charles Parr says:

    Julius and the EFF can have as many Chinese and Russian vaccines as they like but then they must rabble rouse amongst themselves and not bother anyone else.

  • Dellarose Bassa says:

    Why use the French beret? Can’t give up white monopoly capitalist gear? Why not give up everything western- like all that Gucci gear & Breitling watches & expensive whiskey? The Govt should call the EFF bluff and make the Russian & Chinese vaccines available to Julius Malema, Floyd Shivambu, Vuyani Pambo & their ilk – with a condition that they take those vaccines entirely voluntarily AT THEIR OWN RISK and that they cannot sue the Govt or the makers of the vaccines should they suffer untoward side-effects. They should also agree to be vaccinated publicly. By the way, where is Dr Ndlozi, the previous spokesperson of the EFF? He’s been very quiet, in fact invisible, for some time now. Is he lying low because he knows that the Julius & Floyd are in deep s–t over the VBS millions? is he wary of guilt by association?

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      😀 juju, even those fancy red overalls you wear are of western origin (Levi Strauss I believe). So, stand up for your principles and get your kit off. Oh, and those underpants of yours …they have to go too; along your shoes and socks. Here’s a fun game suggestion for you: go through your stuff and place all the indigenous things you have in a pile. Then make a pile of all your stuff that was not invented in Africa. Do, please let us know which pile is bigger so we can all join in the fun. What a joke.

  • Gazeley Walker says:

    Why would authorities act against Malema for a “march” when they completely ignore his part in the VBS bank looting? He is being used by the ANC as the voice that presents the racial disharmony the ANC need to maintain to stay in power. Why is anything he does or says so “newsworthy” when clear evidence of his VBS looting beneficiary status is hardly ever mentioned?

  • Rob vZ says:

    Does Juju suffer from Tourette’s syndrome? He seems incapable of finishing a sentence without using the word “white”.

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