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COVID-19 JABS

Business Unity South Africa to seek clarity from court on compulsory vaccination for employees

Business Unity South Africa will seek clarity from the courts about compulsory vaccination in the workplace. (Photo: Facebook)

Business Unity SA expects to get legal clarity from the high court on whether employers and business owners may compel employees to be vaccinated.

Business Unity South Africa (Busa) will approach the high court in the next two months to get a ruling on the constitutionality of compulsory workplace vaccine policies, the organisation’s CEO, Cas Coovadia, said on Tuesday. 

Coovadia said Busa believed a pronouncement from the courts on the constitutionality and legality of mandatory vaccinations would create certainty in the business community. 

“Occupational health and safety regulations enable businesses to institute mandatory vaccination requirements under certain circumstances. A number of businesses have already acted on this. We believe it would create certainty if there is a pronouncement by a court on the constitutionality and legality of mandatory vaccinations. 

“We think mandatory vaccination is critical to ensure as many of our people as possible are vaccinated, so that we can overcome the virus and get back to a semblance of a ‘new normal,’ ” Coovadia said. 

“We are working with the government to consider multifaceted approaches to stimulate demand, including the Vooma weekends, opening up for 12- to 18-year-olds, getting mobile vaccination sites to people and other mechanisms.”  

Just over 180,000 vaccines were administered on Monday, according to the Department of Health’s vaccination stats — a far cry from the goal of 300,000 set by President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

Coovadia said Busa supported a policy of mandatory vaccination. 

He said Busa was still consulting about possible legal exemptions to compulsory vaccinations. 

Meanwhile, the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber has expressed concern about the low rate of vaccination take-up in the metro and the impact this could have on economic activity during the December holiday period. 

“Current estimates are that the fourth wave could affect our country from early December and if insufficient people are vaccinated this is likely to place pressure on the hospitals and place limitations on economic activity,” said Denise van Huyssteen, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.  

“This could potentially be devastating to the tourism and hospitality sectors in particular, who have already suffered immensely since the onset of the pandemic. 

“We should be using this period to do everything possible to proactively accelerate the rate of vaccinations in order to achieve herd immunity.  

“We appeal to all stakeholders — including business, churches and civil society — to unite around the goal of providing the facts around vaccinations and making this as accessible as possible to all communities,” Van Huyssteen said. 

In KwaZulu-Natal, MEC for Health Nomagugu Simelane addressed the latest rumours about the vaccine — that it would turn people into bloodthirsty cannibals — saying she herself is living proof that the vaccine is safe for use. 

“As I stand before you, I’ve never had the urge to eat anyone, and it will never happen. So, what people are saying about the vaccine making people want to eat others… of being part of 5G technology, or linked to the work of the devil, is all nothing but a myth. It is not true.”

Simelane was speaking on Tuesday during a mobile community outreach programme known as Isibhedlela Kubantu, at Magabheni Sports Ground near Umkomaas, which attracted more than 500 mainly elderly people. 

KwaZulu-Natal has now vaccinated around 3.2 million people — 32% of its eligible population. 

In the Western Cape, the Department of Health released statistics showing that it had vaccinated 45% of the province’s total population, with 34% fully vaccinated. 

A department statement said: “The latest data shows that in many areas there is a difference in insured and uninsured populations, and thus the specific focus of the Health Department will be to ensure that those over 50 years old in uninsured areas receive full vaccination by December 2021.” 

According to the latest statistics from the national Department of Health, the Eastern Cape has vaccinated 42% of its eligible population, the Free State 43%, Gauteng 33%, Limpopo 42%, Mpumalanga 30%, North West 35% and the Northern Cape 37%. DM/MC

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