Dlamini-Zuma faces court challenge over South Africa’s vaccine plan

Trade union Solidarity and civil society organisation AfriForum say they are preparing court papers against Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma over the government’s implementation plan for Covid-19 vaccines.

This comes after the minister failed to respond to a letter of demand issued to her by the two organisations on 13 January.

According to Solidarity, the current implementation plan boils down to nationalising the distribution and administering of the vaccine.

“There is no clarity on the rollout of the government’s so-called vaccine plan at the moment. It is also not clear why Drs Dlamini-Zuma and Mkhize have the power to refuse that anyone other than the state may procure vaccines,” said Connie Mulder, head of the Solidarity Research Institute.

“It is a shame that the ministers did not see fit to provide answers about the rollout of the vaccine. That is why we are now forced to take the case to court. In view of the mistrust in the government and their handling of the vaccine issue, exceptional transparency is now of utmost importance.”

Government should still be involved in the process, but there is absolutely no reason why they must be the only institution involved in the process, Mulder said.

“Speed is now of the essence in a process that has already been hopelessly delayed for too long. We now need as many organisations, institutions and sectors as possible to be involved in the procurement and distribution of the vaccine,” he said.

AfriForum said that the minister had more than enough time to provide answers to the two organisations regarding the government’s implementation plan with regard to the vaccine, leaving the two organisations with no choice but to go to court.

“The government’s non-disclosure of information is further proof why it cannot be trusted with a monopoly regarding the purchasing and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.

“A government incapable of demonstrating basic transparency on matters of such a serious nature cannot be given the benefit of the doubt,” Ernst van Zyl, campaign official for strategy and content at AfriForum said.

Read: The Western Cape says it will buy its own Covid-19 vaccines – and is willing to share with the rest of South Africa

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Dlamini-Zuma faces court challenge over South Africa’s vaccine plan