Civil society group Afriforum says it will oppose the introduction of Covid-19 vaccination mandates in South Africa, citing Constitutional issues.
In a national address on Sunday evening (28 November), president Cyril Ramaphosa said that government plans to introduce mandatory vaccinations for certain activities.
“Government has set up a task team that will undertake broad consultations on making vaccination mandatory for specific activities and locations,” he said.
“The task team will report to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Vaccination chaired by the deputy president, which will make recommendations to Cabinet on a fair and sustainable approach to vaccine mandates.”
In a letter sent to Ramaphosa on Monday, Afriforum said vaccine mandates are unjustifiable violations of personal freedoms and that it will oppose vaccine mandates if implemented by the government.
It further cited a February 2021 address by Ramaphosa in which he stated that no one would be forced to take a Covid-19 vaccination in South Africa.
“On the basis of the principle of freedom of choice and constitutional right to bodily autonomy, if the government implements vaccine mandates, AfriForum will take the necessary steps to oppose them,” said Ernst Roets, head of Policy and Action at AfriForum.
Roets said that allowing the policy would open the door for the state to introduce further restrictions in the future.
“State coercion is and remains dangerous, regardless of its subject matter, and we should not be giving the government consent to use it in an increasingly expanded array of situations. Vaccine mandates are unjustifiable in a free society,” he said.