The government’s failure to be transparent with its Covid-19 vaccine implementation plan could see Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma face court soon. AfriForum and Solidarity are preparing court papers against the minister, they announced in a joint-statement on Thursday.
According to AfriForum, Dlamini-Zuma failed to respond to a letter of demand that was issued to her by both organisations on 13 January, and has had “more than enough time” to provide answers.
The statement accuses the government of playing a “reckless game” by refusing to be transparent in the midst of a pandemic.
SA government can’t be trusted with Covid-19 vaccine monopoly
“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,” said Ernst van Zyl, Campaign Officer for strategy and content at AfriForum.
According to Solidarity, the current implementation plan comes down to nationalising the distribution and administration of the vaccine.
“There is no clarity on the roll-out 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 prohibit anyone but the state to procure vaccines,” says Connie Mulder, head of the Solidarity Research Institute. “It is a shame that the ministers did not see fit to provide answers about the roll-out of the vaccine.
Forced to take vaccine case to court
“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.
“Nobody claims that the government should not be involved in the process too, but there is absolutely no reason why they must be the only institution involved in the process. 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,” Mulder explained.
“It is absolute wishful thinking to try and tackle the vaccination programme alone. The government is clearly determined to fail, and we cannot stop that from happening. However, what we must do, is to stop them from preventing others from succeeding,” Mulder concluded.
In a recent broadcast of Carte Blanche, the current affairs show investigated whether the SA government will be able to provide the vaccine to enough people before 2021 comes to a close. India, Israel and the UK have been quick out the blocks in the race to vaccinate millions of their population. But South Africa still doesn’t have a single dose of a safe vaccine. Although Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said SA should receive 1-million doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine later this month, with a further 500,000 expected in February from India, Carte Blanche says experts are warning that the SA government is dragging its feet. (If you missed the show, you can watch on DStv Now in SA or stream it overseas in most countries).