Citizen Reporter
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2 minute read
9 Dec 2021
9:36 am

Busa not seeking declaratory order on vaccine mandates from ConCourt

Citizen Reporter

The lobby group also clarified that it had taken the view that the current OHS guidelines do enable employers to put into place mechanisms to enable vaccination of all staff.

Picture: iStock

Business Unity South Africa (Busa) has moved to clarify its position on vaccine mandates, saying it has not approached the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) to get a declaratory order on the legality of making Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for workplaces.

This follows the announcement made on Tuesday by Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi that government supported Busa going to the ConCourt to get a declaratory order on vaccine mandates.

The minister made the announcement at the 26th annual national summit of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), which endorsed calls for government to make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory by barring unvaccinated individuals from having access to certain public activities and locations.

ALSO READ: Nedlac backs calls for vaccine mandates for workplaces, public areas

Busa’s chief executive officer Cas Coovadia on Wednesday said they had indicated that the business lobby group would consult their legal advisors about the possibility of applying to the high court for a declaratory order to provide additional legal certainty to back up the Occupational Safety and Health (OHS) guidelines already in place, which some employers have relied on to enforce vaccine mandates. 

Coovadia said Busa was in the process of doing this but would not be able to put in an application in January next year, as some reports have stated.

He said after their senior counsel is satisfied that Busa has the necessary case to apply for a declaratory order, then they would go ahead and lodge their application in the high court.

“Our advocate and junior counsel are, in the meantime, preparing the necessary affidavits,” Coovadia said in a statement.

OHS guidelines

Busa also clarified that it had taken the view that the current OHS guidelines do enable employers to put into place mechanisms to enable vaccination of all staff to meet their responsibility of ensuring a safe workplace for all their staff.

“This is being undertaken within the confines of the guidelines and we are seeing incredibly positive responses from all staff in firms that have applied the OHS guidelines.

“Discovery has indicated that staff vaccinations have risen from barely one-fifth to over 94% in the three months since they announced plans to make jabs compulsory from 1 January 2022. We have seen comparable results in other firms.

“This is exactly the type of behaviour we need to encourage, and we urge more employers to follow suit.”

Busa reiterated that the most effective weapon against Covid-19 was vaccination and adherence to non-medical health protocols.

“The science is clear that vaccinated people will not get seriously ill if they contract the virus. Vaccinating is also a necessary element to manage the virus and avoid a harder lockdown. It is thus the responsible thing to do, from a health and economic point of view, to vaccinate!”

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe

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