Amanda Watson
News Editor
2 minute read
27 Jun 2021
6:24 pm

Police have charged EFF for Sahpra vaccines march

Amanda Watson

The EFF's march, demanding vaccines, quickly turned into a super spreader event with hundreds of supports showing up outside Sahpra offices.

The EFF said Sahpra's failure to accede to its demands within 7-days "will leave the EFF with no option but to intensify the struggle and protests". Photo: Twitter/EFFSouthAfrica

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has been charged by the South African Police Service for their march to the South African Health Professionals Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) on Friday.

In a statement on Sunday, it said the march action was against the regulations under the Disaster Management Act.

SAPS spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said: “A case has been registered at SAPS Sunnyside for the contravention of Disaster Management regulations.”

She said when investigations are concluded, “the case will be taken to court.”

ALSO READ: Sahpra unshaken by EFF vaccines march, ‘won’t be influenced by any party’

The police already hinted last Friday that a criminal case would be opened because the party flouted Disaster Management Act regulations. The EFF’s march quickly turned into a super spreader event with hundreds of supports showing up. They marched to the regulator’s offices in Tshwane demanding that Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s Sinovac vaccines be approved.

Sahpra was unmoved by the action, saying it was “an independent, science-based entity” that followed strict approval guidelines for health products.

“It will be a sad day in the country when the regulator is undermined or influenced by any party. Sahpra does not favour any applicant as alleged by the Economic Freedom Fighters,” the regulator said.

The EFF’s Fana Mokoena also alleged Sahpra board chair Professor Helen Rees was not granting approval to the Russian and Chinese vaccines because her husband, Dr Fazel Randera, was a shareholder at Liseko Investments, a partner at Aspen which manufactures the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

On Youth Day, party leader Julius Malema also threatened Sahpra CEO Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela by saying the party will stage a sleep-in at her residence if Sahpra isn’t swayed by Friday’s peaceful march.

Malema also alleged Rees should resign because of her husband’s involvement with Aspen, which is a partner in the production of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine at the Gqeberha plant.

Liseko investments chairperson Dr David Seeketa said in a statement Liseko sold its shares in 2015 prior to Rees’s appointment at Sahpra.
“We take deep exception to the scurrilous libel directed at Liseko and its directors and will pursue such legal remedies as we deem appropriate.”

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(Additional reporting by Sandisiwe Mbhele)