Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
20 Jan 2021
11:51 am

Mabuza leading Covid-19 vaccine rollout is like ‘blind leading the blind’

Citizen Reporter

There are concerns that the deputy president may not have what it takes to ensure the country's vaccine rollout doesn't become an unmitigated disaster.

Deputy President David Mabuza Picture: Jacques Nelles

ActionSA president Herman Mashaba, in a statement, has described Deputy President David Mabuza’s appointment as leader of the government’s inter-ministerial task team for Covid-19 vaccine rollouts as a “plan for the blind to lead the blind”.

Mashaba indicated that this was an admission that the government had no plans for the vaccine rollout.

This after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announced that an inter-ministerial task team on the vaccine rollout will be established under the leadership of Mabuza on Tuesday.

The news came following Treasury’s announcement that it was considering raising taxes to fund a vaccination programme, increasing the ever-growing burden on South African taxpayers.

“Mabuza has been responsible for chairing the task team to turnaround around Eskom for the past two years. The announcement of his leadership on the vaccine rollout, while South Africans look set to deal with months of load shedding, does not inspire confidence,” said Mashaba.

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Mashaba also said that he was deeply concerned about the lack of information about experts in the fields of finance, vaccinology, transport and logistics, operations and various other fields that would be helpful to the work of such a task team.

“The news reported by News24 this morning, that leaked communications from Pfizer have demonstrated our government’s indecisiveness around vaccine procurement as far back as June last year, demonstrate how we have been lied to as a nation.

“ActionSA believes that the best move government could make right now, is to appoint a team of the brightest minds in our country to spearhead the vaccination efforts and for politicians to stay out of the way,” said Mashaba.

Not only Mashaba that is worried

DA MP and spokesperson on health, Siviwe Gwarube, said on Tuesday the party did not believe that Mabuza was a competent and reliable figure to oversee the process due to his “history of failure in governance”.

“As premier of Mpumalanga, Mabuza ran the province like his own personal fiefdom where corruption, political violence, and the complete collapse of the state is still a lasting legacy in the province,” Gwarube said in a statement.

“He currently serves as the chairperson of the political task team on Eskom, a position in which he has failed dismally. South Africa is nowhere close to energy security since Mabuza has been brought on board, in fact we have been plunged further into darkness,” she added.

Mashaba shared similar concerns, saying the current load shedding crisis did not augur well for the vaccine rollout under Mabuza.

Gwarube said Mabuza had effectively been an absentee deputy president since the beginning of Covid-19 outbreak in the country last year, accusing him of hiding for the past 10 months.

ALSO READ: Mabuza ‘not the right man’ to head ministerial Covid-19 vaccine body, says DA

“It is, therefore, unconscionable that president Ramaphosa would entrust one of the most monumental tasks of South Africa’s democratic dispensation in the hands of a man who is not only allegedly corrupt but who is clearly incapable of overseeing a programme of this magnitude,” she said.

“David Mabuza is simply not the right man for the job.”

Gwarube also said that Mabuza’s appointment to the IMC “proved that South Africa’s Covid vaccine plan is now no longer about saving lives. It is about his political alliances within the ANC”.

“It is also unclear why, of all the people in the executive, he would choose somebody who has not done an iota of work on this crisis. This is nothing more than ANC factional battles playing itself out,” she said.

Additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe

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