Siyanda Ndlovu
Digital Journalist
1 minute read
25 Jun 2021
12:58 pm

DA questions vaccination rollout budget, demands weekend inoculation

Siyanda Ndlovu

It said the health department was not telling the truth that there are no funds to pay staff to work weekends.

Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital senior nurse May Khumalo vaccinates a man at Assembly Hall in Parktown, Johannesburg. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The DA has called on the national Treasury to make allocations in the budget for weekend vaccinations in a bid to speed up inoculations as the country faces the third wave of Covid-19 with infection numbers surging.

In a statement, the DA said it wanted the government to release the funds needed to pay for staff overtime so that vaccinations can be done at the weekends.

It said that the government was not telling the truth that there was no money to pay staff to work weekends as previously stated by Health Department spokesperson Lwazi Manzi.

“South Africans are waiting to be vaccinated and need to be vaccinated as soon as possible. Every delay is measured in lives lost,” reads the statement.

“It is totally unacceptable to stop (or drastically slow down) vaccinations over weekends, when the funds are available to prevent these delays.”

It said the government should be pulling out all the stops to roll out vaccines.

“In February the Treasury included an allocation of R6 billion in the budget this year to fund the vaccine rollout,” the DA said.

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“This includes R1.5 billion for provincial health departments and R4.35 billion for the national health department. In addition to this, R9 billion was budgeted in the contingency reserve with the explicit commitment that this could be used for vaccine rollout if necessary.”

It said there could be no better time to ensure this “budgeted money is made available to provincial departments to speed up the rollout”‘

It said that the claim there were no funds was an excuse without the truth.

“The funds are available and have been budgeted for. Now is the time to use them,” the DA said.