Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum says it will oppose vaccine mandates if the government decides to make the Covid-19 inoculations mandatory.
“They are unjustifiable violations of personal freedoms,” said AfriForum in a statement.
The organisation has accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of breaking a promise he made to the nation in February.
Ramaphosa, at the time, said nobody would be forced to take the vaccine.
“Nobody will be forbidden from travelling to wherever they want to travel to, including from enrolling at school, or from taking part in any public activity if they have not been vaccinated,” the president had said in a televised address to the nation.
On Sunday, Ramaphosa announced that government had set up a task team to look into making vaccinations mandatory for specific activities and locations.
“Seeing the president go back on this promise is very concerning,” said AfriForum.
Ramaphosa’s address followed the discovery of the Omicron variant by South African scientists.
According to the country’s scientists, Omicron has far more mutations than any previous variant.
There is increasing pressure to achieve population immunity to avoid further lockdowns and restrictions.
“Based on the principle of freedom of choice and constitutional right to bodily autonomy, if the government implements vaccine mandates, AfriForum will take the necessary steps to oppose them,” said Ernst Roets, head of policy and action at AfriForum.
According to the organisation, international examples show that when vaccines are mandatory, it achieves the opposite of what was intended due to hardened attitudes and the backlash it creates.
“If we support state coercion with matters we personally agree on at the moment, we open the door for the state to be able to impose something on us in the future with which we ourselves may have a problem in principle,” said Roets.
“State coercion is and remains dangerous, regardless of its subject matter, and we should not be giving the government consent to use it in an increasingly expanded array of situations. Vaccine mandates are unjustifiable in a free society,” Roets concluded.
Compiled by Narissa Subramoney