Alex Japho Matlala
2 minute read
17 Dec 2021
7:30 am

Limpopo government forges on with roadside vaccination drive

Alex Japho Matlala

Limpopo's roadblock vaccination drive was met with resistance from ordinary citizens, who accused the premier of infringing on their rights.

Healthcare workers administer the first batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto on 17 February 2021, as health workers receive the first jabs of the vaccine in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Michel Bega

As part of its multi-sectoral approach to fight and minimise the spread of Covid, nurses and other health practitioners in Limpopo will leave their comfort zones in hospitals and clinics, to embark on an aggressive drive to vaccinate drivers and passengers on roadsides and roadblocks lined up across the province this festive season.

This was revealed by Limpopo premier and ANC provincial chair Stan Mathabatha on Tuesday evening on Newzroom-Afrika.

Mathabatha said as part of the multi-sectoral approach towards the 2021 festive season, the province will take the jabs to the roads where there would be people travelling to different destinations to enjoy the festive season with their families and their loved ones.

“Our health department officials will join the South African Police Service (Saps) and traffic police at all major roads targeting to vaccinate those who are not vaccinated. This is part of the strategy to reach our 70% vaccination target and people who require to be vaccinated would get the jab at all stops, filling stations including roadblock,” he said, adding that the jab would be available for those willing to take it.

But the roadblock vaccination drive was met with mixed feelings from ordinary citizens, who accused the premier of infringing on their constitutional rights.

One angry resident, Geoffrey Madia of Lephepane village had only this to say: “Who does he think he is to force people to take the jabs. It is my right to agree or disagree for vaccination. Mathabatha will have to approach the constitutional court to force me to vaccinate.”

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Another resident, Phillip Machuneni of Morutji in Bolobedu said: “These guys are playing games with us. First President Cyril Ramaphosa said vaccination is not compulsory. Now they are threatening to refuse us entry in shops and recreational facilities such as soccer stadiums if we have not vaccinated. Worse, now they want to jab us on the roads. That is unfair.”

In response, Limpopo provincial government spokesperson, Ndavhe Ramakuela poured cold water on allegations of forceful vaccinations.

“Premier Mathabatha said government will provide opportunity for people who are not vaccinated to easily get vaccinated at various roadblocks that are set up across the province. He does not intend to force people to be vaccinated against their will.”

Ramakuela said Limpopo is leading among the provinces in terms of number of adults vaccinated than any other province in the country. “This is so because the province has been able to go to schools, farms, work places, and sporting events.”

Compiled by Alex Matlala