he Change Party may be small and insignificant in the broader South African political landscape but its president, Lesiba Molokomme, has raised an important issue that deserves a response from President Cyril Ramaphosa: where does the government stand on the issue of mandatory vaccination?
While Molokomme wants Ramaphosa to endorse the freedom of choice for those refusing to get jabbed, the reality is that the vaccination reluctance is exacerbating the worst public health crisis in this country in more than a century.
And that is more than enough reason for the president to seriously consider whether the individual rights of citizens carry greater weight than the rights of broader society to a safe and healthy environment.
The ANC’s stance is motivated by its history of struggle against imposed laws and to its commitment to human rights, as embodied in the constitution.
Other political parties have also not expressed themselves in favour of mandatory vaccination, despite the fact that, globally it is becoming an accepted fact.
In many countries, jabs are being made mandatory for workers in places like care homes and hospitals and governments are firing workers who refuse to comply.
In South Africa, the move to mandatory vaccination is, conversely, being driven by the private sector and semi-autonomous government institutions like universities.
These entities recognise that not only do they have an obligation to provide a safe working space for their staff – and students in the case of universities – but also that widespread vaccination will reduce the overall risks to the population and allow us to get back to normality.
We are still a long way from achieving that goal, so the government needs to decide on its next move.
Our future is at stake.
OWN YOUR LIFE