NATIONAL NEWS - The Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday its lawyers will be sending a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa asking for full details of the vaccine procurement and rollout strategy.
Party leader John Steenhuisen said they will give the President exactly seven days to reply to the letter on how the government intends to manage the vaccination programme. Failure to respond will result in the party taking the government to court.
“We will need absolute clarity from the government… no more double-speak, no more spin, we will need to know the details in full – where are the shipments of the vaccine coming from, how many doses will be in each shipment, and when they will arrive,” Steenhuisen said during Monday’s digital media briefing.
He since warned government not to give the party vague or evasive answers.
“Two decades ago the government was forced to provide and comply with the antiretroviral rollout after it initially refused to divulge details. We will not hesitate to go that route again,” said Steenhuisen.
He said all the information given will have to add up on the numbers that the government has been making public recently.
The Health Minister Zweli Mkhize earlier in January said the first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine was expected to arrive in South Africa before the end of the month, with another expected in February.
Steenhuisen said they were seeking clarity on what will happen when the vaccine has arrived, how it will be stored and distributed.
“We are hurdling towards the end of January and none of this has been made public. If the President does not provide the full plan that covers all of the quantities and timelines we are going to have no choice but to ask the courts to compel him to do so.”
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The party said failure to provide one or more Covid-19 vaccine timeously when these vaccines are available amounts to the violation of people’s rights to access health care services and the right to life as enshrined in section 11 of the Bill of Rights.
Steenhuisen also said that the failure to provide vaccinations timeously is not an excuse to justify the extension of the State of Disaster.
”This ends up affecting the right to human dignity, the right to freedom of person, the right to practice religion and culture, freedom of movement, free occupation of one property and the right to education.”