‘It’s a vax dompas’ — Carl Niehaus slams vaccine passports

30 November 2021 - 13:30
By Cebelihle Bhengu
Carl Niehaus has weighed in on mandatory vaccinations. File photo.
Image: Jackie Clausen Carl Niehaus has weighed in on mandatory vaccinations. File photo.

Former ANC staffer Carl Niehaus has responded toPresident Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement about possible mandatory vaccinations, alleging that SA is moving towards coercing citizens to have a “vax dompas” before they can access public spaces.

In a televised national address on Sunday, Ramaphosa said the government had set up a task team that will look into making vaccination mandatory for specific activities and locations.

The president said vaccination was imperative for the protection of South Africans and returning the economy to full operation by reopening the tourism and hospitality sectors. 

Niehaus reacted to Ramaphosa's comments, saying: "We are clearly moving into a phase where when South Africans want to travel, when they want to enter restaurant, when they want to go to public entertainment places, will have to show a certificate of vaccination. It is nothing else than a vax dompas."

During the apartheid era a dompas was a permit black South Africans needed if they wanted to travel to certain areas. This was done to limit and control the movement of black South Africans. 

Niehaus, who was hospitalised after he contracted Covid-19 earlier this year, said his decision not to be vaccinated did not imply he is an anti-vaxxer nor hesitant, saying he is exercising his right to choose.

Last month, the SA Human Rights Commission found that mandatory Covid-19 vaccination would not necessarily be a human rights infringement.

The commission said a general law compelling South Africans to get vaccinated would be constitutionally sound under the right circumstances. However, it called on the government to explore all options to encourage voluntary vaccination first.

Niehaus said the president contradicted the statement he made earlier this year when he said vaccination would not be mandatory.

“Nobody will be forced to take this 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,” Ramaphosa said in a national address in February. 

Niehaus said if the mandatory vaccination policy is implemented, Ramaphosa would have to account for his remarks.