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Thulas Nxesi says Nedlac recommends mandatory vaccinations at workplaces - how we got here

08 December 2021 - 12:19
Employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi said Nedlac on Monday recommended mandatory vaccinations at workplaces and other public places.
Employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi said Nedlac on Monday recommended mandatory vaccinations at workplaces and other public places.
Image: GCIS

Labour and employment minister Thulas Nxesi said on Tuesday the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) has recommended mandatory vaccinations at workplaces where a risk assessment shows a need.

It was agreed this would help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and more lockdowns. 

Nedlac was aware of concerns that might arise in opposition to mandatory vaccinations by businesses and individuals.

Nxesi said Nedlac was confident the proposal would pass constitutional muster and supported a decision by Business Unity SA (Busa) to approach the Constitutional Court for a declaratory order in this regard. 

What the president said 

In a national address last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa called on South Africans to vaccinate against Covid-19 to help get the economy back on track.

The threat of the Omicron variant means SA needs to strengthen its response to the virus by encouraging vaccinations. 

The president said government was considering mandatory vaccinations and was in talks with stakeholders about implementation. SA could not afford to ignore these measures. 

We realise the introduction of such measures is a difficult and complex issue, but if we do not address this seriously and as a matter of urgency we will continue to be vulnerable to new variants and will continue to suffer new waves of infection.” 

Institutions that have implemented mandatory vaccinations 

Some companies, including Discovery and MTN, have introduced mandatory jabs starting next year.

MTN said there is clear evidence showing vaccinations are effective against Covid-19.

“The science is clear. Vaccination against Covid-19 reduces rates of serious infection, hospitalisation and death. As an employer, we have a responsibility to ensure that our workplaces are guided by the highest standards of health and safety and that has informed our decision to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for our staff,” CEO Ralph Mupita said.

Discovery announced its decision to introduce mandatory vaccinations in September. TimesLIVE reported last week the policy was well received by staff, with 95% having received their vaccinations. 

Institutions of higher learning, including Wits University and the University of Cape Town, also have mandatory vaccinations policies.


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