EFF's Nazier Paulsen dragged for suggesting MPs be among first to get Covid-19 vaccine

19 February 2021 - 09:30
By cebelihle bhengu AND Cebelihle Bhengu
EFF MP Nazier Paulsen wants the government to vaccinate MPs. File photo.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER/SUNDAY TIMES EFF MP Nazier Paulsen wants the government to vaccinate MPs. File photo.

EFF MP Nazier Paulsen ruffled some feathers on Thursday with his suggestion that government prioritise MPs in the administration of the Covid-19 vaccines rollout.

SA received 80,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Tuesday.

Here’s an idea, MPs and all parliamentary staff get vaccinated and we resume full parliamentary activity. It’s not a huge dent in that 80,000 doses,” he tweeted.

In another tweet, the EFF MP said the apartheid regime would have ensured that MPs get vaccinated “so that they can continue to maintain apartheid”. 

While a few followers agreed with him, many more said MPs, unlike health workers, should not be prioritised in vaccination.

With schools having reopened on Monday, others questioned why MPs can't return to parliament.

DA shadow minister Phumzile Van Damme also opposed the idea, saying MPs are not a priority when it comes to vaccinations.

No. We aren’t special. Parliament runs just fine in hybrid virtual. Vaccinate the vulnerable first.”

Paulsen said not all MPs have this option.

“Some MPs can’t visit their constituencies virtually. I’m happy that your constituency is sorted.” 

Here's some of the reactions to his tweets:

President Cyril Ramaphosa and health minister Zweli Mkhize were among the first to get vaccinated in SA.

They joined health workers at Khayelitsha District Hospital on Wednesday. Groote Schuur and Tygerberg Hospitals in the Western Cape also received their share of the 13,000 Covid-19 jabs sent to the province.

Ramaphosa said he was expecting a smooth and flawless rollout of the vaccines across the country. He also committed government support to health workers.

“I would like to say to all the doomsayers who have been preaching that there is going to be total mayhem and disaster, I think let’s all have hope and faith in our system, in our health workers and let’s give them an opportunity to do what they do best because they know how this vaccination process is going to unfold.

“For us in government, we will continue to give them support and help and all the assistance that we are able to give them,” he said.