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Many more will die unless SA overcomes pandemic, says Ramaphosa

The president also warned that the economy recovery rate would be limited, and that jobs would not be created at the rate aspired, among other setbacks.

Professional healthcare workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) attend to a patient inside the temporary ward dedicated to the treatment of possible COVID-19 coronavirus patients at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria on 11 January 2021. Picture: Phill Magakoe/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday said unless South Africa overcomes the COVID-19 pandemic, many more people will lose their lives.

The president also warned that the economy recovery rate would be limited, and that jobs would not be created at the rate aspired, among other setbacks.

He explained, this is why the government would do all in its power to raise funds to pay for vaccines - even if it meant more borrowing.

This is contained in Ramaphosa’s leaked address to the African National Congress (ANC) lekgotla that got underway on Friday.

Ramaphosa said the primary source of funding for vaccines was the fiscus, and acknowledged that the country’s resources were constrained.

In the same breath, he stressed that the vaccination cannot could not deferred since the cost in human lives and to the economy would be far greater than that of inoculating 40 million people.

WATCH: SA's vaccine strategy: what you need to know

Another funding approach he mentioned was through the private sector, including options provided by medical aids.

They have committed to covering the costs for their members with discussions underway to determine how they could extend assistance to other members of society.

Ramaphosa said government anticipated it would be able to cover the cost of purchase, storage, distribution and administration of all vaccines needed.

It is estimated that the vaccination programme would cost about R20 billion.

Despite borrowing billions of rand from international finance bodies for COVID-19 last year, the country’s fiscus is currently unable to pay for the vaccines.

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