Kubayi-Ngubane lambasts political pressure on Sahpra to rush vaccine approval

In a scathing statement, Kubayi-Ngubane said forcing Sahpra to authorise the use of vaccines at a whim, without due process being followed, was a dangerous demand.

Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane visited Bara Hospital on Saturday. Picture: Gauteng Province.

JOHANNESBURG – Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has hit out at political parties that are critical of Sahpra, saying the body should not be forced to do its work due to political pressure.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has demanded that the regulator procure other vaccines, especially those manufactured in Russia and China, to be part of South Africa's inoculation drive.

In a scathing statement, Kubayi- Ngubane said forcing Sahpra to authorise the use of vaccines at a whim, without due process being followed, was a dangerous demand.

READ: SAHPRA stresses process must be followed before COVID-19 vaccines are apporved

She said the demands by political parties were threatening the mandate of the regulatory authority.

The acting minister's spokesperson Hlengiwe Nhlabathi-Mokota said, “The regulator has consistently outlined to the public processes that need to be followed before the registration and approval of any vaccines to be used as part of government’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19. This cannot be done in the absence of any clear information about the efficacy of products that have not undergone rigorous testing by the regulator.”

Meanwhile, EFF leader Julius Malema maintained his defiance of government's efforts yesterday to contain the spread of COVID-19, saying his party is opposed to any lockdown measures in the absence of a viable vaccine roll-out programme.

Malema joined his supporters in a march on Friday, demanding that vaccines manufactured in Russia and China be including in governments national vaccine drive to increase supply.

The march has been widely criticised as a super spreader event as masses of people were mobilised in Pretoria with no visible social distancing, at a time when health officials were pleading with everyone in Gauteng to only leave their homes when necessary.

WATCH: EFF vows to resist tougher COVID-19 rules as they demand more vaccines

Thousands of EFF supporters protested in Pretoria, in violation of lockdown regulations on gatherings and safety protocols.

They demanded approval of the Chinese and Russian COVID-19 vaccines for us in South Africa.

Some wore face masks, others didn’t, while many chanted songs as their masks hung from their faces.

One of the marchers said, “We need the vaccine from China.”

Malema told his members that even though they supported the first national lockdown, they will continue to defy lockdown regulations until more diverse vaccines are procured.

“Lockdown is not the solution. The solution is to vaccinate majority of South Africans.”

SAHPRA, in turn, remains firm that science will determine when and if the vaccines should be used.

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