Labour unions welcome Ramaphosa's move to consider mandatory COVID vaccinations

A task team will be established to consider restrictining entry to unvaccinated people at some places, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

FILE: A woman receives a dose of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from a healthcare worker at the Zwartkops Raceway in Centurion on 13 August 2021. Picture: Phill Magakoe/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - As countries continue to shut their borders to South Africa over the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, here at home, labour unions have welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa's move to consider mandatory vaccinations.

The president on Sunday night said that the country would remain on alert level one but that people should vaccinate.

A task team will be established to consider restricting entry to unvaccinated people at some places.

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"We do realise that the introduction of such a measure is a difficult and complex issue but if we do not implement this as a matter of urgency, we will continue to be vulnerable as a people to new variants and continue to suffer new waves of infection," Ramaphosa said.

President Ramaphosa made several desperate pleas to South Africans on Sunday night to get vaccinated to avoid tighter restrictions.

Trade union federation Saftu is meeting for its central executive committee meeting on Monday and mandatory vaccines for workers is expected to be at the top of the agenda.

Spokesperson Trevor Shaku said that the majority of the workers were in favour of making vaccines mandatory but there were also concerns.

"The only concern that we have is that there are some employers who will be weaponising this, targeting workers to dismiss them without following due process," Shaku said.

Last month, the South African Human Rights (SAHRC) commission found that it would not necessarily be a human rights infringement to compel citizens to get vaccinated and that it would be constitutionally sound.