The DA will approach the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to ask it to intervene in what the party calls government’s failure to roll-out the Covid-19 coronavirus vaccines.
Siviwe Gwarube, the DA’s national spokesperson on health, said on Tuesday the party wanted the SAHRC to urgently launch an investigation into “government’s tardy and criminally slow vaccine roll-out strategy”.
Gwarube said for the past few months government had pleaded with South Africans to be patient. It has misled the public, with words such as “secured doses” to create a false sense of security.
“All this is happening while there is a real threat of a third wave of infections which will be exacerbated by the winter season.
“We cannot continue hoping that the impossible delays will be met because nothing has gone according to government’s plan to date. The process [of procuring vaccines] has been marred by breathtaking tardiness.
“This is why the DA will be approaching the SAHRC [to ask it] to launch an investigation into the entire vaccination process thus far. The reality is that the right to health is enshrined in the Constitution and the SAHRC is best-placed to launch such an investigation and make binding findings,” said Gwarube.
She said since South Africa began its vaccine roll-out seven weeks ago under the Johnson
“In the last four days alone, not a single jab has been administered. Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize continuously blames external and global factors for the throttled supply of the vaccines.
“However, South Africa’s acquisition was slow as we received dribs and drabs of supply, thus the roll-out is pitiful,” she said.
The DA will also continue exploring a legal challenge on what it views as government’s failure to secure vaccines.
“Millions of South Africans who are vulnerable to this virus depend on a functioning government that will do what is necessary to roll-out vaccines as soon as possible.
We are not comforted by the publishing of big numbers of ‘secured’ vaccines when we can hardly get the basics right – of targeting healthcare workers and vaccinating a fair amount daily,” Gwarube added.
On Tuesday Mkhize said the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases for South Africa was 1 552 416.
“Today, eight more Covid-19-related deaths have been reported four each in the Free State and Gauteng. This brings the total to 52 995 deaths. We convey our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the health care workers who treated the deceased.
“Our cumulative recoveries today stand at 1 478 088, representing a recovery rate of 95%,” said Mkhize.
When the minister last updated the nation on Sunday the number of those vaccinated under the Sisonke protocol stood at 269 102.