- Solidarity's youth wing says it will not hesitate to act against any university that wants to make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for students.
- This as the University of Cape Town (UCT) confirmed it is looking into implementing a mandatory vaccination policy.
- Its proposal is expected to be discussed during a Senate meeting on Friday.
Trade union Solidarity's youth wing is threatening to act against universities that want to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory.
This after the University of Cape Town (UCT) confirmed it was looking into implementing a mandatory vaccination policy.
Solidarity Youth said it would not hesitate to act on behalf of its members against any university that wanted to make vaccinations mandatory.
Its manager, Paul Maritz, said such action came down to discrimination.
"A public university's aim is to make tertiary education accessible to all in the country.
"By introducing vaccine passes at these institutions, universities deprive certain students and prospective students of the right to receive education and it grants more rights to others based on those students' medical conditions.
"This gross violation of rights cannot be permitted under any circumstances."
According to Maritz, Solidarity Youth supported incentives that would motivate students to be vaccinated, but regulations that restricted people's rights could in no way be supported:
The proposed motion, which News24 has in its possession, recommended the council should resolve, at its October 2021 meeting or sooner, to institute a mandate from 1 January 2022 requiring all staff (as a condition of being able to perform their duties) and students (as a condition of registration) to provide acceptable proof of having been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.
The motion stated the pandemic had largely had a negative effect on the university community, including parents and guardians (who are simultaneously staff, in some cases) who faced significant challenges in the shift to emergency remote teaching (in 2020), and physically distanced learning (in 2021).
"It is shocking that there is an assumption that young people could be denied access to higher education institutions on the basis of their vaccination status, especially in a country where youth unemployment is the already the highest in the world.
"The government should rather do everything in its power to make universities and other tertiary institutions as accessible as possible rather than preventing students from entering the premises.
"Solidarity Youth will not hesitate to become involved in this matter and to protect the rights of its members in this regard," Maritz said.
Meanwhile, UCT Senate debated a motion on mandatory vaccination at a meeting held on Friday.
The University spokesperson Elijah Moholola said: "Senate discussed and deliberated on this complex matter fully, taking into consideration a range of views. A ballot of the Senate members present at the meeting will follow early next week. Further updates will be available after the aforementioned ballot has been concluded."
He added any final decision on a matter of policy for the university will have to be a decision of the university Council.
"If taken forward, any decision on the motion will ultimately be made by Council as the university’s highest decision-making body. Council will consider the proposal thoroughly before coming to any decision. The university continues to encourage students and staff to get vaccinated," Moholola said.
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