CIVIL society group Afriforum and trade union Solidarity have threatened to take legal action over the government’s decision to be the sole purchaser of the Covid-19 vaccine.
This comes after Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Thursday that the government would use a multiple-supplier approach where they would utilise a number of players to supply the vaccines. The national Department of Health will contract with suppliers to purchase stock and allocate it to provincial health departments and the private sector.
Mkhize made the statement as he announced that South Africa will get the first one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for the health care workers this month and 500 000 others next month following an agreement with the Serum Institute of India.
He had stated that the acquisition of the vaccine was done directly between the government and the department.
But, the AfriForum and Solidarity said in a statement that they have instructed their legal team to prepare a case challenging the government’s proposed monopoly on the buying and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
“Throughout the lockdown period the government has proven that when it has a monopoly on Covid-19 related policies and tasks, corruption and inefficiency tend to be rampant.
“AfriForum therefore seeks to prevent the potential abuse of government power as it relates to the buying and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, by fighting to allow the private sector to assist in this endeavour,” Afriforum’s campaign officer for strategy and content Ernst van Zyl said.
Head of the Solidarity Research Institute Connie Mulder said South Africa could not allow the nationalisation of vaccines.
“The state has a history of failures and South Africa cannot afford another failure during this crisis,” Mulder said.
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