Deputy President David Mabuza, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on COVID-19 Vaccines, has engaged various sectors of society on government’s vaccination rollout plan.
The Deputy President held meetings on Thursday with the aim of mobilising support from social partners.
During the consultations with traditional leaders, inter-faith leaders and social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), the Deputy President was joined by Ministers, who are members of the vaccines IMC.
In welcoming the consultation, traditional leaders said they were encouraged by government’s initiative to meet with them early on in the process.
“With these engagements, they expressed hope that all of society will get behind government’s vaccines rollout plan. They all committed to be part of the rollout and work in partnership with government in encouraging their communities and constituencies to take part in the vaccination programme,” the Presidency said on Thursday.
Traditional leaders called for the implementation of stringent measures to prevent any possible acts of corruption in the rollout of the vaccines.
“It was also agreed that through Government Communication and Information Systems, a communication toolkit in all official languages will be developed for communities in order to enhance social mobilisation and garner support for vaccination.
“Equally so, the consultations with inter-faith leaders were positive and they were all united in their commitment to partner with government, including availing their facilities as vaccination sites should such a need arise,” the Presidency said.
They further called on government to involve young people in the religious sector to counter negative sentiments and fake news about vaccines.
Social partners in Nedlac, namely organised business, labour and community constituencies, reaffirmed their commitment to continue working with government in the fight against COVID-19 and to build on existing initiatives of fighting the virus, including the rollout of vaccines.
“Organised business also reaffirmed their support of the government-led and centralised vaccine procurement, and their participation in both resource and social mobilisation programme. In this regard, they expressed their full confidence in government’s ability to secure the adequate amount of doses required to achieve population immunity,” the Presidency said.
Organised labour encouraged government to draw on the lessons learnt in the rollout of anti-retroviral drugs and use this opportunity to build the capacity to manufacture vaccines locally.
The Community Constituency committed to partner with government to mobilise civil society to participate in the vaccination programme and stem the tide of fake news within society.
“We are encouraged by the positive spirit of cooperation that we received from traditional leaders, inter-faith leaders and social partners at Nedlac. We appreciate that this process does not end here, but it is ongoing engagement and partnership, as we work together towards population immunity.
“We are grateful for the commitment to partner as expressed by social partners at Nedlac, traditional leaders and inter-faith leaders,” the Deputy President said.
The IMC on vaccines was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to provide political oversight of the vaccination programme, including its acquisition, distribution and rollout. –