Ramaphosa fails to deliver DA vaccine clarity

It’s been per week since President Cyril Ramaphosa obtained a authorized letter from the Democratic Alliance (DA) by which they demanded {that a} clear define of the proposed plan to procure COVID-19 vaccines is articulated, nonetheless Ramaphosa has missed his seven day window to reply. 

The DA voiced dire concern over the plausibility of the technique at present being punted by authorities, which goals to immunise some 40 million South Africans by the tip of 2021. The opposition get together worry that negotiation delays for ample procurement has put the nation’s possibilities of avoiding additional deaths and a 3rd wave of infections in jeopardy. 

Ramaphosa given until ‘day end’ to reply 

Siviwe Gwarube, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Health, stated that that ought to they not obtain a response on Monday, they haven’t any alternative however to head to the courts.

“The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) lawyers wrote to the Presidency seven days ago making the case that President Cyril Ramaphosa has a constitutional obligation – as does his entire Executive – to be transparent about the vaccine acquisition and distribution plan,” he stated. “We committed to approaching the courts for relief should this not be done within seven days. Time is now officially up.”

Gwarube stated that ought to authorities not publicly desk a “detailed, costed and practical vaccine acquisition plan by day end”, they are going to proceed with court docket motion as a “last resort”.

He added that the DA is now counting on the precedent that was set throughout the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) case of 2002 in opposition to the Department of Health the place the courts decided that transparency was key in issues of public well being.

Provincial well being departments caught in limbo with out clear vaccine plan  

Gwarube bemoaned the sustained lack of clarity surrounding the promised arrival of vaccines, with the primary batch – procured via the Covax facility – stated to be anticipated by the tip of the shortly concluding month of January. 

“We are still none the wiser about when exactly this batch is due to arrive and how the allocation to the provinces will be handled for its healthcare workers,” he stated, including that Provincial well being departments  are “hamstrung from bedding down concrete plans for the storage and distribution of the vaccine” due to an absence of clear info on projected arrival dates. 

“South Africa has no clarity on the exact timelines of the vaccination process including the acquisition, logistics and distribution. This is breathtakingly poor form from government; one which will continue to cost us lives and livelihoods,” he stated. 

Health Department ‘asleep at the wheel’  

The DA went on to counsel that the reason for delays in negotiating profitable procurement preparations with suppliers is down to the Department of Health “falling asleep at the wheel”. 

He cited a response from National Treasury by which they point out that purposes to deviate from the traditional procurement processes for the acquisition of the vaccine had been solely submitted by the Department of Health on the 7 January 2021.

“This the clearest confirmation that the Executive has been slow-footed in the process of acquiring this vaccine as such we are now scrambling; being charged exorbitant fees and still nowhere near getting the volume of vaccines that we so desperately need.”

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