As the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, countries are battling to get vaccination rates up. Vaccine hesitancy has been a major stumbling block in achieving. The Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has ruled for the second time that employers can suspend employees who refuse to get vaccinated.
The ruling comes from a case of a security guard who refused to get vaccinated for religious reasons. According Business Tech the employee was given the choice of getting vaccinated or submitting a covid test each week.
When the employee failed to adhere to the requests, he was suspended.
“I have little doubt that the requirement to vaccinate is nothing less than a ‘reasonable and practical step’ that every employer is required and compelled to take,” said Commissioner Petrus Venter.
According to Our World in Data, only 28 per cent of South Africans are fully vaccinated. The government is fighting against vaccine misinformation. On the 24th of January, the Department of Health released a statement against statements made by the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE). The CGE quoted an article from a medical journal that spoke about the negative consequences the vaccine might have on women’s fertility and pregnant women.
“The conclusion by the Commission that ‘many women may not be comfortable taking vaccines, due to possible long-term effects’ is not supported by data and is not based on a risk-benefit analysis. Furthermore, the CGE’s statement may contribute to misinformation and needless vaccine hesitancy in young women, and at its worst, could contribute to maternal and neonatal deaths,” the Department of Health said.
The CGE has since retracted its the original statement.
Labour organisations have come out against the ruling, saying it will make the unemployment situation in the country worse.
“Vaccinations cannot be the sole responsibility of workers. Only 14 million out of South Africa’s 60 million people are employed. If we are to achieve the 70% vaccination levels, then this must be a society-wide approach and not one that is simply dumped upon workers. This has the unnecessary effect of raising workplace tensions and thus undermining labour market stability, said The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in a statement earlier in January.