Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

No one can force you to take Covid-19 vaccine, not even your employer, says acting health minister

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published Jul 30, 2021

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Cape Town - Following reports that some employers are threatening to dismiss staff who choose not to receive the Covid-19 vaccine , Acting Health Minister Mamoloko Kubayi says no person should be forced to take the vaccine.

Kubayi, who was updating the nation this morning on the country's Covid-19 vaccine roll-out plan, said: “We all have freedom of choice. Vaccine is voluntary, whether you take the vaccine or not, please, we urge you not to infringe on the rights of others. No one can force you to take the vaccine, not even your employer.”

Earlier this week, the SA Human Rights Commission called on people to come forward if they had been threatened with losing their jobs or rented accommodation for refusing to have a Covid-19 vaccine.

Gauteng commission head Buang Jones said the SAHRC had received complaints from people who had been told they would be dismissed from their job or evicted from their residences if they did not take the vaccine.

“We are exploring all available legal options and would like to see how best we can address the situation with affected employees and the implicated employers,” said Jones.

The Department of Employment and Labour has also set out guidelines that serve as a directive for employers to make it compulsory that staff get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated remains voluntary, but if an employer does a risk assessment at the office, staff could be forced to get the jab.

Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi said the directives were crucial for staff and bosses.

“What is critical is that we need to balance the needs and to take the dictates of collective bargaining and the need to keep employees healthy and businesses running.”

“The Labour Relations Act emphasises the primacy of collective agreements. These guidelines are not intended as a substitute for collective agreements or agreed procedures between employers, their employer organisations and trade unions,” he said.

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