The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has accused government of failing to ensure that clear legislation is enacted with regards to COVID-19 mandatory vaccination.
CCMA dismisses application of an employee fired for opting to not get vaccinated
This comes after the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation & Arbitration (CCMA) dismissed an application of an employee of the Gold Rush Group after she was fired for opting not to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The CCMA ruled that Theresa Mulderij’s dismissal was fair as she did not comply with regulations of the company’s mandatory vaccination policy.
The company said it dismissed the employee on grounds that she did not create a safe working environment for her colleagues.
Cosatu blames government
Cosatu General-Secretary, Bheki Ntshalintshali says government is to blame for the situation that some workers are finding themselves in.
“It’s a failure of the state to really put into being legislature about this. We were hoping that some rulings at the CCMA and the Labour Court would not use this as a precedent in these particular matters. There is going to be a lot of loopholes and medical opinions by different people in society. Because even if you are vaccinated, you can carry the disease and infect other people,” says Ntshalintshali.
Video: Discussion on vaccination rights
Mixed views on mandatory vaccinations
Various discussions have been held around the issue of mandatory vaccinations in South Africa.
In November 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa proposed mandatory vaccination for certain locations and activities.
Welcoming the proposal, Business 4 South Africa (B4SA) has since said the country cannot afford another hard lockdown.
B4SA Chairperson, Martin Kingston has urged government to move fast to restrict access to certain areas for people who are not vaccinated.
Video: Business fully behind President Ramaphosa’s proposed mandatory vaccination ( November 2021)
However, Cosatu has expressed that when it comes to labour, no employee in South Africa should be discriminated against because of their decision to not take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Deputy President of Cosatu, Michael Shingange says South Africa is a democratic state and the rights of those who do not want to take the vaccine should be respected.
COVID-19 vaccination I Do workers have rights to refuse the vaccine? – Cosatu’s Michael Shingange (September 2021)