State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo says the COVID-19 pandemic should not be used as an excuse to postpone Local Government Elections in October.

Dlodlo made the call during her visit to vaccination sites in the Western Cape. She visited Khayelitsha and Groote Schuur hospitals in Cape Town.

Her remarks come amid calls from some political parties, such as the EFF, for the elections to be postponed to 2024.

At the weekend, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni tweeted about the dangers of election rallies, door-to-door campaigning and voting lines amid the coronavirus outbreak. He says the elections should be postponed to save lives.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has previously said that there is no Constitutional provision to postpone elections.

“We can’t stop election based on fact that there is COVID. Many countries have had elections and many of them have hardly had an upsurge. So we can’t use COVID as an excuse to not have elections in countries,” says the State Security Minister.

Dlodlo elaborates on her views on COVID-19 and elections:

On the vaccination readiness at the Khayelitsha Hospital’s vaccination site, Dlodlo says she’s satisfied that the site is fully prepared to do its work as vaccination is set to resume on Wednesday.

At the hospital, just over 4 000 healthcare workers have been vaccinated so far. Management says there was some initial hesitation following reports of blood clots in America. But since the resumption of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the update of vaccinations have increased. They now vaccinate up to 280 health care workers per day.

The Deputy Director of the Comprehensive Health Programme at the hospital, Sheila McCloen, explains that so far, no serious adverse events have been reported.

“We’ve had allergic reactions, blood pressure spikes and days later people would talk about a temperature, but we haven’t had any major adverse events here,” says McCloen.

Regarding the winter period, Dlodlo says the same health protocols such as the washing of hands and social distancing applies.

“What I’ve seen is a province ready to roll out the vaccination programme with a lot of work done. I get the impression – I came with some of my staff working around the clock that measures put in place to ensure there is safety all round for vaccines and also protocols for safekeeping are adhered to, is effected. So I am happy with what I see,” she says.

Dlodlo is part of the 16-member Interministerial Committee appointed to help with quick decision making around the smooth rollout of the vaccination programme.