Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen says government has failed in its duty to protect South Africans from the coronavirus because of its inadequate procurement and slow roll-out of vaccines.

In February, South Africa received a million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

But government halted the roll-out of the vaccination campaign after preliminary research showed it to be less effective against the new variant discovered in the country.

The doses are also set to expire at the end of April.

In the video, President Ramaphosa receives the first consignment of the COVID-19 vaccine:

Government is now in the midst of vaccinating healthcare workers with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with another batch having arrived in the country on Saturday.

In his message to the country, Steenhuisen says South Africans have little to celebrate.

The failure is not as President Ramaphosa tries to tell us. The result of vaccine nationalism is we have to scrape and beg for leftovers. Our vaccination programme will only begin when other countries are already concluding theirs.”

“Equally unforgivable is government’s refusal to administer the one million AstraZeneca vaccines it bought at five times the inflated price back in January and which has since being [stored] in a Johannesburg warehouse. With winter and the prospect of a third wave looming, government’s willingness to let R75 million worth of precious vaccines expire, is criminal. We cannot celebrate Human Rights [Day] today and not reflect on this terrible violation on the rights of South Africans,” says Steenhuisen.