South Africa is likely to see the introduction of mandatory vaccinations in the near future.

This comes as the country experiences a surge in new coronavirus infections following the discovery of the new Omicron variant of the virus.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement on Sunday night during his address to the nation on the country’s response to the COVID19 pandemic following the National Coronavirus Command Council meeting.

SA government discussing the introduction of mandatory vaccination: Ramaphosa

He also announced that the country would remain on alert Level 1 lockdown.

Ramaphosa says the measure is the only way to prevent vulnerability to new variants of the virus.

“We have therefore been undertaking engagements with social partners and other stakeholders on introducing measures that make vaccination a condition for access to workplaces, public events, public transport and public establishments. This includes discussions that have been taking place at NEDLAC between government, labour, business and the community constituency, where there is broad agreement on the need for such measures. Government has set up a task team that will undertake broad consultations on making vaccination mandatory for specific activities and locations,” says Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation

Travel ban

Ramaphosa has bemoaned some countries’ decision to ban travel to and from some southern African nations, including South Africa, calling the move unjustified.

The United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union are just some of the countries that have imposed travel bans on the southern African countries.

Ramaphosa says the move was a clear departure from the commitment to restart international travel in a safe manner the countries made during the G20 summit in Rome last month.

Many have described the move as Afrophobic.

Ramaphosa has called on part of the international community to immediately lift the travel ban.

He says, “These restrictions are completely unjustified and unfairly discriminate against our country and our Southern African sister countries. The prohibition on travel is not informed by science nor will it be effective in preventing the spread of this variant. The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to and also to recover from the pandemic. We call upon these countries that have imposed travel bans on our country and on our Southern African sister countries to immediately and urgently reverse their decisions and lift the bans they have imposed before any further damage is done to our economies and to the livelihoods of our people.”

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