julius malema vaccine protest

Julius Malema says ‘vaccine protest’ is on the cards

Published by Andile Sicetsha

EFF leader Julius Malema has issued a warning to the government: Provide a practical strategy to the inoculation programme or deal with a vaccine protest.

Julius Malema warns Ramaphosa of vaccine protest

The Red Berets’ commander-in-chief sent this amber alert to Ramaphosa in a tweet posted on Thursday. In it, Malema gives the president until the end of April to “provide a concrete plan on how you will vaccinate the nation.”

Failure to do so, he added, will force the defiant opposition party to stage a sit-in at all vaccination centres.

Is South Africa losing the vaccine battle?

The EFF is a known critic of the government’s handling of the nationwide inoculation drive. Firebrand EFF leader Mbuyiseni Ndlozi mocked the Ramaphosa-led operation for failing to vaccinate at least 1% of the country’s population.

In his view, there was something to be said about the government’s sole reliance on small tranches of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J), and apparent ignorance of jabs manufactured by its BRICS partners, like China and Russia.

Whether this threat holds any water remains to be seen. The health ministry has, on a number of occasions, indicated that NDA-protected talks with vaccine manufacturers, including China’s Sinopharm and Russia’s Sputnik, are ongoing and no finalised commitments have been reached.

How many vaccine doses has South Africa secured?

In his recent ‘family meeting’, Ramaphosa had revealed that by the end of April, South Africa’s vaccine programme would see an increase in momentum.

Much of this can be attributed to the slated arrival of nine million vaccine doses from the US-manufactured Pfizer jab. These doses, the president confirmed, will arrive in tranches, between April and June 2021.

The addition of these doses to J&J’s commitment of 31 million vaccine shots means South Africa, in principle, has enough jabs to inoculate 41 million people.

According to the latest data collected by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a total of 278 909 healthcare workers had been vaccinated at 18:30 on Wednesday.