by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – REPORTS that South Africa has missed the payment deadline for participation in the coronavirus (COVID-19) initiative that would have given the country access to a vaccine have driven a wedge between government and the opposition.
It is the latest in a series of differences that have characterized the response to what has been the continent’s worst outbreak of the pandemic.
Reports that emerged on Thursday did not clarify who bundled the process between National Treasury and the Department of Health.
“It is unthinkable that the South African government would not be on top of a process this crucial for our country,” said Siviwe Gwarube, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Health.
“DA calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to use the opportunity of his impending address to the nation to explain who dropped the ball on the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Ramaphosa is scheduled to address the nation before the end of the week.
With the pandemic surging in some regions, mostly the Eastern and Western Cape provinces, another hard lockdown is rumoured.
Gwarube said South Africa could not afford such.
“Therefore, our energies must be directed to obtaining a vaccine for our frontline workers and rolling it out as quickly and as efficiently as possible.”
South Africa has recorded 796 472 cases of COVID-16, including 21 709 deaths.
– CAJ News