Business has issued a public call for vaccine mandates in the workplace and for the imposition of public access restrictions for the unvaccinated. This echoes the position we have taken at Nedlac and with many business associations. In our view, if we don’t dramatically improve the vaccination rate and infections continue to rise, we again risk overburdening the health system and forcing South Africa to consider the harsh lockdown restrictions that harm the economy, jobs and livelihoods. Vaccination can prevent this.
On Sunday 28 November 2021, the President announced that a task team will investigate vaccine mandates and appropriate access restrictions, while Cosatu has also issued a statement supporting vaccine-related restrictions. This policy debate is gathering momentum.
Many businesses and institutions have already announced a mandatory vaccination policy or are embarking on the consultation process. Every business leader will need to consider whether and/or how they consider vaccine mandates in the workplace, and to what degree they should institute vaccinate-related restrictions to venues they control to ensure the safety of staff, customers, suppliers, or visitors.
To assist businesses with their strategic decision-making, on Thursday 2 December, B4SA assembled a team of renowned experts and corporate leaders to explain the position of organised business, the legalities of vaccine mandates and access restrictions, the medical case for vaccination, and the practical experience of two companies, law firm ENSafrica and Discovery Health, which are currently implementing mandates.
- Professor Salim Karim, Infectious diseases epidemiologist and Director: CAPRISA
- Professor Michael Katz, Chairperson of ENSafrica
- Martin Kingston, Chair of the B4SA Steerco
- Cas Coovadia, CEO, BUSA
- Dr Ron Whelan, Chief Commercial Officer, Discovery Health
- Halton Cheadle, Partner, BCHC