Provide more vaccine info or we'll see you in court, IRR warns Zweli Mkhize

IRR head of strategic initiatives Hermann Pretorius says his NGO wants more transparency about SA's Covid-19 vaccine strategy. File photo.
IRR head of strategic initiatives Hermann Pretorius says his NGO wants more transparency about SA's Covid-19 vaccine strategy. File photo.
Image: Supplied

The SA Institute of Race Relations (IRR) wants more details on SA’s Covid-19 vaccine strategy.  

The institute has demanded that health minister Zweli Mkhize provide extra details or face court action.

In a four-page letter to Mkhize on Tuesday, the NGO said it had found Mkhize’s plan wanting. Mkhize has until the end of business day on January 11 to respond, according to the letter written by the IRR’s lawyers.

Mkhize has been asked to provide time frames for the procurement of the vaccines, the type of vaccines and reasons for the government’s decision not to allow private entities to procure the vaccines.

“What are the target dates for the three phases identified by the ministry of health for vaccine introduction? How many vaccines will be procured for each phase? Which vaccines are being considered?” the letter said.

The institute also wants “written reasons why the government has taken the position to not allow various private sector entities to procure vaccines on their own? Moreover, what was considered by the ministry of health when this decision was taken?”

It added: “Which mechanisms are in place regarding the certification and/or regulatory approval processes of the various vaccines being considered for procurement and what is the status of these arrangements?”

IRR lawyers said should Mkhize not respond by Monday, the NGO will take the legal route.

“Should our client not receive a response by the mentioned date, it will be compelled to approach the high court for appropriate relief,” the letter read.

“Our client wishes to remind you of the obligation placed on organs of state and particularly members of cabinet to respond to correspondence directed to it, which is further accentuated by the constitutional nature and paramount public importance of the central topic of this letter.”

IRR head of strategic initiatives Hermann Pretorius said: “This is first and foremost a human and civil rights question, and secondly a necessary step to economic recovery, and the IRR will apply its resources to making this happen as fast as possible.”

The health ministry has been asked to comment.

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