Business Unity SA clarifies its position on legal action on Covid-19 vaccines

Employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi said Nedlac this week recommended mandatory vaccinations at workplaces and other public places.
Employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi said Nedlac this week recommended mandatory vaccinations at workplaces and other public places.
Image: GCIS

Business Unity SA (Busa) has clarified its position after labour minister Thulas Nxesi’s comments on the organisation’s reported intention to head to the Constitutional Court for a declaration on vaccinations.

Nxesi, at the Nedlac annual summit, said the business representative organisation was heading to the apex court to seek a declaratory order on mandatory vaccination to ensure that whatever decision the government and businesses take is within the constitutional prescript. He said this will help businesses and the government take a balanced approach.

Busa said on Wednesday evening, however, that it is not planning to approach the Constitutional Court.

“The correct position is that Busa indicated we will consult our legal advisers about the possibility of applying to the high court for a declaratory order to provide additional legal certainty to back up the occupational health and safety (OHS) guidelines already in place.

“We are in the process of doing this. but will not be able to put in an application in January 2022.”

This would in any event only be after senior counsel “is satisfied that we have the necessary case to apply for a declaratory order”.

Cas Coovadia, Busa’s CEO, said: “Our advocate and junior counsel are, in the meantime, preparing the necessary affidavits.

“We must also be clear that we have taken the view that the current OHS guidelines enable employers to put into place mechanisms to enable vaccination of all staff to meet their responsibility of ensuring a safe workplace for all their staff.”

Coovadia said this was being undertaken within the confines of the guidelines.

“We are seeing incredibly positive responses from all staff in firms that have applied the OHS guidelines. 

“Discovery has indicated that staff vaccinations have risen from barely one fifth to over 94% in the three months since they announced plans to make jabs compulsory from January 1, 2022. We have seen comparable results in other firms. This is exactly the type of behaviour we need to encourage, and we urge more employers to follow suit.

“We reiterate our consistent mantra that the most effective weapon against the virus is vaccination and adherence to non-medical health protocols. The science is clear that vaccinated people will not get seriously ill if they contract the virus. Vaccinating is also a necessary element to manage the virus and avoid a harder lockdown. It is thus the responsible thing to do, from a health and economic point of view, to vaccinate.” Coovadia added.

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