SOUTH AFRICA – Discovery, the leading South Africa-based financial services firm has announced plans to move to a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination policy from 1 January 2022, citing that it has ‘moral and legal obligation’ to do so.
In its annual results published on 2 September, the Group revealed that it currently employs 12,950 employees across its key healthcare, banking and financial businesses.
“Discovery intends to move to a mandatory vaccination policy effective 1 January 2022 given the clear moral and social obligation, as informed by our core purpose to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives,” it said.
CEO Adrian Gore has defended the move to mandate Covid-19 vaccination on its employees, stating that the decision was a moral imperative for a company that has lost close to 14,000 clients and more than 20 staff members to Covid-19.
In South Africa. private businesses are permitted to introduce their own vaccination policies, and the government is now looking at options to make mandatory vaccination national policy on some level.
Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said last month that the Department of Health is considering its options, and receiving legal advice on the issue.
Phaahla said that mandatory vaccinations have been raised for official consideration, with the health department discussing the conditions under which mandatory vaccines may be possible.
The health minister has also alluded to additional restrictions on South Africans who have not been vaccinated. This could include limiting the use of public amenities. The Department of Labour and Employment has already given directives allowing employers to decide on whether to make vaccination a requirement, he said.
“The opinion we are getting from legal people, that once there is sufficient coverage, we should be able to arrive at the stage where we can actually make demands even at public amenities,” Phaahla said.
“You can’t have your cake and eat it. You have the right not to have a vaccination, but you have no right to endanger the lives of other people.”
Yesterday, South Africa reported 9,544 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,787,203.
Deaths have reached 82,496 while recoveries have climbed to 2,560,605, leaving the country with a balance of 144,102 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is at 12,841,537.