EFF Calls Out President Cyril Ramaphosa On Slow COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

Opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema speaks during EFF final election rally at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on May 5, 2019

Photo credit PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images

EFF Calls Out President Cyril Ramaphosa On Slow COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

South Africa's opposition party leader, Julius Malema, has demanded that President Cyril Ramaphosa speed up the distribution rate of COVID-19 vaccines.

Julius Malema has reportedly instructed President Cyril Ramaphosa to release South Africa's detailed COVID-19 vaccine rollout strategy. Malema added that his party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), would initiate a sit-in at vaccination centres should Ramaphosa fail to share this national vaccination plan by the end of April 2021. This comes after the South African government's last announcement of the vaccine rollout plan two months ago.

Read: South Africa Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Plan

The EFF party leader reportedly took to Twitter to share his frustrations at the slow pace of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. His sentiments were shared by the Democratic Alliance (DA), the main opposition party. According to Cape Talk, the DA has threatened to open a case with the South African Human Rights Council (SAHRC) to investigate the government's "tardy and criminally slow" vaccine rollout. Malema has been very vocal on the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Following Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng's religious stance on the COVID-19 vaccine earlier in the year, Malema slammed the South African government for not adequately educating the population on how vaccines work. Additionally, he called out the government for not being industrious enough to produce the vaccine locally.

Only a small fraction of the population has been vaccinated thus far, most of whom are frontline workers. According to The Citizen, 283 629 healthcare workers have been vaccinated to date — a far cry from the government's goal of vaccinating 1.2 million frontline workers. Ahead of the Easter long weekend, Ramaphosa announced that South Africa had set up 49 vaccination centres — 17 of which are located in private hospitals.

South Africa has, so far, secured 11 million doses of the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson — 2.8 million of these will be delivered in the second quarter, and the rest throughout the year. Additionally, 12 million doses have been secured from the COVAX facility and 20 million from Pfizer. These, exclude the country's African Union dose allocation.