By Xolile Mtembu for IOL
Several South African companies have announced that they will implement a vaccine mandate. Under this policy, workers who do not want to vaccinate will not have access to their employer’s premises. While some of the companies said they might retrench employees who refuse the jab, others said they would not.
Discovery was one of the first companies to reveal its plans to introduce mandatory vaccinations. In September, chief executive Adrian Gore said their mandatory vaccination policy would include all the group’s properties across the country. “Based on the science and public health imperative, we see it as our responsibility to materially increase the country’s overall vaccination rate.
“We hold ourselves to the highest standard in this regard. This is crucial both ethically, given the scale of immune-compromised people in our country, and practically, given the degree of vaccine hesitancy currently being observed,” said Gore.
In the same month, Sanlam, Africa’s largest non-bank financial services group, announced that it would join Discovery in imposing mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for all staff from 2022, although it said it won’t fire workers who refused to be inoculated.
Private education group Curro also said at the time that it would require all staff be vaccinated by year-end. Its chief executive, Andries Greyling, said mandatory vaccination was aimed at creating a safe teaching and learning space. The company may consider retrenching those who fail to oblige.
MTN Group announced that its vaccination policy will go into effect from January. Group president Ralph Mutipa cited science as the reason for the mobile telecommunications company’s decision to require its workers to get the jab.
“The science is clear. Vaccination against Covid-19 reduces rates of serious infection, hospitalisations and death. As an employer, we have a responsibility to ensure that our workplaces are guided by the highest standards of health and safety, and that has informed our decision to make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for our staff,” said Mutipa.
Old Mutual’s vaccination mandate starts from January 2022. The company will require all their workers to provide proof of vaccination. The insurance company’s chief executive, Iain Williamson, said: “Across the world, vaccinations are proving to be the key to unlocking economic activity, returning life to a more normal rhythm, preventing severe illness and death, decreasing transmission rates as well as reducing the emergence of new variants of the disease.”
Standard Bank said its vaccine mandate would begin on April 4, 2022. Every employee of the bank would be expected to be inoculated but those who had a reason for not being vaccinated could lodge an objection on constitutional or medical grounds.
Retailer Game also backs the government’s call to get more South Africans vaccinated through its Vaccination Appreciation Wednesday venture. The company offers a 10% discount to customers who produce proof of vaccination or a valid ID. This discount is available to those who purchase goods up to R10 000.
Big Concerts International announced that South Africans wanting to attend its events in future will be required to show proof of vaccination against Covid- 19. This follows the news that Canadian superstar Justin Bieber will perform in the country in September and October next year, as part of plans to restart arena events in the country soon.
Big Concerts says all music fans eligible to be vaccinated should have received the jab as a prerequisite to enter its concert venues. It says the only ones exempted from this are those whose age group had not yet been called upon to get vaccinated by the time of the event.
The National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) yesterday recommended to government that vaccine mandates should be implemented at workplaces and that some venues be only accessible to vaccinated persons.