“In his address of 1 February 2021, President Ramaphosa said:
“But I want to be clear. Nobody will be forced to take this vaccine. I want to repeat. Nobody will be forced to take this vaccine. Nobody will be forbidden to travel to wherever they want to travel to, including from enrolling in school, or in taking part in any public activity, if they have not been vaccinated.”
This statement was made at the time when the President sought the public’s buy-in to the vaccination rollout programme. It appears that this commitment was made as part of a wider strategy to get the foot in the door, with a view to gaining public approval for mass vaccination on the laudable basis that such would be absolutely voluntary.
The scenario has, however, shifted somewhat and the true intentions of government appear to be gradually coming to the fore. Instead of directly imposing mandatory vaccination, the government has subtly and strategically shifted the task to employers and other service providers. In the result, employers now seek to adopt a ‘no vaccine, no work’ policy, while other service providers seek to pursue a ‘no vaccine, no entry’ regime.