Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has come under fire from opposition parties. Picture: GCIS
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has come under fire from opposition parties. Picture: GCIS

Health Minister under fire over SA's slow vaccine roll-out

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published May 13, 2021

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Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has come under fire from opposition parties on government’s response to Covid-19 and the slow pace to vaccinate people with the third wave now looming.

The EFF, DA and IFP on Thursday said the government has let down the people and would not meet population immunity of vaccinating 40 million people by the end of the year.

Mkhize was delivering his Budget vote speech when MPs slammed the government.

DA MP Siviwe Gwarube said the country would be able to save as many lives as possible, but it had failed.

She said out of the 40 million people it wants to vaccinate the government has only been able to vaccinate 1% of the population.

This was the 400 000 health-care workers that have been given jabs.

Gwarube said 14 months after the first case of Covid-19 was reported the country was now facing a third wave.

“This could have been avoided,” said Gwarube.

“We cannot have a bloated administration while those who are delivering services are stretched beyond their limit,” said Gwarube.

She added that the plan to vaccinate 40 million people by the end of the year was far-fetched because of the failures of government.

EFF MP Suzan Thembekwayo also lashed out at the department saying it was not on top of the situation.

She said government has been lagging behind to vaccinate people and the country was now on the throes of the third wave.

“You have learnt nothing from the first and second waves and you have not prepared our hospitals,” said Thembekwayo.

She said the government has not acted decisively against the virus.

The health-care system was in the state of collapse in the Eastern Cape with no action to fix it, said Thembekwayo.

IFP MP Duduzile Hlengwa said South Africa continued to face the grim reality of Covid-19, but government has been very slow in its pace to vaccinate the people.

She said while many countries in Africa, Europe and other parts of the world have moved at high speed to get as many people as possible to be vaccinated, South Africa had vaccinated less than 1% of its targeted population.

Hlengwa said they cannot accept government’s slow pace of vaccination.

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