University student representatives have been issuing concern and a certain amount of pushback against the potential for universities to implement mandatory vaccination policies as the pandemic refuses to waive.
The common arguments among student representatives have surrounded the fact that mandatory vaccinations would be going against basic constitutional rights if students were to be forced against their own will or coerced into taking the jab.
As of the 30th of November 2021, the country’s vaccination rate has sat at a low 24.4%, less than half of the vaccination rollout goal of 67% by the end of 2021 that the government had projected prior to the vaccine rollout.
In light of South Africans’ hesitancy towards the vaccine, mandatory vaccinations have been a rising matter of conversation. CUT, however, maintains that mandatory vaccination is not an option at the moment considering South African law.
The statement issued by CUT spokesperson, Dan Maritz, is as follows:
The position of the university regarding the vaccination, as we know the Section 12 of the constitution under correction, says that nobody should be forced into any scientific or medical experimentation without prior consent. That in a sense that’s the right we cannot take for ourselves as a university.
Nonetheless, Maritz maintains that university roleplayers are in talks to come up with a plan to motivate students to vaccinate voluntarily, stating: “...we are in the process of engaging with our stakeholders, to ensure that we are able to maximise the participation of our students and staff in this drive”.