Unvaccinated in W Cape mostly due to lack of access, not choice - Premier Winde
- Premier Alan Winde says the main challenge is vaccine access rather than people refusing to get vaccinated and argues the issue is primarily among the uninsured population not having access to jabs
- He acknowledges that the Democratic Alliance-led Western Cape government still has a policy of choice regarding vaccines
- Winde says the province has not yet made a decision to make vaccines mandatory to allow staff and citizens entry into its buildings
On Sunday evening President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the South African nation and announced the country would remain on alert level 1.
Prior to this address, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde took part in the meeting of the nine premiers with the President following Saturday's national Coronavirus Command Council meeting.
He speaks to John Maytham on Monday and says at the premiers meeting there was no real risk that the country would be moved to a stricter lockdown alert level.
There had been a lot of anxiety in the build-up as increased cases were reported in Gauteng he says.
People were really tense and nervous and I suppose it was definitely exacerbated by all the airlines cancelling their flights to various destinations.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
It's probably going to be two weeks until we are gathered again and then we are going to have some tough conversations if the numbers carry on increasing like they are.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
President Ramaphosa stated on Sunday that the government has set up a task team that will undertake broad consultations on making vaccination mandatory for specific activities and locations.
Does the Western Cape government have any power to implement mandatory vaccinations for specific activities and locations. asks John?
We do have powers directly where we are the employer and where we are in control of those spaces - entry and exit etcetera. And then I suppose the rest of it is are we able to influence at a national level.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
The Western Cape government does have representation on that team the President alluded to on Sunday evening and will have some influence, he adds.
Obviously, we would have to have discussions at political party level too.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
Since the provincial government has the power, why has it not instituted a mandate for people who work for it to be vaccinated then, asks John?
I suppose because we as a political party are still in a position where vaccinations are a choice and not mandatory so it would be difficult to have that as a political party position and then do it in government.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
92% of insured people in our province are vaccinated, 42% of the uninsured are vaccinated. That is where the problem lies - and that really comes down to access.
Winde says he has an urgent meeting this week with the new mayors to discuss decentralising the process and thereby insuring better access to people in the towns of the Western Cape.
He cites an example of Franschhoek which as a tourist town undertook the responsibility to ensure vaccination and now stands at a figure of 85% vaccinated.
That is a staggering number and they have done that without mandatory vaccines.President Cyril Ramaphosa
He says they want to work out how to roll that out across the province.
It is really about access to uninsured citizens.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
John Maytham acknowledges that for many of those citizens the cost of transport to reach a vaccination site is beyond their means - but he argues there are a large number of people who are unvaccinated because they simply do not want to be vaccinated.
Winde agrees this issue needs to be tackled more firmly by government.
But research is showing us that the ones that don't want to [be vaccinated] are quite a small percentage and that it is definitely about access.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
He says the vaccine taxis, for example, have been extremely successful.
He says access points for vaccinations are in the entrance halls of the Western Cape government buildings,
You are asking when are we going to have this discussion as to when is this going to be our mandate of you can only enter this building if you have a vaccine and we have not got that finalised yet.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
Source : https://www.123rf.com/photo_27558373_cape-town-civic-centre-with-a-mandela-portrait-on-view.html?vti=lewybvhajidvxxjgue-1-5