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The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has welcomed the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday evening that the Unemployment Insurance Fund had reopened negotiations with organized labour and business with a view to bringing relief to workers who had lost their income when the country reverted to Adjusted Lockdown Level 4.
FEDUSA hopes that the Department of Employment and Labour will heed the lessons from the previous roll-out of COVID-19 TERS this time around and avoid similar logistical bottle-necks that resulted in thousands of workers failing to access their relief pay-outs.
FEDUSA also welcomes President Ramaphosa’s announcement that restaurants and eateries will be able to operate within their social distance capacity, while agricultural livestock and game auctions can also go ahead as long as they can do so safely.
A number of strategies announced by the President to enhance the vaccination programme will certainly put the country on a sound footing towards national herd immunity and should also be warmly welcomed.
These include an agreement to allow local pharmaceutical manufacturer Aspen to supply more 17 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses to South Africa and Africa from its plant in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape. This follows an agreement that has been concluded between the African and European Union through the Presidency as an AU Covid-19 Champion. This is in addition to advanced negotiations that will see Aspen manufacture the active ingredient in the COVID-19 vaccine under licence locally.
Other welcome measures include the approval of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority and the commitment by American President Joe Biden to donate up to 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Africa through the Covax facility.
The decision by the Department of Health to extend vaccination to weekends should see the average number of people vaccinated daily go beyond the current relatively low figure of 190 000.
However, FEDUSA unions in the Tourism and Hospitality sectors remain trapped in bitter hardships and we call on all South Africans to play their part by upholding all safety protocols and to ensure that help is at hand for all those whose lives have been made destitute and livelihoods destroyed by the pandemic. The pandemic can only be defeated if we all remain responsible and committed to keeping ourselves and others safe.
Issued by FEDUSA