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Mabuza not confident vaccine budget is enough to achieve population immunity

Deputy President David Mabuza, who is also the chairperson of the interministerial committee on Covid-19, has told the National Assembly that the R10-billion allocated over the 2021-22 and 2022-23 financial years for the purchase and delivery of vaccines would probably not be enough to inoculate the entire South African population.

Mabuza was responding to questions in parliament, where he delivered an update on the work the committee has done so far in the fight against the coronavirus.

According to Mabuza, the budget allocated for vaccine procurement and distribution would probably be adequate to inoculate South Africans only until the end of phase three of the vaccine roll-out, which is expected to be in the fourth quarter of this year.

Further adjustments would have to be made to the mid-term budget, he said. “A certain amount is budgeted for the vaccines, and I don’t think probably it will be adequate for the whole process of vaccination. For phase[s] one, two and three, we think that the available money is enough, but if you are projecting to inoculate the entire nation, you’ll need more. Now we want to reach population immunity, the 67%” 

Mabuza also outlined a plan for the fight against corruption, which included an announcement that the auditor general would have access to all signed agreements between service providers and the government in procurement processes. But he chose not to respond to corruption allegations levelled against Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize.

The minister is alleged to have done favours for close contacts who benefited from an R82-million communications tender.

“Once a president responds on a matter, that is a response of the presidency, so I will elect not to comment on a matter that the president has commented on because the comment of the president is my comment,” Mabuza said.

He added that Mkhize had explained himself to the president, and that the Special Investigating Unit was investigating the matter.

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Marcia Zali
Marcia Zali is an award winning journalist

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