BY SILAS NKALA
THOUSANDS of Zimbabweans living in South Africa are reportedly failing to get COVID-19 jabs due to lack of identity documents.
This is despite assurances by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the start of the vaccination programme that everyone, including foreigners, would be vaccinated.
However, it has been revealed that health workers at some vaccination centres in South Africa were turning away foreigners without identity documents (IDs), a situation that has also affected Zimbabwean migrants.
South Africa is believed to be home to over three million Zimbabweans, some of them undocumented.
Migrants Workers’ Association-SA (MWA-SA) chairperson Butholezwe Nyathi expressed concern over the failure by undocumented migrants to get inoculated.
“MWA-SA has observed that the South Africa Department of Health requires proof of identity for its vaccination data system (VDS).
“We are grateful that those who managed to produce their passports with permits have been vaccinated without any problems,” Nyathi said.
“However, we are concerned that those who fail to produce any form of proof of their legal status in SA might be excluded.
“Our concern is that some employers might demand proof of vaccination and that might lead to job losses.”
Nyathi urged Ramaphosa’s government to allow private pharmacies to inoculate undocumented foreigners.
“The challenge is that every point should feed into the electronic vaccination data system that requires a valid identity.
“The Department of Health wants to reach herd immunity and that cannot be done without vaccinating migrants — whether legal or illegal as they form a significant percentage of communities,” he said.
Zimbabwe Community in South Africa chairperson Ngqabutho Mabhena said foreigners were being asked to produce IDs, yet Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi said no one would be discriminated.
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