Covid vaccine: Ramaphosa reaches out to India following criticism from law firm
Cape Town - Under-fire President Cyril Ramaphosa has finally reached out to India after law firm Kirshen Naidoo & Company Inc attorneys, representing clients it refers to as “various citizens and organisations within the Republic of South Africa”, accused him of failure to thank the Indian government and the Serum Institute of India (SII) for allocating the vaccine to South Africa.
The law firm said its clients had noted that the South African government and Ramaphosa had highly publicised the arrival of the vaccine from India, celebrating the same and taking credit for the event.
“Our clients note with disappointment that during your address to the nation ... you had failed to thank the Indian government and the Serum Institute of India for their consideration and generosity but chose to praise and recognise pharmaceutical companies, a cellphone company and the people an government of Cuba.
“Your failure to thank the Indian government, the Serum Institute of India and the people of India who had made the arrival of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines to South Africa possible was insulting, inconsiderate and disgraceful,” said the law firm.
Following their letter, which the Presidency has said was receiving attention, Ramaphosa confirmed on Thursday night that he had a telephonic conversation with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“During the call President Ramaphosa applauded the government and people of India for its gift to the world in the form of vaccines and scientific knowledge. The president conveyed the profound gratitude expressed by the people of South Africa to India for its solidarity with South Africa in fighting the pandemic,” said the Presidency.
Modi, according to the Presidency, indicated that India will be developing one or two more vaccines and they will continue to support countries in Africa with a special package of vaccines.
“President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Modi reflected on the strong bilateral relations between South Africa and India, highlighting the importance of the strategic partnership that exists between South Africa and India and reiterating, specifically, the importance of economic co-operation to address the devastating impact the pandemic had on the global economy.”