EFF leader Julius Malema addressing the EFF June 16 commemoration outside the Uitsig High School in Centurion. Picture: EFF Twitter
EFF leader Julius Malema addressing the EFF June 16 commemoration outside the Uitsig High School in Centurion. Picture: EFF Twitter

EFF threatens to protest over Sputnik V vaccine

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Jun 17, 2021

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The EFF believes the government should speedily approve Russia's Sputnik V vaccine in addition to other coronavirus vaccines being procured.

EFF leader Julius Malema said the party will hold a protest outside the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority's office next week Friday to demand the approval of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.

The EFF held a Youth Day commemoration event outside Hoërskool Uitsig in Centurion in Tshwane on Wednesday.

Malema tore into President Cyril Ramaphosa during his speech saying he was responsible for the country's poor handling of the pandemic and the vaccine roll-out strategy.

The EFF has been calling for schools to be closed until Covid-19 cases were under control. Malema reiterated this call saying if anyone dies from the virus now, it should be blamed on Ramaphosa.

"Every coronavirus death must be blamed on Cyril Ramaphosa. All those deaths must be put on the doorstep of Ramaphosa," Malema said.

He reiterated his party's stance that the government should be diversifying its vaccine procurement. The EFF wants the addition of Russia's Sputnik vaccine and Chinese manufactured Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines.

Sahpra had said it was still reviewing the approval of the Sputnik vaccine.

Sahpra said in February regarding the vaccine: "Sahpra has received documentation for the SputnikV vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Russia on 24 February 2021.

"Sahpra will now commence with evaluating the data provided for safety, quality and efficacy of the vaccine."

Malema believes delays in approving the vaccine were political.

He said the organisation would give the health regulator seven days from June 25 to approve the Sputnik V vaccine. If that does not work, then protests will be held outside CEO Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela's home.

The EFF leader's criticism comes as the US food and drug administration said some Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses had to be destroyed following contamination at a manufacturing plant in the US.

This will add to delays in South Africa receiving some vaccine doses to add to the Pfizer vaccine doses that have been administered to healthcare workers and people over the age of 60.

Another criticism from Malema was Ramaphosa's announcement on Tuesday night that the country would move to level 3 of the national lockdown because of rising coronavirus cases.

This has restricted public gatherings to 100 outdoor and 50 people indoor.

Malema bemoaned this as an attack on political campaigning ahead of elections. Citizens head to polls on October 27 and various political parties had admitted that campaigning would be tougher this year.

"Ramaphosa has got no plan, why must we listen to him. How are we going to elections when there are restrictions on gatherings, how are we going to campaign and launch elections?

"We are going to have lots of disputes ahead of the elections. How are we going to conduct elections, five months before elections, we are not allowed to campaign?"

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