The Rastafarian community march to the Union Buildings to protest against the Covid-19 vaccination. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
The Rastafarian community march to the Union Buildings to protest against the Covid-19 vaccination. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Rastafarians call for companies, organisations not to impose mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations

By James Mahlokwane Time of article published Nov 22, 2021

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Pretoria - The Presidency must ensure that private companies do not force their employees to take the Covid-19 vaccine against their will.

This was the call of men and women of the Rastafarian community who took to the streets of Pretoria and marched to the Union Buildings to make the demand, and call for President Cyril Ramaphosa to warn companies and organisations not to impose mandatory vaccination.

The members of the Rastafarian Community of South Africa and the Rastafarian United Front said although Ramaphosa had announced that there would be no forced or mandatory vaccination, some companies were placing their staff in situations that “basically forced them to take the vaccine”.

Chairperson of the Rastafarian Community of South Africa, Papa Afrika said: “Although the government said there would be no forced vaccination, the companies on the ground have different applications to deal with.

“Our members who work in those companies become affected by mandatory vaccination the companies are implementing in their institutions.

The Rastafarian community march to the Union Buildings to protest against the Covid-19 vaccination. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

“We want to make the government aware that you are saying there is no one who can force you to vaccinate but on the other hand there are people who are saying, you cannot enter here because you are not vaccinated.

“As the Rastafarian people we say no to vaccination. We are very strong and healthy people, and do not believe in the vaccine. We also believe marijuana is a herb that has protected our people for a very long time and it will continue to do so.”

The group said Ramaphosa must ensure that his message regarding vaccination is enforced, because companies were strong-arming their employees to agree to something they did not believe in.

They said it was unfair that people had to choose between taking a vaccine they did not want or going hungry from losing their jobs.

They claimed that these companies were so smart that they did not make it obvious and traceable that they were making their staff take the vaccine because they did not want to be held accountable.

The Rastafarian community march to the Union Buildings to protest against the Covid-19 vaccination. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

President of the Rastafarian United Front, Thau Thau, said they also wanted to make their concerns known regarding the new draft cannabis masterplan released by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

It sought to make marijuana a viable business sector, following the signing of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill into law in the 2022/2023 financial year. This was after the Constitutional Court ruled to decriminalised the possession and cultivation of marijuana in private dwellings in 2018.

“We have a problem with the law around the herb because it costs R27 000 for a person to receive a licence to cultivate and trade marijuana. And even so, that person must have a facility that is worth R5 million.

“We are landless as black people. We cannot afford that. We are upset because after the Rastamen and women were beaten, arrested and humiliated for fighting to use marijuana, the commercialisation of ganja has come, but it is now benefiting the white people who did not fight for it.

“There are only 27 licensed people or organisations and they are white people. We therefore want the Presidency to see that there is something wrong here. These white people are hosting expos and selling on a larger scale while our people have only been selling on a smaller scale just to feed their families.

“We want the Presidency to eradicate the cannabis apartheid at the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority. That is why we want to call for total liberation of the herb.”

Pretoria News

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