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Picture: BLOOMBERG
Picture: BLOOMBERG

With vaccination rates remaining low in Africa and SA, the question of mandatory vaccines is high on the agenda early in 2022.

In this edition of Business Law Focus, host Evan Pickworth discusses the sticky question of enforcement, risk assessments and policy hurdles that companies seeking a mandatory vaccine policy must overcome.

He is joined by Johan Botes, partner and head of employment and compensation, and Tracy van der Colff, senior associate for employment and compensation at Baker McKenzie, to discuss the complexities and legal requirements.

Listen to the discussion here: 

Only about 36% of the SA population has been vaccinated so far. It has been widely reported the SA government will implement a mandatory vaccination policy for some activities and locations, at the beginning of next year.

Evan Pickworth. Picture: REBECCA HEARFIELD
Evan Pickworth. Picture: REBECCA HEARFIELD

The National Economic Development and Labour Council has reached broad agreement on the policy, with some details still to be finalised. Union federation Cosatu was initially against a mandatory vaccine policy but has now joined other businesses in backing a mandatory policy, which it says is in the best interests of its members.   

Numerous large businesses, including Discovery, have already made Covid-19 vaccination mandatory in their workplaces.  

The department of employment and labour in SA provided guidance in relation to vaccination policies within the workplace in June 2021.  The minister published an amendment to the Consolidated Direction on Occupational Health and Safety Measures in Certain Workplaces, which makes provision for employers to implement a mandatory vaccination policy in their workplaces.  

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