The DA calls on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to immediately release the necessary funds to ensure all state vaccination clinics operate at full capacity over the weekends.
Only 23 621 South Africans were vaccinated this weekend – 21 332 and 2 289 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. This is an unacceptably slow rollout, and the delay will be measured in lives lost to Covid-19.
The Department of Health is blaming this slow rollout on the lack of “overtime budget” for vaccination staff to work over weekends. But this excuse is simply not true.
Sufficient funds are available in the national budget to cover the costs of a 7-day a week vaccination rollout. Now is the time to use the contingency reserve of R9 billion and make it available to provincial health departments to cover the cost of additional staff and overtime pay for staff.
The National Treasury budgeted R6 billion for the vaccine rollout in 2021, of which R1.5 billion was allocated to provincial governments for staff costs. On top of that, R9 billion extra was budgeted in the contingency reserve which could also be used for the vaccine rollout if necessary.
There are four days to go to the weekend. This can be resolved by then if the Minister makes a clear statement that sufficient funds are available. Let us make sure this weekend’s performance is not repeated.
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