The DA in Limpopo is deeply concerned by the recent remarks made by Limpopo MEC for Health, Dr Phophi Ramathuba.
The MEC allegedly stated that her department had started dialogue with the liquor industry in the province, to refuse the sale of alcohol to unvaccinated customers.
The party said it believes Ramathuba’s remarks display prejudice and she cannot curtail the rights of Limpopo residents, simply because they display hesitancy towards the Covid-19 vaccination.
“While it is important that as many people as possible go out to get vaccinated in order to protect the broader population, this should be done while respecting the rights of citizens who choose not to vaccinate, for whatever reason,” said DA’s Risham Maharaj, spokesman on health matters.
He said the decision by Ramathuba and the Limpopo Department of Health to approach the liquor industry to withhold their services to those that are unvaccinated is coercive.
“The department needs to devise strategies to encourage vaccination that are not biased against those who choose not to vaccinate. We know that it is under the ANC that the Digital Vibes contract responsible for vaccine communication and awareness was misused.”
He said another concern is that a move to refuse alcohol sales to unvaccinated customers may prove to be economically detrimental to the liquor industry in the province.
“Liquor retailers are still limited to only selling liquor for four days in a week, and they are still reeling from the last ban on alcohol sales. Furthermore, disruption to the sale of alcohol may lead to more job losses in a province that already has unacceptable levels of unemployment and poverty.”
The party said it is committed to ensuring that the rights of people are respected at all times.
“We also encourage everybody above the age of 18 to go to their nearest vaccination site and get the Covid-19 vaccine.”