EDITORIAL | Court applications aside, the vaccine rollout must be ramped up
Health DG labels AfriForum and Solidarity’s success in court over vaccine procurement as speculative, rhetorical
AfriForum and Solidarity were disingenuous when they boasted on Tuesday about the success of their legal action against the government around the private procurement of vaccines. Upon closer inspection it becomes clear the action was misguided. Their pending court case against “the government’s monopoly on the buying and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines” has now been dropped.
“We are delighted that continued pressure from Solidarity and AfriForum has resulted in employers, medical funds and other private institutions now being able to approach manufacturers with confidence for negotiations on vaccines,” crowed Solidarity COO Dirk Hermann. But an affidavit filed in the North Gauteng High Court by health director-general Sandile Buthelezi offers a different perspective, saying the case brought by AfriForum and Solidarity was “entirely hypothetical and speculative”.
In reality, it is practically impossible for private companies to buy vaccines. This is because no person or organisation can procure and distribute vaccines in SA if the product has not been approved first by the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority. Also, the department pointed out in its affidavit, AfriForum and Solidarity had failed to provide the court with any evidence that there were now private companies seeking to start their own procurement drive...