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With the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic currently raging in South Africa, many citizens are living with fear and uncertainty about the future. Many have already lost loved ones, while numerous families are worried about their people being hospitalized due to Covid-19.
The toll that the Covid-19 pandemic has taken in South African society so far will probably never be fully calculated. In many ways, people’s life patterns were touched and had to be adapted to a new reality. In view of the unknown health risks, some of the temporary adjustments were permissible.
As the positive impact of vaccinations became clear, a debate arose as to whether Covid-19 vaccinations should be enforced. This is especially argued against the background of new Covid-19 variants emerging. The decision by President Ramaphosa to reconsider his previous decision – that vaccinations will not be mandatory – puts this whole debate on a new level and requires the citizens of South Africa to take a stand.
In order to take a responsible stand, three questions should be asked:
1) How are individuals’ human rights affected by forced vaccinations?
2) Is the enforcement of vaccinations constitutional?
3) Is coercion an acceptable democratic modus operandi?
Free State Agriculture (FSA) is convinced that individual freedom is a cornerstone of a free and prosperous community and society. Content is given to this freedom by both the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. The right of every individual to make decisions about his / her own body is enshrined in this. This is a type of inalienable property that everyone has. This means that anyone who decides to take the vaccine should be able to do so and thus receive the promised protection against Covid-19. It also means that the decision of those who decide not to get vaccinated, despite the risks, be respected.
A forced vaccination program will undermine individuals’ freedom of choice and right to physical integrity and FSA is therefore convinced that forced vaccinations are not the right plan of action.
According to Francois Wilken, President of Free State Agriculture (FSA), Covid-19 will not always have the impact it currently has. “It would be foolish to give up or suspend permanent and fundamental rights in an attempt to manage a temporary risk. Rather, the focus should be on enforcing national laws against violent criminals and corrupt government officials,” Wilken says.