CAPE TOWN – UCT may soon be challenged for its decision to approve mandatory vaccination in principle, for its campus community for the next academic year.
As of January 1, all staff as a condition of being able to perform their duties and students as a condition of registration, will be expected to provide “acceptable” proof of having been jabbed against Covid-19.
The council met at the weekend to deliberate on the proposal and the university announced the decision on Wednesday, after weeks of engagements with both staff and students.
A short survey for the UCT community was also conducted.
UCT Student Representative Council (SRC) said they note the decision and remain concerned about the exclusionary aspects of the policy and will continue to engage the executive on the matter.
“This follows extensive SRC consultation with the student body. About 23,4% of registered students were represented in submissions, and 52,1% of those who participated were in support of mandatory vaccinations.”
UCT Elijah Moholola said council resolved the university executive should proceed to establish an appropriately constituted panel.
“Its task would be to develop the operational details required to implement the campus access dispensation, including the principles and guidelines for exemption from a requirement to provide proof of vaccination. The UCT executive will be required to report back to council at its December 2021 meeting,” said Moholola.
Solidarity Youth manager, Paul Maritz said they will meet their legal team to challenge the decision which “blatantly discriminates” against those who were not vaccinated.
“In South Africa we enjoy certain fundamental rights such as the right to bodily integrity and the right to freedom of religion, belief and opinion. Furthermore, students also have a right to education. A university council cannot simply revoke all these rights. This issue is not merely a debate on the desirability of vaccination or otherwise, but much rather about South Africans’ right to make their own decisions about what may enter their bodies.”
Nehawu provincial secretary, Baxolise Mali said they were planning a march to UCT on October 25 about a number of issues and will also submit a demand to council not to proceed with a policy that will “trample on the rights of students and staff.”
“We however also note that the council resolved that the University Council should establish a panel which to us is an indication that council appreciates that the mandatory vaccination will be problematic leading to many litigations,” he said.
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