Wednesday, 20 January 2021 09:09

Staff Reporter.

Cabinet has approved the appointment of a 16-member Inter-Ministerial Committee on the COVID-19 vaccination rollout programme.

In a statement, Cabinet said the IMC would assist with quick decision-making from all the relevant departments that contribute towards the smooth rollout of the vaccination programme. 

The decision was taken on Tuesday during a virtual Special Meeting to discuss the progress report from the National Coronavirus Command Council.

During the meeting, Cabinet acknowledged that the vaccination programme was the key intervention to mitigate the public health and economic impact of the COVID 19 pandemic. The roll out programme entails procurement, distribution, actual vaccination, monitoring, communication and mobilisation.

The IMC will be chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza and will meet weekly to receive reports and intervene in unlocking any challenges that may be encountered during the implementation. President Cyril Ramaphosa will chair its first inaugural meeting.

The members of the IMC are the Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize; Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni; Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma; Minister in The Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jackson Mthembu; Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; Minister of Police, Bheki Cele; Minister of State Security, Ayanda Dlodlo; Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande; Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan; Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi; Minister of Public Service and Administration, Senzo Mchunu; Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel; Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor.

During the meeting, Cabinet was also briefed on the rate of infections in the country and the surveillance work being conducted by the Department of Health, supported by the Ministerial Advisory Committee.

"Though still early, Cabinet appreciated the downward trend of infections across the provinces, with the exception of the Free State and Northern Cape," reads the statement.

Cabinet thanked all South Africans who have continued to adhere to the health protocols adopted to minimise infections. These include the wearing of masks at all times when in public, maintaining social distancing, washing their hands at all times with water and soap or using an alcohol-based sanitiser and avoiding gatherings.

Meanwhile has reacted with disbelief to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that his deputy, David Mabuza will be spearheading government’s inter-ministerial task team tasked with overseeing the vaccine rollout.

The DA said the decision, which was not announced via normal government channels, showed that Ramaphosa was putting his political alliances ahead of saving lives in the country.

South Africa is preparing to receive the first doses of the vaccine later this month and government is aiming to inoculate around 316,000 people per day over the next year.

DA shadow health minister Siviwe Gwarube said that Mabuza had a track record of failure in many roles, including his current position as chair of the political task team on Eskom.

She said he was the most unsuitable figure for this important task: "It is unconscionable that the president would entrust him with a task this big, with a task this important when in fact he has been nowhere to be seen during this entire crisis that South Africa has found itself in."