The Bill of Rights in the South African Constitution states that everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity – which includes the right to security in and control over their body. Therefore SAPTU (South African Parastatal and Tertiary Institutions Union) demands to be included in any formulation of policies regarding mandatory vaccinations, as its primary purpose is to protect job security.
Various universities, including the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the University of Stellenbosch (US), recently confirmed they are considering mandatory jabs for students and staff. SAPTU has many members at these institutions. SAPTU is already aware of the University of North West’s (NWU) decision not to implement mandatory jabs at this stage.
“We understand that universities, just like other places of work, want to manage the pandemic,” says Adv Ben van der Walt, the general secretary of SAPTU. “But SAPTU will never force a policy which goes against the Bill of Rights – and in which we had no input before its implementation – onto our members. On the contrary, if we are involved with discussions over these policies, we can ensure that we protect the rights of our members, whether they prefer to be vaccinated or not.”
SAPTU will have further discussions with and stay up to date on the policy directions of other tertiary institutions regarding mandatory vaccinations. Then, where needed, we will act before they accept any such policies.
“In no way do we want to insinuate that we are for or against vaccinations against the coronavirus,” says Adv Van der Walt. “But we do respect the Bill of Rights, which states that all South Africans have the right to freedom of thought, belief and opinion.
“SAPTU is an apolitical and unbound union which can act solely to protect our workers in their places of work. As we have no external influences to reach political or other goals, we always have our members’ best interest as the priority.”
To contact SAPTU regarding any workplace enquiries, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the head office on 012 807 1488.
Issued by: SAPTU
Date: 5 September 2021
Enquiries: Adv Ben van der Walt, General Secretary SAPTU Cell.: 083 260 8548