Flash Briefing: Mandatory vaccination in SA warned against; Eskom price increase showdown looms; Sisulu’s tirade continues

  • The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has warned companies against introducing mandatory vaccination policies, which it says risks infringing the Constitutional rights of workers. The Chapter 9 body raised concerns around a recent study that found that some Covid-19 vaccines may cause a small change to the menstrual cycle length – but that this change is temporary. While the Commission said it supported the goal of reaching herd immunity, it said that this should not be achieved by ‘trampling the basic human rights that are enshrined in the Constitution’. The Commission is also calling for institutions of higher learning – including universities – to afford the same respect to students and workers who may not wish to vaccinate. Health minister Joe Phaahla says the government has not yet taken a formal decision on mandatory vaccination in South Africa, with deliberations still ongoing.
  • Business chambers and even provincial governments are heading the way of legal action against Eskom’s plans to hike electricity prices by 20.5% this year. Business chambers in Nelson Mandela Bay and Pietermaritzburg have filed papers against the Nersa methodology that Eskom uses to determine its price increases. A showdown looms as businesses plan to fight municipalities who have carte blanche over how much to charge over and above Eskom’s required increase – while the South African Local Government Association looks to remove choice from the equation, seeking an order giving municipalities exclusive right to distribute electricity.
  • Tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu has tripled down in her tirade against South Africa’s constitution, penning a third column/open letter criticising the highest rule of law in the country. Sisulu’s critics have widely condemned her position, with many high-profile politicians and analysts pointing out that her timing is suspect, given that 2022 is an ANC election year. The ANC is expected to meet this week, where Sisulu’s columns are likely to be discussed. On Sunday, Sisulu, in an article again published on Independent Online, admonished Justice Minister Ronald Lamola for penning an open letter challenging her remarks which have caused a public outcry. She said the Constitution was a man-made and historically contextualised document.