Farm workers should be prioritized

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GK CRONJE

13 April 2021

“We need a balance to ensure that these two threats are both addressed,” says Geldenhuys. The need to maintain food chains and production is one of the most important things currently needed. We cannot afford to have farms quarantined should a COVID-19 outbreak occur."

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

The TLU SA wrote a letter to the Minister of Health requesting that farm workers be considered as a priority group for vaccination against COVID-19. Farm workers perform an essential service and have been classified as such since the beginning of the restriction. The potential exposure of workers to COVID-19 is significantly high and it would be harmful if production units had to be placed in isolation in the event of an outbreak. “To date, we have not received any response from Minister Zweli Mkhize," says Henry Geldenhuys, the president of TLU SA.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, TLU SA has held the view that everything possible must be done to fight the virus, but that it must be done with a functioning economy. By severely restricting the economy, a second threat is created, namely poverty and famine. “We need a balance to ensure that these two threats are both addressed,” says Geldenhuys. The need to maintain food chains and production is one of the most important things currently needed. We cannot afford to have farms quarantined should a COVID-19 outbreak occur. What worries the TLU SA is that President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that Phase 2 will start in mid-May and that 5.5 million people over the age of 60, with comorbidities, will be vaccinated between 17 May and 31 July. TLU reiterates its urgent call to the Minister to prioritize the vaccinations of farmworkers.