SAPTU against higher tax for vaccination rollout

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GK CRONJE

26 January 2021

“Why is there such a discrepancy between the two estimates? We do not trust the government to ensure there is no corruption involved in the process."

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

SAPTU is not in favour of taxing workers to fund the procurement and distribution of vaccines against COVID-19. According to media reports, Treasury is considering raising taxes to fund the vaccination rollout, stating explicitly that they will be the only bidders for buying the vaccine.

“It is inconceivable that our government even considers raising taxes to provide an essential service,” says Adv Ben van der Walt, the general secretary of SAPTU (South African Parastatal and Tertiary Institutions Union). “While at the same time, the money thrown at SAA, the Land Bank, Eskom and any other state-owned enterprises seem to disappear into the abyss.” The Minister of Health, Mr Zweli Mkhize, already confirmed an estimated cost of R20 billion to vaccinate the entire country, but more recent rumoured estimates by Treasury put the amount at around R10 billion. “This is yet another example where the government creates distrust,” says Adv Van der Walt.

“Why is there such a discrepancy between the two estimates? We do not trust the government to ensure there is no corruption involved in the process. We have too many examples proving the opposite.” “The government and department should involve the private sector to fund this expense,” he says. “Not only will the state-private sector cooperation option relieve the pressure on workers, but it will ensure oversight and transparency, contribute to logistical support and share management capacity as the South African government cannot execute this operation on its own.”