On 21 February 2021, TLU SA wrote a letter to the Minister of Health requesting that farmworkers be considered as a priority group for vaccination against Covid-19. Farmworkers 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. (See letter below.)
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 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 prioritise the vaccinations of farmworkers.
19 February 2021
The Minister of Health Honourable Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize
cnr Struben and Thabo Sehume Streets,
Dr Zweli Mkhize
FIRST LINE VACCINATIONS FOR ESSENTIAL SERVICES
In view of the essential service provided by food-producing role players and especially the farmworkers in the food production process, TLU SA would like to request that these essential service workers also be included in the first line of vaccination against COVID-19. The potential exposure of the farmworkers is significantly high, and it would be detrimental if production units had to be placed in isolation in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19.
The importance of sufficient and healthy food for the whole country cannot be overemphasized. It is therefore considered crucial to protect this group as a priority together with the health care personnel as part of the essential services in order to minimize the impact should they be exposed to the virus.
Your favourable consideration in this regard will be greatly appreciated.
BENNIE VAN ZYL
GENERAL MANAGER TLU SA
Issued by: TLU SA
Date: 31 March 2021
Enquiries: Mr Henry Geldenhuys, President TLU SA, Cell.: 083 560 1273
Mr Bennie van Zyl, General Manager TLU SA, Cell.: 082 466 4470