Local health scientists have criticised government for its total “ineptitude” as the Covid-19 vaccination rollout struggles to take off and infections hit new highs, reported Sunday Times (4 July 2021).

Covid-19 beds in Gauteng’s hospitals are expected to run out within days. Hospital staff used phrases like “beyond a catastrophe” when they spoke about shortages of nursing staff and equipment.

South African Medical Association head, Angelique Coetzee: “Now, when the country is in the midst of the third wave, the government is suddenly running around trying to stop our health system from collapsing - it is too late,”  

Prof Jeremy Seekings, director of the University of Cape Town Centre for Social Science Research, and UCT economics professor Nicoli Nattrass, who are tracking the vaccinations programme, said the programme needed to triple its pace.
According to Prof. Shabir Madhi, the dean of health sciences at Wits, the government seems intent on creating obstacles rather than creating an enabling environment. Madhi, said electronic registration had “simply not worked” to get people to register before rather than on the spot, and short notice for appointments was problematic. Regarding lockdown regulations, Madhi the only vital regulations were “complete restriction on any indoor gathering ... including places of worship, and consistent wearing of masks”. The rest, he said, was “Covid theatre”.

Professor Mosa Moshabela, the University of KwaZulu-Natal nursing & public health school dean, said the government was reactive and afraid to take risks. He said government is constantly in crisis response mode and does not look ahead to strategise.

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