newsThe Citizen reports that three North West health officials could be in trouble for allegedly withholding Covid-19 vaccines from black people, while mobilising white people to get vaccinated at the department’s Tswaing sub-district last month.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has charged that, if true, the officials’ alleged actions would amount to attempted murder, and even murder, if any of those affected contracted Covid-19 and died. The senior officials, including the sub-district manager, allegedly denied vaccines to black patients at a local vaccination site, claiming they were out of stock. Spokesperson for the provincial department of health, Tebogo Lekgethwane, said the trio then allegedly mobilised members of the local white community for vaccination, which he said was very serious. Nehawu alleges that the officials were all white, but the department has yet to confirm or deny that. Lekgethwane said the motive for their actions might very well be racial, because there has been enough vaccines in the sub-district, yet a number of people who went to the vaccination site for scheduled inoculations were turned back as there was apparently no stock. Nehawu provincial secretary Patrick Makhafane said it was very worrying when people could not get vaccinated on the basis of their colour, saying this was akin to extermination of another race. He said they would request an urgent meeting with the provincial health department to ensure that systems were in place to get to the bottom of this matter, which they also intended to report to the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) for investigation.

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