Vaccine hesitancy is a real thing. As the South African government continues their vaccination rollout plan, many citizens have chosen to sit on the sidelines, perhaps out of fear or protest with regards to the vaccine. After all, taking the jab is considered optional.
Not so, says Piketberg farmer Rob Duncan. According to IOL, “optional” doesn’t appear to be in the farmer’s vocabulary as he has recently issued his workers with a clear warning: take the jab, or lose your job.
Unsurprisingly, the current treatment of his workers has workers unions’ going for blood who have described Duncan’s threats as “abusive master/slave tactics”.
Much to the horror of the workers, they allegedly received a letter indicating that they would lose their jobs if they did not go for the jab.
“Vaccination for anyone who is 18 years and older has been open and we have registered and transported everyone who has asked. I have asked all people who do not want to vaccinate to come and give me reasons for not wanting to vaccinate. To date, only two people have come to see me and I have spoken to two others.
“From Wednesday 8 September 2021 anyone who is 18 years and older will no longer be allowed to work, live or visit Pomona Farm unless they can show proof of vaccination,” said the letter dated September 1.
The farm employs 81 workers, with only four choosing not to take the jab. However, the rest have opted to take the vaccine. Duncan has defended himself by stating that his decision was based on the safety of the staff and owners and to ensure that “efficient business operations” were not compromised.
However, Duncan may not be the only “business owner” to share this mindset. As talks of a fourth wave make the rounds, many businesses are contemplating whether to install mandatory vaccination policies within the workplace, reports Business Tech. The idea is that this would help “marginally restore their operations and resuscitate the ailing economy,” states the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.
Despite mandatory vaccinations gaining traction within the business secretary, President Cyril Ramaphosa has previously reiterated his stance on the matter, stating that no one should be forced to take the vaccine.