Secretary general of the Good Party, Brett Herron claims that Western Cape premier, Alan Winde conspired with a Russian businessman and investor to obtain Covid-19 vaccines for the province.
This is according to News24, who reports that in a written parliamentary question, Herron asked whether Winde or his office was in communication with Dr Mark Voloshin, an international businessman, investor and philanthropist who runs the Hazendal Wine Estate.
Voloshin is also known for encouraging trade relations between South Africa and the Soviet Union in the 1990s.
Even though Winde reportedly admitted to corresponding with the Russian businessman via email, he said that he was approached by Voloshin with an offer of assistance.
In his reply, and as cited by News24, Winde said, “During an event at the premises mentioned, I was approached by the person referred to, who advised me that he may be able to source vaccines. I sent an email to this person on 13 May 2021 to offer my thanks for this person’s proactive approach in attempting to source vaccines and noted that the vaccine procurement team would be in touch in that regard. Finally, I stated that any vaccines explored for usage in South Africa must be Sahpra (SA Health Products Regulatory Authority) approved.”
This comes after Winde stated over a month ago that the Western Cape provincial administration will accelerate efforts to procure its own vaccines as a result of being unhappy with the progress the country has made on its vaccine roll-out, as IOL reports.
On the other hand, Herron said that “the premier is out of his depth” and “making grandiose announcements is his chief political strategy about Covid war chests or provincial safety plans.”
The Hazendal Wine Estate issued a statement responding to Good Party’s claims: “The purpose of the meeting, which took place on 5 May this year between Dr Mark Voloshin and Premier Alan Winde, was mainly to address the issue of the ingress and egress roads to the Hazendal estate, which is currently undergoing extensive renovation.
“During the meeting, the conversation also touched on the topic of the current global pandemic and vaccination programmes implemented by different countries. Dr Voloshin has expressed his general concerns on the issue and has offered his assistance in potentially procuring vaccines, should the government be interested in considering this option,” the statement read.