On 11 June 2021, the Department of Employment and Labour issued an updated Consolidated Direction on Occupational Health and Safety which, among other things, expressly permits an employer to implement a mandatory workplace vaccination policy, subject to specific guidelines.
As an accredited Higher Education and Training Institute, we at the Southern African Wildlife College aim to work together with the South African Government in reaching the goal set to create herd immunity.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (“OHSA”), read with its regulations, requires an employer to provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practical, a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of workers and to take such steps as may be reasonably practicable to eliminate or mitigate a hazard or potential hazard in the workplace.
Covid-19 is a level one (1) notifiable medical condition, which must be reported as soon as possible after definitive diagnosis, and it is also a reportable illness in respect of the Compensation for Injuries and Diseases Act, 1993 (Act 130 0f 1993), making the College responsible for mitigating the risk of transmission at work.
After careful consideration, taking into account the College’s risk management strategy, as part of a full risk assessment and plan, and in accordance with the Southern African Wildlife College’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards, we have developed a Vaccination Policy to safeguard the health of our employees and their families; our students and visitors; and our community at large.
This Policy has been drafted through an intensive consultative process, based on a risk assessment conducted by our Occupational Health and Safety Committee and our Covid-19 Compliance Team. It was approved by our Board of Directors on 25 November 2021
The Vaccination Policy documented for the Southern African Wildlife College, which comes into effect when the College re-opens on 03 January 2022, covers all employees at all levels, and includes all stakeholders, including consultants, contractors, and service providers who, in any way through their role, may work on-site, or may have close contact with employees, students, visitors, stakeholders or our community at large.
All employees are required to receive vaccinations (and booster inoculations as and when these become available to them) and to provide proof of this to HR. Any employee who has not submitted proof of vaccination to HR will be asked to provide this at the College entrance gate each time they enter the premises. Employees who are contra-indicated for the vaccine or who have questions or concerns about vaccination are requested to discuss this with their managers, or to approach HR for further assistance and clarification.
Lastly, the College has residents that are non-employees, including minors. It is the policy of the SAWC that residents must all eventually be vaccinated, as they reside in, utilize public areas and infrastructure, and socialize with SAWC staff. Residents also receive external visitors on a social basis, which provides a risk to the SAWC staff and residents, and they will be treated as any other visitor or no staff member entering the premises. The Gate Access Policy as updated due to Covid-19 restrictions speaks to the rules for all non-staff entering the gate.
The SAWC will need all residents to be fully vaccinated within 90 days of the policy coming into effect, and minor residents within 90 days of implementation of a national vaccination protocol for minor.
Please do contact HR if you have any queries or concerns about this. All rental, lease and related benefits will be updated to reflect to the land owners that all residents will be required to be fully vaccinated. Many residents employ or utilize domestic and service workers within their households for cleaning and related purposes. All domestic and service workers will also be required to be vaccinated by 03 January 2022.