Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Tuesday welcomed the rollout of the vaccination programme to departmental officials this week.

The Minister, who has already taken his two jabs, encouraged officials to vaccinate while ensuring that services are delivered without disruption.

“Vaccinations save lives. Even though the vaccination is voluntary, employees are encouraged to vaccinate in order to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on the entire population.

“In addition to the vaccination, we need to continue to follow the non-pharmaceutical precautionary interventions such as wearing masks properly, sanitising hands regularly and observing appropriate social distancing,” Minister Motsoaledi said.

From this week, employees of the Department of Home Affairs will receive the COVID-19 vaccine in their respective provinces as part of the rollout of jabs to essential workers who are in the coalface of service delivery.

This will be done at various sites identified by the Department of Health and respective Premiers’ Offices across all nine provinces.

“Protecting essential workers is meant to assist in limiting the spread of Coronavirus as our frontline workers are in regular contact with members of the public at the service sites across the country,” the department said in a statement.

As of June 2021, there were 8443 Home Affairs employees on the Personnel and Salaries Management System (PERSAL) and all of them are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The department has lost 40 employees to COVID-19, some having lost their parents and siblings due to the pandemic and its associated complications, and another 1 389 staff have been adversely impacted.

“These are colleagues, mothers, fathers and agents of service delivery who have been part of those employees who could not work from home even during Level 5 of the lockdown, they had to face the brunt of the pandemic to serve members of our community with diligence amidst very difficult circumstances,” the Minister said.

Motsoaledi said each time a positive COVID-19 case is reported at Home Affairs offices, services have to be temporarily suspended to allow for disinfection.

Alternate sites and mobile offices are provided to ensure that services are not disrupted whenever possible.

“This is done to still enable our communities to gain access to our much needed enabling documents such as identity documents, birth and death certificates, just to name a few,” Minister Motsoaledi said.

Motsoaledi said Home Affairs will continue to encourage adherence to COVID-19 health protocols.

Every person visiting a Home Affairs office is reminded to observe all non-pharmaceutical interventions of social distancing, washing hands or sanitising and wearing their masks properly.

Source: South African Government News Agency