Wits SRC wants free on-campus Covid-19 tests for students who don’t want to vaccinate

SRC president laments financial implications of proposed weekly Covid-19 tests, saying NSFAS beneficiaries and cleaners cannot afford to travel to clinics.

The Wits University SRC has rejected the mandatory vaccination proposal made by the university. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The Wits University student representative council (SRC) will today make formal submissions to the institution over mandatory vaccinations for students and staff.

Last week, the university proposed a mandatory vaccine framework that will require students and staff who choose not to vaccinate to get weekly Covid-19 tests, whether they show symptoms or not. The tests will be done at their own cost.

Speaking to TimesLIVE on Friday, SRC president Nhlonipho Nxumalo lamented the financial implications of such a decision, saying students, particularly NSFAS beneficiaries, and cleaners cannot afford to travel to local clinics to get tested.

“We are given a choice on paper but in practicality, we don’t have a choice … We don’t have a clinic at Braamfontein. A student who wants to do a test has to go to Hillbrow or Parktown. A student who gets R1,500 from NSFAS has to travel to and from Parktown — it’s impractical, especially for a poor black child,” said Nxumalo.

The council has proposed that the university provide free weekly tests for students who don’t want to vaccinate.

A statement issued by the council via social media on Monday garnered backlash from those who accused it of being anti-vaxxers.

Nxumalo says this is simply not true. The council, she says, is pro-choice.

“People have taken it out of context. We are not against people vaccinating, we are not trying to push a certain narrative that people must not vaccinate. The president of the SRC publicly vaccinated … We do encourage people to go and vaccinate, the SRC is not anti-vaxxers. We are anti-procedures that are trying to indirectly force people to vaccinate,” said Nxumalo.

She called on the university to educate the students on the vaccine.

TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)

Cebelihle Bhengu

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