Rhodes mandate case to be heard on March 1

An urgent application for an interdict against Rhodes University’s Covid-19 vaccination mandate will be heard on March 1, by agreement between the parties.

Makhanda Against Mandates (MAM) was formed shortly after Rhodes introduced the mandate in October last year and which went into effect on January 4.

Staff and students who have declined the mandate or who have not provided a vaccination certificate have not been allowed on campus. Staff had to apply for leave of absence and some are on unpaid leave, while students have not been able to complete their registration process or get curriculum approval without a vaccination certificate.

MAM launched an urgent application and initially wanted the case to be heard on February 15, but the university asked for more time to respond.

An update from MAM on their Facebook page states that the group was amenable to the case being heard on March 1, “provided they [Rhodes] give us some undertakings regarding the precise relief our case is urgently seeking. And so they gave us at least some of those undertakings.”

One of the undertakings was that there will be no interruption in salary payments until judgment in the matter.

“Student registration will proceed in the normal way and in accordance with the currently operational cut-off dates. However, and here is the concession, unvaccinated students will nevertheless have an opportunity to do final registration until five days after the court gives its judgment but only on condition that we win this part of the case and get the relief we are seeking,” MAM said.

“In effect this means that you will still be allowed to register even if it is a few days later than March 1, provided – and we need to be clear about this point – the ruling is in our favour on this point. Should we lose on this point, then the cut-off date for registration will already have been reached and you will not be able to register.

“So it is a bit of a gamble and depends quite heavily on the outcome of the case.”

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