PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has stopped short of announcing that the government will introduce mandatory vaccination.

During a virtual address to the Cosatu Central Committee meeting on Monday, 20 September, Ramaphosa told the union federation to urge workers to get jabbed.

He told Cosatu government would respect workers’ right to control their bodies, but this should be balanced with the need for the country to go back to normal.

“We urge the federation to step up efforts to convince, educate and persuade workers, and indeed all South Africans, that they should be vaccinated,” he said.

The president said unemployment has gone beyond crisis levels and it was clear more needed to be done to deal with it.

He admitted government’s strategy was not enough to address the problem, and new ways to deal with it had to be found. “We need to investigate how we can use our economic policy instruments and what changes may be required to address the extent of the challenges confronting us more effectively,” he said.

Ramaphosa said at the recent ANC NEC lekgotla, it was agreed that the most important task was to reduce poverty and create jobs.

He admitted there were many disagreements in the tripartite alliance.

Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi told the meeting workers were disappointed by the conduct of ANC comrades in government. She said the image of the party has been battered, but workers continued supporting Ramaphosa in the hope that the ANC would return to its roots.

“We welcome efforts to clean the state and the ANC. The implementation of the step-aside resolution is critical.

“The crackdown on tax evasion is welcome, and the recovering of stolen funds from Eskom is positive,” she said.

“This cleansing must be intensified. We cannot afford to lose the war against corruption. If we are serious about winning the war, there must be speedy and not never-ending prosecutions.”

Losi said the ANC manifesto, which the party will launch in Tshwane at the end of this month, spoke to many Cosatu demands such as growing the economy, saving and creating jobs.