South African universites start to implement "soft mandates" for students

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South Africa

South African universities started to implement "soft mandates" requiring students to provide proof of vaccination to access the campus.

From Tuesday unvaccinated students and staff can only access online learning.

Student representatives have denounced the policy as incomplete and elitist.

"The policy is incomplete. If it's not taken to the people, if it was not given the type of people orientation that it needs. It's incomplete. It's a elitist, esoteric type of engagement, that we must only consult a few people because they are deemed to have better thinking than others", complained Phumelelani Mshumi, President of the Student Representative Council at the University of the Western Cape.

The director of of Legal Services at the University of Western Cape, Shervaan Rajie, explained the new policy.

"The university has what we call a 'soft mandate' in terms of the interim vaccination policy. Soft mandate means that you can be a student, you can register to study, but you cannot come onto campus unless you are vaccinated", said the director.

Responding to students concerns, a representative of the University of Western Cape defended the move claiming that it's based on science.

"The research done at the University has also contributed to our approach when it comes to the interim Covid-19 vaccination policy and it's based on science. Science that has been groundbreaking, globally by our scientists here at UWC. In fact, the Times Higher Education rankings has ranked us at the very top of global universities in the fight against the global pandemic" said Gasant Abarder, Manager, Media & Communications, University of the Western Cape.

South Africa has recorded more than 96 thousand deaths, the highest death toll on the Continent.

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