Dolphan Ngwenya has lived in South Africa since 2006. After many attempts she still does not have a South African ID document, but says she is willing to be vaccinated for Covid-19, if allowed. Photo: Bernard Chiguvare.
As the country proceeds with the rolling out of Phase 2 of the Covid-19 vaccination programme for citizens over 60 years of age, Mozambican migrants from Magulule village in Elim seem to be confused about whether they can be vaccinated.
Many of them have been in the country for more than 20 years but claim they have tried in vain to be documented, and they do not know whether the SA government will vaccinate them. Some of the migrants claim that they were not even aware of this programme, while others expressed their fear of being vaccinated.
“As leaders we should make time to educate this community. Some of these people believe there is no need to be vaccinated, because they had already been vaccinated years ago in their home country (Mozambique). They are mixing up issues. We need to carry out a proper campaign on this programme,” said community leader Mr Thompson Mahlaule.
In his address to the nation on 31 March 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “Everyone who is to be vaccinated will have to be registered on the system first, and you will be invited to register once you become eligible.” Ramaphosa said that the government was developing mechanisms to identify and register undocumented persons, so that they could also be vaccinated.
Limpopo Mirror visited Magulule village last week, where a number of Mozambican nationals reside. Dolphan Ngwenya (65) has been in South Africa since 2006. She said she had tried to get her SA ID document many times, without success, but she was 100% willing to get vaccinated.
“There is nothing wrong in being vaccinated. This is not my first time to be vaccinated. I have gone through several vaccination programmes in Mozambique and this one is not unique. This is how the virus can be eliminated,” said Ngwenya, showing a mark on her hand as proof that she had been vaccinated at some point in her life.
Delphina Mtwasa (89), who is also from Mozambique, has been in the country since 1991 and has a Mozambican and a South African ID. She is also ready for her Covid-19-shot. Mtwasa encourages all her fellow country people to get vaccinated. “There is nothing wrong in getting vaccinated. This is the only way to deal with the pandemic. People should stop spreading wrong messages about being vaccinated. Let us register, please,” urged Mtwasa.
But Chiluvane Bande Tsovo (83), a Mozambican who has been living in the country since 2010, is sceptical about the vaccination. “I have gone through these vaccination programmes in Mozambique, so there is no need for me to be vaccinated again. Every time I get vaccinated, my body reacts and becomes swollen. So, it is better to leave this,” said Tsovo decisively. Tsovo claims to have visited the Department of Home Affairs, but he is yet to be documented.
Maria Madziva echoed Tsovo’s sentiments about not being prepared to be vaccinated, as she too has had enough vaccines in Mozambique. She came to South Africa in 1989 and has given up any hope of ever getting documented. She has three children who are still in school. Her greatest worry is that the children will not be able to proceed for tertiary education without South African IDs.
Seven Covid-19 vaccination points are currently available in the Vhembe District, namely at Donald Fraser Hospital, Siloam Hospital, Malamulele Hospital, Messina Hospital, Elim Hospital, Louis Trichardt Memorial Hospital and Thohoyandou Community Health Centre. The last three centres had already started vaccinating people on 8 June.
Date:13 June 2021 - By: Bernard Chiguvare
Bernard Chiguvare is a Zimbabwean-born journalist. He writes mainly for the online publication, Groundup.