ATCC220630: Report of the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings on the Executive Undertakings made by the Minister of Health During the House Sitting of 11 March 2021, as adopted on 24 June 2022
REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON PETITIONS AND EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS ON THE EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS MADE BY THE MINISTER OF HEALTH DURING THE HOUSE SITTING OF 11 MARCH 2021, AS ADOPTED ON 24 JUNE 2022
On 11 March 2021, the Deputy President made the following executive undertakings during the question and answer Session in the National Council of Provinces (House):
- Executive Undertaking 1: “With respect to the vaccination roll-out plan, we can confirm that there is a comprehensive geo-mapping of all facilities and vaccination sites that will ensure equitable access to vaccines by everyone irrespective of where they live.”
- Executive Undertaking 2: “Indeed, government will ensure that the vaccination programme is geared towards reaching rural communities through platforms with high reach in audience share in those areas.”
- Executive Undertaking 3: “Our plan includes communicating vaccination messages in all official languages on national, community, regional and commercial radio stations featuring dramas and generic adverts.”
- Executive Undertaking 4: “The awareness campaign will make use of the outdoor platforms across the length and breadth of the country including rural communities, which amongst others, is the use of the outdoor billboards, taxis, electronic screens in public places, as well as boards in shopping malls and branding of buses, to communicate the message of vaccination.”
- Executive Undertaking 5: “All registered vaccine centres will be published on platforms, for all citizens to have access to this information, and we are working on increasing the number of testing labs to expedite quality assurance of all vaccines that are produced.”
- Executive Undertaking 6: “All suppliers will be requested to produce lab certificates to buyers, providing a unique identifier on delivery of the vaccines and online verification of that certificate.”
- Executive Undertakings 7: “Ultimately, we will move towards local manufacturing of vaccines which will offer opportunities for open contracting opportunities for limited localization.”
- Executive Undertakings 8: “We are proactively working on adopting open contracting principles, as part of ensuring transparency in the procurement.”
- REFERRAL PROCEDURE TO THE COMMITTEE
The concerned executive undertakings were referred to the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings (Committee) by the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), for it to scrutinise and subsequently report to the House on their implementation.
After their referral the Committee proceeded to extend an invitation to the Minister to appear before it and report on the progress made by the Department of Health (Department) in implementing the concerned executive undertakings.
- COMMITTEE MEETING PROCEDURES
On 21 April 2022, the Minister and relevant officials of the Department appeared before the Committee to report on the progress made in implementing the executive undertakings under consideration.
The following Committee Members were present at the meeting:
3.1 Hon Z Mkiva, ANC, Eastern Cape (Chairperson);
3.2 Hon S Shaikh, ANC, Limpopo;
3.3 Hon T S C Dodovu, ANC, North-West;
3.4 Hon E M Mthethwa, ANC, KwaZulu-Natal;
3.5 Hon B M Bartlett, ANC, Northern Cape;
3.6 Hon N E Nkosi, ANC, Mpumalanga;
3.7 Hon C Visser, DA, North West,
3.8 Hon I M Sileku, DA, Western Cape;
3.9 Hon K Motsamai, EFF, Gauteng; and
3.10 Hon Zandamela, EFF; Mpumalanga;
The following Committee officials were in attendance:
3.11 Mr N Mkhize, Committee Secretary;
3.12 Mr X Simelane; Committee Researcher/Acting Content Advisor;
3.13 Mrs N Fakier; Executive Secretary; and
3.14 Mr M Erasmus, Committee Assistant
The following representatives of the Department of Health appeared before the Committee during the meeting:
3.15 Hon JM Phaahla- – Minister;
3.16 Hon SM Dhlomo –Deputy Minister;
3.17 Dr N Crisp-Acting Director General; and
3.18 Mr J Kgatla-Parliamentary Liaison Officer
- PROGRESS REPORT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
The Department reported as follows:
- Executive Undertaking 1:
The Department confirmed that there is a comprehensive geo-mapping of all facilities and vaccination sites that will ensure equitable access to vaccines by everyone irrespective of where they live.
4.2 Executive Undertaking 2:
The Department reported that the government will ensure that the vaccination programme is geared towards reaching rural communities through platforms with high reach in audience share in those areas.
Further confirming that its plans includes communicating vaccination messages in all official languages on national, community, regional and commercial radio stations featuring dramas and generic adverts.
- Executive Undertaking 3:
The Department reported that a ‘lot release’ of these of human vaccines by the South African National Control Laboratory (NCL) for Biological Products is performed within the framework of the Medicines and Related Substances Act, 1965 (Act No. 101 of 1965) as amended and Act 14 of 2015, regulations 15(1) and 15(2). And confirmed that the lot release from NCL is per batch and the release certificate is not in the public domain
The Department stated that it is in discussion with the South African Health Products Authority (SAHPRA) on this matter, indicating that there are no immediate plans to have online verification of the lot release certificate.
4.4 Executive Undertakings 4:
The Department reported that there are four vaccine manufacturing companies in South Africa:
Afrigen: mRNA Tech transfer Hub
Biovac: Pfizer/BioNTech: Fill & Finishing
API: mRNA production and other vaccines
NantSA: Immunity Bio and IDRI
Aspen: J&J Fill & Finishing
Further reporting that a diverse portfolio of vaccines (mRNA and adenovirus vaccine) are expected to be manufactured which will allow for local competition across different vaccine platforms.
4.5 Executive Undertakings 5:
The Department assured that there are a number of vaccines which have received market authorization from SAHPRA. And further assured that manufacturers with market authorisation will be able to participate in an opening bidding process provided that all other requirements and conditions are met.
5. OBSERVATIONS AND KEY FINDINGS
In noting the progress report given by the Department of Health in relation to the implementation of the executive undertakings under review, the Committee made the following observations and key findings:
Members did not ask questions and the Chairperson attributed this to the thorough presentation.
Further, in noting the progress report made by the Minister of Health, the Committee, lastly, observes that the executive undertakings have been adequately implemented and therefore recommends that they be closed.
Report to be considered.