by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE Shoprite Group is calling on the government to prioritise the allocation of vaccines to the retailer’s workers as the third wave hits South Africa.
Shoprite, the country’s largest private sector employer with more than 140 000 staff, pledged to source and administer the vaccine at its own cost and through its own logistics and pharmaceutical infrastructure.
The company stated its workers served over 25 million people a month, hence must be prioritised.
Announcing new Level 4 restrictions due to the third wave on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa focused on “mining, manufacturing and the taxi industry” for the fourth stream of vaccination programmes.
“Our people interact with 25 million customers coming into our stores every month, and it is critical that they be vaccinated,” Pieter Engelbrecht, Shoprite Group Chief Executive Officer, said.
“We strongly believe that they should be prioritised and we are ready to roll out vaccinations on behalf of government to our employees who continue to go the extra mile in challenging conditions to keep serving customers.”
The group has a significant logistical and pharmaceutical distribution network through Transpharm Pharmaceutical Distributors and pharmacy chain, MediRite.
Engelbrecht said Shoprite was eager to see the vaccine roll-out programme accelerated and could help if it could secure and administer vaccines, while absorbing all the costs.
“We are prepared to play a role and foot the bill, and we can ensure it will happen rapidly,” he said.
Frontline workers, including cashiers, merchandisers and line management retail workers, have been at work daily since the onset of the pandemic in March last year.
– CAJ News