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Ramaphosa blasted for ‘failing to thank Indian government and SII for Covid vaccines’

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Following Monday night’s family meeting, hundreds of people took to social media angered by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ‘failure’ to thank the Indian government for their ‘donation’ of one million Covid vaccines.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has been slammed after he ’failed to thank the Indian government and the SII for the one million AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in SA on Monday. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency/ANA

DURBAN – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has been ordered to issue an apology to the Indian government and the Serum Institute of India (SII) after he “failed” to thank them in his address to the nation earlier this week.

The first batch of AstraZeneca arrived in South Africa on Monday just after 3pm.

Following Monday night’s family meeting, hundreds of people took to social media angered by Ramaphosa’s “failure” to thank the Indian government for their “donation” of one million Covid vaccines. Furthermore, people were furious he didn’t mention disaster relief foundation the Gift of the Givers, and chose rather to mention the Cuban medical brigade in his speech.

In a letter drafted by attorneys Kirsten Naidoo & Company Inc – on behalf of those who raised a complaint – Ramaphosa was urged to always be “considerate and grateful”.

The letter states the Indian government and the SII “generously allocated” vaccines to South Africa.

“Due to the Indian government and the Serum Institute of India’s aforesaid generosity, South Africa has received its first batch of vaccines that are desperately needed to combat Covid-19. Our clients note that the South African government together with yourself have highly publicised the arrival of the vaccines from India, celebrating same and taking credit for this event.

“Our clients note with disappointment that during your address to the nation you had failed to thank the Indian government and the Serum Institute for India for their consideration and generosity but chose to praise and recognise pharmaceutical companies, a cellphone company and the people and government of Cuba. Your failure to thank the Indian government, the Serum Institute of India and the people of India who had made the arrival of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines to South Africa possible was insulting, inconsiderate and disgraceful,” the letter read.

The firm said they have been instructed to draw the president’s attention to the strong ties between SA and India “due to the fact that people of Indian origin have made South Africa their home”.

The letter demands that Ramaphosa publicly address the nation, apologising for his “failure” to thank the Indian government, the SII and the people of India.

“We draw to your attention that you together with your team of advisers and experts had failed to secure vaccines for South Africa and, but for generosity of the Indian government and the Serum Institute of India and the people of India, South Africa would still be standing in a long line begging for vaccines to be allocated to it,” the letter stated.

Meanwhile, Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said while they were grateful for people’s concerns, the organisation did not need a pat on the back from government.

“I have been given three instructions and that is to provide support unconditionally, not expect a ‘thank you’ and not to get a kick up our backs. So far, we have not got a kick up our backs. This is worth more to us than anything. The love of the people is priceless,” he said.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Tyrone Seale, said; “The Presidency has indicated to the attorneys that this matter is receiving attention.”

IOL