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Making Covid-19 Vaccines Mandatory For Residential Complexes

Housing complex

Making vaccines mandatory has been a hotly debated topic since the rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations in South Africa. Private companies as well as public universities have introduced proposals that would see vaccines be made mandatory to access their facilities.

Could this same principle be applied to private residential or communal complexes or could residents be forced to vaccinate?

Specialist Community Schemes Attorney Marina Constas says that there are currently no court decisions or directives which make vaccines mandatory. She says that owners or trustees of a communal housing scheme can't currently enforce vaccination on tenants.

The Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act 8 of 2011 allows for owners or managers of properties to make rules that must be followed by tenants. However, Marina says that a mandatory vaccine mandate to live in a residential complex may be viewed as unreasonable or discriminatory.

Marina explained that even in cases where a rule has been introduced, the matter could be escalated to an ombud who could rule over the matter. She adds that residential trustees are not owners of an entire property but rather a small portion. This could prevent them from enforcing rules.

She said, “it doesn't derogate from the trustees responsibility and it's a serious responsibility, to comply with the Disaster Management Act and regulations which say face masks sanitising social distancing. I mean that's imperative in a scheme but the blanket mandatory vaccination I think it's highly unlikely”.

Marina says that a policy like making vaccines mandatory would be complex. Residents also have the right to privacy and the right not to disclose their personal health information. This, along with the Protections of Personal Information Act, would all need to be considered before a policy could be introduced.

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