Slide background
Slide background

Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

COVID-19: It’s unconstitutional to force staff to vaccinate says the SAHRC

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says it is unconstitutional for companies to force employees to vaccinate against COVID-19.

17 September 2021

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has said that companies are violating people’s rights by forcing individuals to vaccinate. SAHRC wants the government to point out the policy that allows companies to make the decision.

The SAHRC statement follows after companies like Discovery Health, Curro and Sanlam decided to oblige employees to vaccinate in recent weeks.

Discovery became the first large corporation in South Africa to announce the decision before it was followed by Curro and later Sanlam – though all three companies assured the public that they were to allow certain exceptions like valid medical reasons for staff that can’t vaccinate.


According to the SAHRC’s response to companies, the decision to force staff to take COVID-19 jabs is simply wrong.

“At the moment some companies have said: ‘All our employees will be vaccinated,’” SAHRC chairperson advocate Bongani Majola said on PowerFM.

Majola underlined Section 36 of the Constitution:

    “Of course, they are wrong because the Constitution is very clear that rights can be limited but it can only be limited in terms of Section 36 of the Constitution,” Majola explained.

Without a law that allows companies to force people to vaccinate, it is a violation of their rights, Majola stressed.


Majola then encouraged people who have been forced to vaccinate to take action against their employees. He said they should consult the commission so that it can challenge the violated rights.

    “Those people [workers] will have to come to the commission so that we can engage with those companies and say on what basis are you doing this.”

The SAHRC advocate concluded that the council is eager to discover which government policy allows companies to oblige staff to vaccinate.

“We do not know what animal we are dissecting and analysing. We need to know what policy is being put in place by the government,” Majola concluded.

The South African Human Rights Commission.

Follow the SAHRC

About us

The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

27 Stiements Street, Braamfontein

011 877 3600 (Switchboard)