With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to grip the world, Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Ronald Lamola, has joined calls for a waiver of intellectual property rights tied to COVID-19 vaccines.

“The world is an interconnected society and therefore, we share a common fate. It is against this background that we call for the waiver of intellectual property rights tied to COVID-19 vaccines. Not only is ‘vaccine apartheid’ morally indefensible; it deepens global inequalities and erodes our ability build a truly global community,” said the Minister.

Lamola made these comments during the Greek National Day and the Bicentennial Anniversary of the Greek Revolution.

“It would be remiss of us not to acknowledge that these momentous celebrations are marred by the advent of COVID-19, which has sparred no nation. Now more than ever, we are called upon by our endangered future to deepen our historical ties and form a united front against vaccine apartheid or nationalism,” said the Minister in his virtual address.

The Minister wished President Katerina Sakelaropoulou, the government, the people of Greece and the diaspora well on their 200th celebration of the Independence of the Hellenic Republic.

“The continued presence in and commitment to this land of ours of an estimated 45 000 Greek-South Africans, stands as testimony to the shared values and common destiny that we share as governments, cultures, and democratic civilizations.

“It can thus be rightly expected of us to continue the reaffirmation and search for closer cooperation, as we seek to address the global challenges that face our planet and our peoples,” he said.

Lamola noted that the celebration coincides with South Africa’s Human Rights Month.

“As we celebrate this very important month of our nascent democracy, we do so in the name of our stalwart and heroine, Mme Charlotte Manye Maxeke.

“Like Laskarina Boubourina, Charlotte Maxeke is a heroine of our struggle. We can without a doubt say without the contributions of Maxeke and Boubourina alike, our nations may have been remarkably different to what they have become today,” said the Minister.

South Africa, he said, commends the people of Greece for their commitment to building a society anchored on democracy.

“I have no doubt that as we celebrate 25 years of constitutionalism, we will look to you for insights on how we continue to entrench constitutionalism, democracy, and the rule of law as a framework for a better society,” said Lamola.

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