The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
Over-the-top regulation as we continue with a Covid-19 ‘State of Disaster” is risking global ridicule and a huge loss of confidence in government as the Omicron threat fades into virtual obscurity and the chances of a more harmful Covid-19 wave diminish. Here’s the take from a former ICU chief who was at the sharp end of the three far more fatal waves that preceded Omicron. You’d think such a person would lean towards caution. One crumb sports fans will grab from a very lean table is proof of vaccination upon at last being allowed to attend live games, albeit at half-stadium capacity. Prof. Mdladla asks why this is necessary when we already have 80% infection-acquired immunity. Even a slight breeze would disperse any airborne virus unless passionate fans are smooching or screaming into one another’s faces. Read on for this fascinating unpicking of President Ramaphosa’s latest TV Covid-19 twirl. – Chris Bateman
Another ‘non-speech’ by the South African President on Covid-19 restrictions and regulations
By Dr Nkosinathi Mdladla*
I am busy trying to write a synopsis on what has gone wrong with our Ministerial Advisory Committee recommendations since March 2020, and how we have wasted every opportunity to self-correct and improve for a balanced approach since the initial “two weeks to flatten the curve” pseudoscientific narrative that was fed to the South African public and the world. Then I started getting messages that the president will be delivering a Covid-19 national address at 20:00 on this 22nd day of March 2022…
I have not listened to any of these Covid-19 national address speeches by the president since June/July 2020 because it became abundantly clear that whoever was advising him was either clueless about world events, totally oblivious of the unique South African context or was plainly acting out of personal bias with no thread of science to back up their recommendations. The cynical part of me also believed that the R570bn interest-free loan we received from the IMF and the World Bank had something to do with the non-contextual recommendations we were being given, and that our government just found “scientists for hire” who were prepared to rubber stamp their narrative to stay in line with the loan conditions and dictates!
After the president waffled for more than 10 minutes on tonight’s speech, to eventually state what he has clearly been pressured to do or say, he then produced a litany of mind-boggling contradictions and confusing advisory statements:
- First of all, he acknowledged that serious case numbers requiring hospitalisation and deaths from Covid-19 were significantly low due to a combination of infection- and vaccine-acquired immunity in SA (the latter is open to debate).
- He acknowledged that 60–80% of people have been exposed to the coronavirus in SA, with a significant degree of immunity being derived from this, and that about 40% of adults have received at least one dose of one of the two available vaccines.
These two statements should naturally have been followed by recommendations aligned with that take:
- All restrictions should end indoors and outdoors.
- Covid-19 vaccine mandates should end in all spheres of South African life.
- SA should quickly accelerate towards returning to normal life with immediate effect.
But it was not to be and what followed was just an unbearable assault and ridicule to the extent that as a listener I felt insulted and had to tune off!
- Why would entry into stadiums and large events require proof of vaccination in the face of 80% infection acquired immunity?
- Why continue the requirement for masking to enter indoor venues, when these come off upon sitting down?
- Why still push forced vaccination for all irrespective of risk without considering prior exposure?
I’m certain the president lost a few more defenders of his policies with this last output. A lot of damage has already been caused by the many ridiculous MAC recommendations that started with lockdowns and culminating in the current forced injections for Covid-19 with no scientific basis. In between all of this has been a great disconnect with what has been happening on the ground, here and abroad. With every new intervention and recommendation, the MAC and the president’s office have alienated more and more people to the extent that there may be no other option but for people to do what is in their best interest.
The problem for South Africa has been all the influential players who have sat by the sidelines and allowed a power-hungry government free reign in the interest of “a greater good” while believing individual rights and liberties are a privilege to be dispensed with without any in-depth and unemotional scrutiny.
- The medical profession was the first to allow this abuse of power by forgetting everything it knew about the science of pandemic management; and its role in suppressing everything that was against the main narrative from its publications including the active vilification and silencing of those who dared to speak.
- The judiciary who never sought to seek balance or at least leave the door open for ongoing debate and discussion between those with opposing views to better inform a balanced approach for SA is guilty of being complicit.
- The mainstream media, who as far as March 2020 saw their role in this pandemic as loudspeakers for selling the government narrative as gospel truth; not asking questions; denying dissenting voices a platform to share their take and ideas; and being instruments for pushing derogatory labels and calling for cancelling of those with different opinions.
- Captains of major industry who have seen the power they wield over their employees and suppliers, and the influence they have over the sold narrative, fit to be used to oppress the common man, to coerce him to do what is against his beliefs and wishes for fear of losing the ability to earn a living for his family.
- Institutions of higher learning, which have gone against all that they, as defenders of debate and academic engagement should have stood for but instead fell headfirst onto the bandwagon of supporting policies that have been failing dismally for more than six months all over the world already.
A lot of damage has already been done on the South African public’s perception and trust in its government and authorities, our media will not do any audits on this or report on the ones they have done for fear of discrediting the government. Further damage is being done on health regulatory bodies and medicine itself due to their acquiescence on the plunder of human rights to bodily autonomy and informed consent.
This last nation address by the president may have been a start of the rapid slide towards zero confidence in all our national institutions that could have held a more balanced approach in managing this pandemic. The true cost of our erroneous policies and interventions is mounting, but with the lack of in-depth journalistic investigation and a demand for accountability from our officials and advisors, we will continue making more costly mistakes.
- Dr Mdladla is a former associate professor and chief of ICU at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital and Sefako Makgatho University where he was the lead of the Covid-19 ICU through three waves. He is currently a cardiac anaesthesiologist in private practice and a commentator on contextual public health interventions in the current peri-pandemic sphere.
NEASA media statement:
By Gerhard Papenfus*
South Africa is slowly moving towards a police state, under the facade of a health scare.
For some it may have been a privilege this morning not to wear a mask outdoors, in the sun, breathing fresh air, boosting your own God given immunity. For me, like millions of others, this was not a new experience; I have never complied with this senseless unscientific arrangement.
One can be tempted to appreciate Government’s relaxation of certain lockdown measures. However, when viewed within the context of what is currently transpiring, you realize there is nothing to appreciate, but much to be very concerned about:
- We are still living under a ‘state of disaster’. The privileges granted to you last night by the President, can be taken away, arbitrarily, without the risk of being challenged. The President did us a favour last night; he will withdraw the ‘favour’ if we do not behave.
- The ‘state of disaster’ will remain in place until the finalisation and introduction of the Regulations relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions: Amendment. When these regulations are implemented, it will effectively make the Covid-19 lockdown permanent.
- Apart from the Regulations relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions: Amendment being introduced at the end of the ‘state of disaster’, the Code of Practice: Managing Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the Workplace 2022, will also come into effect. These regulations are draconian, impractical, and unreasonable for both employers and employees. It entrenches Government’s vaccine-obsession and places an unjust and impracticable burden on employers.
All of the above is done, not to protect people against a virus, but to control them, to implement a new global order (which was the idea all along, and which is no longer a secret), and at the same time extract spectacular sums of money out of this evil venture.
If there were any prospects of success, one could have demanded that politicians, monopolists, academic institutions, and individuals lay bare their books in order to reveal their financial interests in this sham. We know this will not happen, at least not for the foreseeable future. But we want them to know that we know – and the truth will eventually be revealed. In the meantime, one can only wonder what it feels like when you have sold your soul and betrayed your country and fellow man.
Unless what is currently transpiring is stopped and reversed, we will one day look back and wonder how it came about that we forfeited our freedom. Take note of what is happening, it is currently being taken away from us, bit by bit.
- Gerhard Papenfus is the Chief Executive of the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA). He writes this at his personal capacity.
- Covid-19 vaccines: Has science been ignored for political expediency?
- Mandatory vaccination, passports make no sense in SA context – Gauteng anaesthetist
- SA health regulator gives Ivermectin the red light … again! – Professor Aldous and Dr Mdladla interrogate
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.