William Saunderson-Meyer
3 minute read
9 May 2021
7:50 am

Government simply doesn’t trust science in virus fight

William Saunderson-Meyer

That Schoub, and by implication Mkhize, believes that the public is so intellectually delicate as to crumble when experts debate the wisdom of policies that affect every South African, is extraordinary.

Picture for illustration. Experts need to be able to debate robustly, and freely, writes William Saunderson-Meyer. (Photo by OMAR HAJ KADOUR / AFP)

Some of South Africa’s most respected and influential scientists have been engaged for weeks in a bitter spat over the government’s vaccine roll-out, or lack thereof. On the one side are academics from the universities of Witwatersrand, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal. On the other, the head of the vaccine arm of the advisory committees set up supposedly to provide the best possible scientific advice to shape the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Perhaps because the barbed exchanges have been conducted through editorials and correspondence in the normally sedate pages of the august SA Medical Journal (SAMJ), the matter has...