Cheadle-stan: A brave new shameful world?

STUDENT bodies have resoundingly rejected calls for ‘mandatory vaccination’ on our nation’s campuses. Coercion defeats the purpose of constitutional guarantees, including bodily integrity and freedom of movement, not to mention academic freedom. The students say immunisation programmes should be voluntary and recognise individual rights at the same time the needs of the majority are taken into account.

This hasn’t stopped several motions for vaccine mandates and/or vaccine passports from being proposed by UCT Senate and other universities. And it hasn’t stopped far-right legal professionals from arguing essentially for the scrapping of article 12 alongside the introduction of internal passports which recall South Africa’s introduction of the so-called ‘dompas’.

If these proposals are anything to go by, we could end up adopting a version of the ‘China Model’ of social control, in which vaccine points scores determine both social status and access to resources in society, and all this without so much as a debate on campus nor even a democratic process within the hallowed halls of the National Assembly? A system which lends itself to all sorts of abuse. Post something the authorities don’t like, and beep, you’re just an anti-vaxer, denied access to public transport.

Right-wing juristocrat Professor Pierre de Vos thus penned yet another article published by Daily Maverick, this week in which he purports to present case precedent and various authorities in support of the limitation of one of the foundations of our constitutional dispensation.

According to article 36 of the constitution, rights may only be limited by a ‘law of general application’, — the rights under article 12 were considered important enough by our nation’s founders, for them to be listed as non-derogable during a state of emergency. In other words, one may infer that the mere declaration of an emergency or disaster is not sufficient to consider their limitation, and that one cannot argue, as many SABC talking heads have over the past week, on the basis of the mere roll-out of so-called ‘mask-mandates’.

De Vos argues: “While a policy requiring all (non-exempted) staff and students to be vaccinated will not directly coerce anyone to get vaccinated, it will present individuals who are not keen to be vaccinated with a difficult choice and would therefore interfere with their right freely to make decisions about their own bodies. “

After appearing to walk back some of his astonishing statements made in his earlier piece (see here), he then proceeds to rehash work written on the subject of bioethics, referring to an 2016 article by A Nienaber and K N Bailey, in the South African Journal of Bioethics and Law:”The right to physical integrity and informed refusal: Just how far does a patient’s right to refuse medical treatment go?”

In this manner De Vos introduces yet another series of citations, ostensibly to argue the point that article 12 may be limited by any arbitrary law when it comes to immunisation.

It is the height of scholastic chicanery and downright dishonest to assume that De Vos is actually introducing a cogent and rational argument in the public arena, since none of the cases cited apply to healthy individuals per se and do not limit our right to informed consent. It is one thing to quarantine a highly infectious individual or group of persons, but quite another to treat the entire body politic as infectious.

The cases cited by De Vos apply inter alia, to persons accused of a crime; to blood transfusion with respect to a minor; a case of highly contagious XDR-TB, and termination of pregnancy beyond a certain date.

Again, it is a long stretch of the imagination to treat unvaccinated persons as if they are accused of a crime. In effect to create a novel category of ‘pre-crime’ so elegantly demonstrated in the 2002 scifi thriller Minority Report.

If anything the question of the harm caused by the unvaccinated has not been addressed: Where is the harm done by an unvaccinated individual to others, given that vaccination does not necessarily stop transmission when it comes to coronoviruses, and we are not dealing with the measles?

Are the risks to public health as bad as they have been made out to be? Where is the proportionality, given that the measures appear excessive and open one to any number of other vaccination programmes, not to mention annual updates? What, so you didn’t get the latest booster shot, no graduation for you sir! And where is the science backing up any of De Vos’ bold assertions when it comes to mortality, mutation and infection moving forward?

I have already lodged my objection to the manner in which De Vos had earlier cited criminal law in order to make a case effecting the rights of those who have not been found guilty of any crime.

And how dare he seek to terminate ownership and control over the body for free-thinking individuals in South Africa in the public arena? How dare he do it in this fashion, by abusing his own office whilst denying the same rights, the right of reply to interested and affected parties?

De Vos and his corrupt crony Cheadle, really need to step down from their pedestals at UCT. Vaccines may save lives, but removing consent destroys our democracy. And the only real questions in my mind are these ones: does South Africa have the courage to learn from its past mistakes, in particular the dompas?

Should we be changing the democratic character of our nation so hastily, and given that most epidemics run their course after two years?

Judging by the manner in which our country’s legal scholars so readily resort to the strange determinations made by other nation’s, I can only suggest that our human rights revolution is anything but secure.

I therefore present to you two pieces below published in the public arena that may have escaped your attention, and direct readers to my earlier pieces published on the subject. See here and here, and here and here and here.

https://theconversation.com/why-a-covid-19-vaccine-mandate-is-not-the-best-policy-option-for-south-africa-166195

https://www.iol.co.za/sundayindependent/news/all-south-africans-have-a-right-to-accept-or-refuse-vaccines-says-experts-688ce435-924f-4e39-a25f-ca1989797658

Microchip ‘vaccine passports’, second thoughts on Cheadle-stan

AS ONE of the vaccinated, I am generally in favour of universal immunisation strategies. The majority of deaths during the Covid epidemic have come from the ranks of the unvaccinated. Vaccines save lives, I wrote, but ‘removing patient consent destroys the foundation of our democracy’. I have thus tended to promote informed consent, patient choice and persuasion rather than outright coercion — and favour to some extant, what is referred to in legal circles as ‘positive discrimination’ especially when it comes to certain categories of employment.

An opinion piece by Kevin Ritchie in the Star entitled “Vaccine hesitancy: Why it’s time to create no-vaxx, no-go areas however paints a grim future of a state in which all citizens are effectively microchipped, forced to carry electronic ‘vaccine passports’ — internal passports that act to either grant or restrict access to freedom of movement, or as Ritchie explains, “no jab, no pub, no shopping mall”.

All this is to be achieved on the basis of immediate and instantaneous third-party access to patient information. A feat which would necessitate the removal of rights already granted under the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI), not to mention placing restrictions and limitations on fundamental freedoms — the right to privacy, freedom of movement and other rights enshrined in our Constitution.

I have already written how an antiquated dominionship and/or guardianship model of state power (the state acting as parent-of-the-people), and thus a model contrary to our human rights based system, is being rolled out as we speak by Cheadle, Karim and Grey et al, in the process negating the hard-won victories of our democracy.

Unlike members of PANDA, who are campaigning for individual privacy and rights when it comes to employment, I have no quibbles in disclosing my Covid vaccine status to all and sundry, but can’t help wondering how this plays out as we move forward and especially when it comes to other diseases, for example HIV?

Didn’t we all win a patient rights battle, fought during the late 90s and over the turn-of-the-millennium, for HIV patients to not be coerced into disclosure of status? And why is Covid being treated like a chronic illness, when all the evidence points to its eminent and impending seasonal nature?

As Helen Braswell writes in Statnews: “The truth of the matter is that pandemics always end. And to date vaccines have never played a significant role in ending them. “

Brasell who a former Nieman Global Health Fellow at Harvard, where she focused on polio eradication, argues that “there were no flu vaccines in 1918, when the world didn’t yet know that the great influenza was caused by a virus, H1N1. In 1957, when the H2N2 pandemic swept the world, flu vaccine was mainly a tool of the military. In the pandemic of 1968, which brought us H3N2, the United States produced nearly 22 million doses of vaccine, but by the time it was ready the worst of the pandemic had passed, and demand subsided.”

She writes: “That ‘too little and too late‘ phenomenon played out again in 2009, when the world finally had the capacity to make hundreds of millions of doses of H1N1 vaccine; some countries cancelled large portions of their orders because they ended up not needing them.”

The same may be said for a previous coronovirus pandemic thought to have occurred in 1889, and known in medical histories as “the Russian flu,” which “might actually have been caused by one of the human coronaviruses, OC43.”

Her article proceeds to explore the manner in which pandemic flu becomes seasonal flu and the strong likelihood that Covid will become endemic, alongside other cold viruses, and how the world and our immune systems will inevitably move on.

As Sarah Zhang in The Atlantic concludes, “in the endemic scenario, where many people have some immunity, the coronavirus will not be able to infect as many people or replicate as many times in each person it infects.”

And that’s the trouble with the current pandemic outlook as we move forward into a seasonal coronovirus fluctuation, and the prospect of an annual wave resulting in a predictable ‘surge in patients’ — the technocrats are going to want to provide us with booster shots, not just to those with comorbidity and other ailments, but to all the rest of us, as we head into a ‘belt and braces’ world in which we may be cajoled, forced, coerced and even placed under sanctions, in order to get those yearly updates punted by Big Pharma.

The resulting case precedent may just open the door to mandatory jabs for common cancers, STDs and even ‘mental illness’ like anxiety and depression.

Which brings me to another point I wish to make, one which echoes a post I made on HIV stats and scepticism, some time ago. Currently excess deaths in South Africa during the pandemic number some 250 000. That is less than 1 percent of our population, some 0.4% – 0.6% to be exact.

Are we about to dump individual liberty, personal freedom, Mandela’s permissive society in favour of an authoritarian state in which the president is for all intents and purposes, the parent of the people? Judging by the many pro-mandate articles appearing in the press over the past weeks, we are certainly in for a rough ride.

Cheadle-stan, a country where your medical practitioners may as well be the Taliban

HALTON CHEADLE claims to be an ’emeritus professor of law at UCT’. In reality the self-styled ‘drafter of the Labour Relations Act’ was pushed into early retirement following revelations of his business relationship with then Speaker of the House of Assembly, Max Sisulu, and Kagiso, a company in business with Media24.

In 2010, Cheadle handed down a labour decision gutting the TRC Report, inverting the facts of apartheid, and inter alia altering my religious affiliation.

It would come as no surprise that his own client, Media24 was given a free ride when it came to apartheid-era justifications for separate development, de facto newsroom segregation, race profiling and a set of alternative facts used to pillory the late jazz legend Robbie Jansen. At the same time this writer was falsely accused inter alia of ‘misleading the public’ by deploying the phrase, “Speaking from his home, Robbie Jansen said…”

I interviewed a Professor of Linguistics, not only is the above phrase covered by journalistic privilege, is referred to as common speech and a turn of phrase, but the writer is entirely absent.

When Cheadle isn’t inventing lies, gutting the country’s transitional justice arrangements, or rigging the LRA in his own favour, and thus engaged in corrupt activities, prescribed under the ‘Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act‘, he spends his time in Glencairn, Cape Town, declaiming upon our Constitution, a document for which some delusional citizens, including news subs, seem to want to give him a little credit.

The Constituent Assembly which convened from 1994-1996 was the only body which drafted the Constitution. Many MPs, including civil society procured attorneys to assist in the drafting process. But for anyone to claim Cheadle was orchestrating the content, or was somehow an MP at the time, is to grossly exaggerate his influence as a practitioner of law.

Having put the above matter to rest, I need to point out that the Cheadle is not only corrupt, but is also a regular cuckoo clock when it comes to legal matters. And my apologies at the outset for how this is going to play out when it comes to the MRC’s Glenda Grey.

Not even the Taliban

A piece published by the Daily Maverick, tackling the question “Can the government constitutionally require that everyone be vaccinated against Covid-19?” begins with what appear to be Cheadle and Gray’s summary answer regarding compulsory immunisation:

“The simple answer is it can,” the duo claim at the outset, (‘trust us, we can’), before pursuing an ill-advised motion for removing what remains of patient consent and human rights during the pandemic. These are hard won rights, gained from the struggle for freedom (see here).Vaccines save lives, removing consent destroys the foundation of our democracy.

As both a potential beneficiary and a party insider situated above the law, nothing more than polemic is provided in support by Cheadle.

Gray should know better than to rely upon a legal practitioner, whose past dealings and involvement with Kagiso, chart a course of investments spanning Aspen, a company responsible for local production of the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine. The Kagiso Domestic Balanced Fund showed a 2.5% investment in Aspen as at 2019.

There are certainly good reasons for universal immunisation, and yes ‘deaths are more likely to occur amongst the unvaccinated’, and ‘new mutations may emerge’ — but none of the reasons supplied by the pair demonstrate why these are foregone conclusions and why our rights should be forfeited in the process? Why are voluntary participation, incentivisation and the normal societal strictures failing if at all?

The bold assertions beg the question, why weren’t our rights similarly removed during earlier epidemics and vaccination programmes? Just about nobody encounters a legal writ forcing one to take a measles vaccine, and we have never possessed vaccine passports, nor any attempt to document patient histories with the self-same rigour. The resulting precedent opens us all needlessly, to mandatory annual shots for any manner of public health concerns. You need blood statins, well, you don’t have any choice over the matter, sir?

And thus what follows in part one of a three part series, isn’t a legal argument per se, nor a scholarly jurisprudence essay calling for the adoption of vaccine mandates, and citing local case precedent (mostly in favour of HIV rights), but rather two individual’s self-interested rhetoric placed in the public domain and deserving of our antipathy. As already noted in my earlier post, the only South African case law provided for this type of overly robust medical intervention refer to the plight of the already incarcerated, criminals and state patients.

The government’s steadfast refusal to embrace vaccine mandates is seen as no small obstacle:

We will be lucky if we vaccinate 2% of our population

GIVEN the slow pace at which South Africa’s mass vaccination campaign has been rolled out — as yet, not one confirmed public vaccination has been administered — claims by government that 10% of the population, including the vulnerable and front-line workers will receive the jab, must be met with a good degree of scepticism.

We will be lucky if we manage to vaccinate some 2% of our citizens over the coming six months, that’s 1 140 000 or just over 1 million individuals. The recent comments made by the Chief Justice may have already torpedoed the public Covax Initiative.

In the week in which a new more virulent local variant of the virus was announced by Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, with its origin in Nelson Mandela Bay, the country finally paid over its contribution to the UN programme, yet another example of what Dr Carl Venter terms a ‘poor handling of the crisis’.

Health activists had thus already expressed concern that South Africa had missed the deadline, and all this while images of the West’s immunisation campaign already under way were being streamed over our television screens, a local wait-and-see approach if any.

Meanwhile the health system in several provinces was under severe pressure, with no plans in sight to alleviate the lack of oxygen, PPE and high care facilities over the New Year period. Local press appeared unable to present the problematic second wave and our failing vaccination programme in any frame except, ‘we’ve been here already, and don’t want another hard lock-down’.

Readers would have had to find information on the collapse of health care services and lack of critical care in Nelson Mandela Bay, not from the local press, but rather from the New York Times, whose Sheri Fink reported this week on a tragedy unfolding in Port Elizabeth, and thus a troubling lack of credible information from local media houses.

A situation of self-censorship which has its echo in previous fumbling by the Mbeki administration over ARVs and the earlier Botha regime which suppressed news about the SADF invasion of Angola and death toll at Cuito Cuanavale?

While government was announcing it had identified the 501.V2 Variant, Minister Mkhize was thus bizarrely playing down the implications of a sudden shift in the epidemiological picture as the demure Prof Karim continued to spew forth scientific opinion with little impact on the reality and lives of health care workers.

“Clinicians, said Karim “have been providing anecdotal evidence of a shift in the clinical epidemiological picture – in particular noting that they are seeing a larger proportion of younger patients with no co-morbidities presenting with critical illness,” he said.

If Fink’s observations as a journalist are mere anecdotes, then much of what passes for press commentary in the republic is a fraud.

Let her words below sink in, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to observe the virus isn’t any more deadly, it is rather, more pernicious and disruptive to our health sector:

“At the center of a terrifying coronavirus surge, 242 patients lay in row after row of beds under the soaring metal beams of a decommissioned Volkswagen factory.”

“Workers at the vast field hospital could provide oxygen and medications, but there were no I.C.U. beds, no ventilators, no working phones and just one physician on duty on a recent Sunday — Dr. Jessica Du Preez, in her second year of independent practice.”

“In a shed-like refrigerator behind a door marked “BODY HOLD,” carts contained the remains of three patients that morning. A funeral home had already picked up another body.”

“On rounds, Dr. Du Preez stopped at the bed of a 60-year-old patient, a grandmother and former college counselor. Her oxygen tube had detached while she was lying prone, but the nurses had so many patients they hadn’t noticed. Now, she was gone.”

That medics are having to prioritise who gets treatment while denying others, according to a score card, is a tragedy being repeated all around the world.