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South Africa’s looming vaccine revolt Lockdown division could destroy the fragile nation

A South African soldier searches for people not wearing face masks (MICHELE SPATARI/AFP via Getty Images)

A South African soldier searches for people not wearing face masks (MICHELE SPATARI/AFP via Getty Images)


December 7, 2021   5 mins

South Africans will find out this week whether President Cyril Ramaphosa will consign 60% of them to proxy house arrest by restricting public spaces to the Covid-19 “vaccinated”. It is a fraught decision; one that sets the terrifying powers of Big Pharma and the new class of warrior-scientists against African reality. It also risks the possibility of sparking one of the bitterest of vaccine wars.

Only 40% of the South African population has been jabbed against Covid — a slow take-up which is euphemistically described as “vaccine hesitancy”. It is anything but: it is enraged rejection.

There are a number of reasons why it is so hard to get South Africans to take the umjovu, the injection: appalling technical management of the outbreak, a prevailing scepticism towards science, wariness about the Government and a wide-spread apprehension by the poor and marginalised that this is at best another form of repression and at worst witchcraft. It is a dangerous brew in a country already in a state of great political, social and economic instability.

In common with the rest of the world, South African epidemiological estimates of fatalities at the outset of the coronavirus outbreak verged on the fantastical. Initial predictions were for between 87,000 and 350,000 fatalities in the first phase. There were 103. Two years later, with the virus in retreat, fatalities attributed to Covid (but by no means vouchsafed) are only now beginning to touch the lowest initial estimates.

Yet the South African Government imposed one of the longest and most severe lockdowns, supported by a baying national and social media. The decision has proved inappropriate in nature, premature in timing and catastrophic in impact. In a country where many depend on ad hoc daily or weekly subsistence wages, the sudden cessation of economic activity wreaked havoc amongst the poor and self-employed. A failing state was unable to deliver on its promise of subsidies, responsible policing or effective containment.

It took more than a year for the first subsidies to individuals or small businesses to start coming through. And even then they were erratic, corruption-prone, inadequate, and according to many attested reports, distributed on a racially biased basis. Nearly a quarter of small businesses have gone to the wall and unemployment has rocketed.

An entire section of the population was effectively criminalised: in the first four months of the outbreak, 230,000 citizens, 0.4% of the population, were charged with infringement of the Disaster Regulations for breaking the restrictions, 311 of them policemen. All the charges were later dropped: the criminal justice system simply could not cope.

For every reported infection to the end June last year, seven citizens were arrested for breach of regulations; for every 100 infections, one police officer was arrested; and for every 1,200 infections there was a High Court urgent application. Seven people had been killed in heavy-handed enforcement.

When two doctors working in a Government hospital were forcibly interned in one of the state’s make-shift rural isolation camps, the High Court ordered they be allowed to self-isolate at home: it accepted the doctors’ deposition that they stood more chance of dying from the conditions of incarceration than from the virus.

Small surprise, then, that the general population, particularly the poor, headed for the hills. Take-up of the crucial HIV-Aids retroviral dropped from 95% to 30%; malaria medication showed the same path. Attendances for tuberculosis screenings dropped by two-thirds, while consultations with GPs were down 60% and tens of thousands of urgent surgery procedures were postponed for the coronavirus patients who never arrived.

Emergency procurement of personal equipment, meanwhile, opened the door to the corruption lurking in every interstice of the State. The  heir-presumptive to President Ramaphosa has resigned: a state investigatory agency accuses him of directing a R350 million (£16.6 million) Personal Protection Equipment account to friends. The Gauteng Health Department, industrial heartland of the nation, is embroiled in a R560 million (£26.5 million) fraud inquiry. The female whistle-blower was assassinated within days of the inquiry’s launch.

The begging question, whether President Ramaphosa, a decent man, is presiding over a ruling party in the throes of a Robert Kennedy versus The Mob has at least been definitively answered.

At the same time, a public service already perilously compromised by patronage, corruption, incompetence, and the dismissal of key white personnel for affirmative action reasons, went into a long recess. Two years later it has still not properly returned.

Enforcement of traffic licencing rules have also been in abeyance for 18 months as 500,000 drivers’ licences await clearance. Estates cannot be closed, forensic inquiries completed, crimes prosecuted (including culprits in the so-called State Capture project of former President Jacob Zuma) and property transferred. More than half a million school children have quite simply not returned to school.

As for the burden of this failure of service delivery, it has been carried disproportionately by the poor, mainly black but increasingly also by white citizens, judged by the street corner beggars. There is little doubt that the effect of the containment strategies advocated by South Africa’s warrior scientists facilitated the July Troubles this year, which claimed 357 lives in a scourge of looting, arson and violence and has directly accounted for the drastic decline in ruling party support in last month’s municipal elections.

South Africans have endured, if never condoned, the absurdities and atrocities of this misjudged, exploited and needless panic to date. The ebb and flow of the global debate about the course of the pandemic has been intensely watched here by the literate and online portion of the community.

They have followed, like many others in the world, the way the arrogant scientific certainties that locked up the world are dissolving in the face of measured science and empirical fact. They understand one cannot follow a “science” when the scientists are hopelessly at odds. They are aware of the abuse of both language and statistics, particularly the new phenomena of snatch-stats whereby mortality from other causes is snatched for Covid-19, or the natural path of an expiring virus is used to justify the efficacy of an antidote or Excess Deaths are annexed to justify a lost cause.

They note the irony whereby their government, correctly, tells the world not to be alarmed by the Omicron variant, while it simultaneously contemplates a grievous assault against the rights of its citizens to contain it, egged on by the usual howling suspects who demanded total lockdowns. Citizens have minutely followed recent reports of how Pfizer arm-twisted their desperate government into signing legal indemnities for its product: who ever heard of citizens being forced to be vaccinated when the supplier is absolved of any responsibility for the consequences?

Most South Africans are not conspiracy theorists but their history teaches them one certain thing: uncontained power always gets one screwed. And many feel screwed now by a confluence of forces (not a conspiracy) that — from Big Pharma, to Big Tech to authoritarian governments — seeks rent from this incomparable tragedy.

But another, far more important constituency of hesitaters and rejectionists exists. Those who take the time to talk to the black poor and marginalised are astonished by the extent to which, scarred by their lockdown experiences, they regard the current scare as yet another means to oppress them. Curfews, liquor and tobacco bans and the outlawing of political meetings under the guise of fighting Covid-19 support their case. And, for many, the umjovo is nothing less than ubuthakathi or witchcraft.

President Ramaphosa enters dangerous territory here. Take-up of vaccines is higher among the minorities for a variety of reasons and it is a section of the white minority who are the most vociferous supporters of vaccinate-at-all-costs. Banning access to public spaces will instantly translate, as it always does, into a political and racial rumpus. Pieces of paper that permit or restrict certain people’s movements have a terrible record in this country’s history: a bitter resonance for every black person.

Proven and restless forces in South Africa are today looking for chances to reignite the insurrection of July. These are people who do not protest by way of orderly marches, posters and pram-pushing. They seek only opportunity; the consequences brought by the human attempts to contain the pandemic is a revolution.

But revolutions always eventually consume their children. Time will certainly consume the reputations of the architects of this epochal tragedy: the scientists, pharmaceutical companies, politicians and media. And if Ramaphosa isn’t careful, it could also consume the fragile nation of South Africa.


Brian Pottinger is an author and former Editor and Publisher of the South African Sunday Times. He lives on the KwaZulu North Coast.


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J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago

Thanks to the author, and to Unherd, for this sobering article. Out of curiosity I just googled South Africa and covid and all I got (until I dug way down or used a search string that required me to know exactly what I was looking for) was stories about the omicron variant and the fourth wave of covid currently engulfing South Africa’s hospitals (from what I read in this article, South Africa’s health system is on its knees, so I imagine it doesn’t take a big wave to engulf it).
I really just want to say thank you for this article, for providing a reality check unavailable elsewhere. There is such a surreal air to this pandemic now it’s hard to be shocked by anything anymore.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

SA hospitals are certainly NOT being engulfed by Omicron cases. This is the very recent early feedback from the SA Medical Research Council. There is every indication that Omicron is by some magnitude less deadly, requires less hospitalization, less patients require oxygen and average hospital stay has been reduced by more than two thirds. Tshwane in Gauteng is the ‘epicentre’ of Omicron – it has hardly yet taken off in other provinces.
https://www.samrc.ac.za/news/tshwane-district-omicron-variant-patient-profile-early-features

Last edited 2 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
Peter LR
Peter LR
2 years ago

Thanks for info on the ground, Lesley. It is so wrong to punish Africa for discovering omicron with a clever piece of science. I am saddened to see how things are going in a beautiful country scarred by corruption.

Charles Elliston
Charles Elliston
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter LR

The “clever bit of science” is part of the witchcraft which many of us stand back in bemusement with quizzical incomprehension and a large degree of unquestioning acceptance. The corruption appears to have its source within those global institutions and corporations who wish their objectives and ideologies imposed on us all. I think this article is a reality check for us all, a sobering reminder of the immeasurable damage that this global experiment, imposed without precedents and any assessment of future consequences can have on a world of diverse populations.

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
2 years ago

There was a good video by Dr John Campbell on South Africa, which provides some data from one of the hospitals in the area of the surge in cases. Obviously it’s still early days, however it does appear to contradict was is coming out of the MSM and provides evidence on that Omicron may not be as bad as some of the earlier reports suggested.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1Paq17X6ucQ

Last edited 2 years ago by Andy Moore
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

Yes, I saw it. He was accessing information from the link I shared…. thanks

David DewiY
David DewiY
2 years ago

Thanks for the info! Very interesting to me.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

For any search involving covid, climate change, politics, anything controversial, I strongly suggest you try DuckDuckgo – the first link when searching for “South Africa and covid” is the South Africa .za covid site – unfortunately no links there to hospital data but way better than the pravda quality links google shows 1st

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

We still have to see the true nature of how Omicron develops. Let’s hope it continues to be mild
. Fingers crossed.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
2 years ago

It’s hard not to be optimistic: 402 EU cases none severe
https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/news-events/epidemiological-update-omicron-data-9-december

Bernard Stewart
Bernard Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

A great response to a great article. Thanks to both!

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

There was an article yesterday about Tony Blair’s latest crusade in Africa. This article spells out in some way why Africans are wary of the West – in particular now.
What has been imported from the West during Covid is lockdowns which don’t work and do incalculable harm, leaky vaccines which have fast waning efficacy and questionable safety, masks which are a complete joke for an airborne disease, social distancing which is impossible given the living conditions of the majority and various restrictions and mandates which empower governments to ruthlessly control their citizens.
This has opened the door for a corrupt government to do their worst.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago

I really know nothing about these issues, but amidst all the “decolonisation” you read about in the west, that article about Tony Blair (just as an example) does strike me as an example of egregious neocolonialism and “white saviour” syndrome.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrea X
Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago

Hopefully articles like this are waking people up to the realities of what has been transpiring for two years.

The media has mocked, discredited and censored the ”conspiracy theorists’, but the reality is that everything they were saying (and more) is quickly proving to be the case.

Many of us who had grown up trusting our politicians (to some degree), the media such as the BBC, and the doctors and health service, are slowly realising that they cannot (apart from a few brave exceptions) be trusted or relied upon to do what is best for the people.

Anyone who still has any doubts needs to re-read this article and contemplate the motives behind what is going on. And if they still don’t get it read it again, and again, until it becomes clear.

They’re definitely (as this well-researched and well written article shows) not doing all of this for our health.

Last edited 2 years ago by Paul Smithson
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago

A fascinating article if deeply depressing. I only wish the following were true of the West in general

“They have followed, like many others in the world, the way the arrogant scientific certainties that locked up the world are dissolving in the face of measured science and empirical fact.”

In my day to day experience very few people are aware of the counter narrative.

Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Most people these days don’t WANT a counter-narrative, they’ll dismiss it instantly. We’re living through a shockingly creepy age where large numbers of people are relishing bad news and worst-case scenarios and literally demanding their freedoms be taken away

J Hop
J Hop
2 years ago

It’s an interesting phenomenon to be sure. At the risk of being overly simplistic I’ve noticed two traits that are predominant amongst those I know who fit your description (far too many unfortunately):

  1. Introverted personalities that suit lockdownerism well. The ability to work from home, have things delivered, socialize over Zoom and never leave the house suit them just fine.
  2. Lack of meaning leading to a desire for crisis. Unfulfilling jobs, strained relationships, and a sense of “stuckness” is pervasive amongst this set, and the pandemic gives them a sense of excitement and meaning. The bigger the crisis the better.

They don’t want life to return to normal for purely psychological reasons. I would have more empathy for them except for the obvious suffering the spolicies they support cause others that they seem to have disregarded entirely. Perhaps part of their life issues stems from this deficit of integrity, but I’m not holding my breath for any self insight anytime soon.

J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago
Reply to  J Hop

That’s a very interesting comment.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago
Reply to  J Hop

I think you’ve put your finger on it. To the cited characteristics I would add a willingness for many to feel satisfaction knowing they inhabit a moral high ground, from whence they can look down on others considered less prudent, less intelligent and reckless.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago

They relish being part of a Community of Fear.

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
2 years ago

Mostly those on a good fixed income and pension.

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

The reason they’re not aware of this counter narrative is because the govt/media/tech are censoring EVERYONE who has even a slightly different view. Not light-touch censorship or accidental censorship, but heavy handed and 100% intentional.

This alone should wake intelligent people up, because in no time in history has it ended well when doctors, scientists, politicians, and religious leaders have been prevented from speaking out.

Every week hundreds of thousands of people are marching all across the world, but there is almost zero coverage. Why? That is not normal.

The truth is that the kind of censorship of any opinion but the given one, is like something out of North Korea, China or the old USSR. Why are so many good and intelligent people not realising this?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

There has been and continues to be a lot of repression of counter narratives, but as this site and many others show, also an increasing awareness and reporting of them. We don’t live in China quite yet.
I chat to middle class pro-lockdown people all the time. I mention Sweden and Florida etc but they just don’t want to hear it, nor that they are among the most privileged people in the world, who have big gardens, like working from home, order their shopping on line and often live in rural areas. I don’t begrudge any of them any of that, but they have had to pay very little of the costs of the policies they want to impose on people living in say, houses in multiple occupancy or large multi-generational families. They talk ‘progressive’ but live in a wealthy bubble.
The Left has, overall, been particularly awful in this pandemic, as it condones and encourages the most socially and economically regressive polices imaginable. They are supposed to be the ‘internationalists’! They aren’t even on the side of the ‘workers’ but only a small minority of them, in the public sector, who have enough industrial muscle to get their way. Shop workers – good job THEY didn’t all decide to ‘work from home’ – not so much!
There are a few people on the Left, not enough, but some, beginning to speak out on this.

Jerry Smith
Jerry Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Indeed, one wonders whether anyone remembers that there was once a concept called international socialism.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Jerry Smith

Ah, ‘International Socialism’ is alive and well. There just aren’t any workers in it.

Gunner Myrtle
Gunner Myrtle
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Unfortunately censorship works. When I raise any of these issues people don’t believe me. For example a lot of people still don’t seem to understand how Covid is not a threat to younger people. Anyone who is getting their 5 year old vaccinated is nuts. The demand that we all get the third jab is next.

Sally Owen
Sally Owen
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

I have deliberately posted links to various sensible alternatives to the rhetoric on various platforms only to have them removed!
.

Cristina Bodor
Cristina Bodor
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Agreed 100%

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

Excellent timing on this article, and the answer is :::::: ‘The IMF’ A couple days ago George Gammon, in his show ‘Rebel Capitalist’ was discussing exactly this:

How the IMF is intentionally putting all developing nations into great insolvency by forcing Lockdowns on them. See it has them at gunpoint. Sort of like this – The Developing nations have great debt, such that they need the IMF to bail them out. The IMF then requires them to do all the insane Lockdown stuff, – or – it May not Bail them out in the coming mess. This makes them even much worse off, as they cannot Print money to overcome the lockdown costs like we can – they have to borrow yet more of it ——. That this is destroying the lives of hundreds of millions of impoverished people is not an issue – the agenda says lockdown, so do it or else…..

See? Global Government forces them to lockdown (or else…) thereby IMF forces them into greater debt to pay for it, and they have to go along as they are already so far in debt they have to obey the IMF. They are like junkies being forced by their dealer to buy more and more heroin…..

Anyway, here it is: “Emerging Markets Will Need Help When A Debt Crisis Comes” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIJPl5SrxNo

George is a conspiracy loon – not quite as much as me perhaps, but this one is great – and explains the Global Elites forcing Lockdowns on rich and poor alike – and it is NOT FOR HEALTH.

WEF, IMF, FED, BIS, BoE, ECB, with their lackeys, and masters, are driving us lemmings to the cliffs….

And just today – JP Sears in his spoof news show (We Lie TO You News) was talking exactly how South Africa refused to buy more Pfizer, and two days later the world locked SA flights from departing (which costs SA a load)…… Bit of Synchronicity… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyY7NmbBz0A JP is fun to watch mostly, like Bret Weinstein, an ex-Liberal, mugged by reality once too often.

Anyone who thinks this vax mandate/Lockdown stuff is for health has their head buried in sand.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The International Monetary Fund might as well be James Bond villains at this point. All they need now are some gun toting goons, a secret island base, and a space laser.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

George Gammon, on his ‘White Board’ videos explaining the financial systems has the IMF leader Klaus Schwab drawn with a little cat called ‘Mr Bigglesworth’ at his feet. (named after the ‘Austin Powers’ Super Villain’s cat).

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

sorry WEF leader Klaus, – but WEF and IMF are two sides of the same coin….Mr Bigglesworth likely has a food bowl in both Schwab’e and Kristiliana Gerogieva’s kitchens.ï»ż

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

We don’t need the existence of a bogeyman to explain why these countries are broken. They are quite capable of breaking themselves without external assistance.
On the subject of the IMF etc, you are indistinguishable from the far left.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

They most certainly have assistance from the West. They have an imported blueprint to usher in authoritarianism.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago

Lesley, my point is that South Africa is a mess because of South Africans and not because of some external bogeyman. The sentiment here reminds me of the leftwing nuts who always made excuses for Zimbabwe, saying that “if only the West hadn’t done this or that, then Zimbabwe would be like Switzerland”. It’s nonsense. Zimbabwe is stuffed because of bad governance, as is South Africa.

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

“They are like junkies being forced by their dealer to buy more and more heroin…” Great analogy, and your comment is spot-on. Thank you.

Kathleen Stern
Kathleen Stern
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Thanks for the link to We Lie To You News- I read the serious analysis but it’s great to see a comic,but clever debunking site. I’ve now subscribed and intend to experience some intelligent fun!!

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
2 years ago

I live in South Africa these days and can verify the general accuracy of this summary. Ramaphosa is widely seen as a tool of ‘white monopoly capitalists’ or the ‘globalists’ and compulsory vaccinations will be seen as him doing their will both for profit and for control. Since when did the government care about people’s health? Hunger, homelessness, AIDS, unemployment, sexual violence, criminal violence, gang warfare, malaria, TB, lack of road safety, poor educational provision… Covid is not widely seen as a threat outside the relatively prosperous. For the rest, there are far worse and far more immediate problems to worry about.

Last edited 2 years ago by Martin Smith
andrew harman
andrew harman
2 years ago

I was in South Africa for the better part of a month back in 2005 when I was on a year long sabbatical. I fulfilled a long-held dream of visiting the battlefields of iSandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, experiencing the wonderful storytelling of the late David Rattray as well as a host of other wonderful experiences. Even then, I could see it was a country with on-going problems that would not be easily resolved. However, this was completely outshone by the wonderful welcome everywhere and the open friendliness of South Africans from all backgrounds. It is a beautiful country.
So, this article – excellent though it is – saddens me deeply as it seems to present a country close to disintegration; a nation descending into a dark place in large part due to the inevitable tyranny that arises from one party rule, abetted by the chronic self centred, self regarding moralising of elites. We have it here in the UK but not to the same degree.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  andrew harman

I was there in 2014. It was fascinating. I actually found the white farmers to be genuinely great people. I met several and was always so fascinated by their experience we talked at great length. They seemed to be amused by an American who didn’t look at them as racist bigot scumbags. I was fascinated because I would often see them at the side of the roads picking up poor black people in their open bed trucks to go to work. I could see them interacting on a daily basis with the poor. You could tell they were not rich either. They were hard working just trying to do what they could to hang onto their land. You wouldn’t find them in Capetown or the beaches. These were populated by mostly financial and real estate workers. The liberal left and new upper class blacks actually look down on both the farmers and the poor. LOL. This is our world.

Michael Craig
Michael Craig
2 years ago

Thank you for the incisive and surgical precision of your article, slicing brilliantly through the bullshit Covid narrative we’ve been fed.
 The crisis in South Africa, while culturally different to the one being played out here in the UK, nevertheless mirrors the same shocking realization, that worldwide civilization and society is under massive assault, and that it’s time for us all to wake up and react.
 The destruction of small businesses in South Africa has been rolled out across the world, and the same names are laughing all the way to the bank … Amazon, Black Rock, Vanguard, Gates, Pfizer, etc.
 Soon, the arch planners of the exaggerated Covid ‘pandemic’ (IMF, World Bank, WEF, UN and corporate players), will be crashing the world economy prior to their ‘Great Reset’, while they double down on puppet national governments to vaccinate/eliminate their non-compliant citizens from society, as Austria, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and others are obediently doing.
To make sense of it all, ultimately, you have to take the ‘Red Pill’ and grapple with the questions: “Why the insane push to vaccinate everyone on the planet against a moderate coronavirus?” and “Why impose a Covid passport that does not guarantee the holder is not infected?” These are questions you can only answer for yourself.
 Ultimately, it’s all a heist, a coup, and our pathetic politicians – who undoubtedly have lucrative shares in those corporations – are either complacent, cowardly, in on it, or in fear of their lives and for their families.
 We are in serious trouble, and we can’t rely upon or expect our Prime Minister to defend our human rights, or indeed the UN who wrote them (Well, in truth, I’m hoping Boris still has a backbone, but I’m not holding my breath for someone who allows all this destructive, woke nonsense to infiltrate and erode our society).
 I didn’t mean to rant on this matter, but I’m deeply worried – and absolutely furious at the same time. There are those who want to foist upon us an insidious technocratic machine world, void of democracy, freedom, creativity, and everything it means to be human – love, kindness, compassion empathy, creativity, diversity, freedom of expression. In short, I believe we are faced with the ‘Enemies of Life’.
 A reset of the world is indeed required, but it must be up to the people to decide where the world is to go, not a self-styled elite clique who put their own interests above humanity’s. Those of us who are still awake and can think for ourselves, have to head off and replace their dark vision, with one full of hope, fulfilment and abundance for all; to manifest an alternative for the world that embraces and revitalises all that is human and good – maybe to start off with de-centralization, restoring communities, and re-building family, societal and democratic values. This conversation and planetary debate, must be had, and now.
 Get out and meet those who are both ‘the resistance to the technocratic takeover’ and ‘the co-creators of our new society’. They stand in your local park, every Sunday morning, making their stand for freedom. They are those protesting with boards and marching through the streets across all nations of the world, but which the BBC and the media censor.
 It’s time to draw our line in the sand. And if you think I’m exaggerating, I truly hope you are right.

Marcia McGrail
Marcia McGrail
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Craig

You are right – we do have to take a stand against those enemies of life, light, love but that is difficult against the state actors & their resources, as well as the seemingly overwhelming prevailing narrative. There exists small glimmers of hope in such as lowimpact.org and associated luminaries that need an informed populace to start the push-back. Otherwise, like you, I fear for the future.

Michael Craig
Michael Craig
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcia McGrail

Yes, I agree, it does seem difficult, because it appears they hold all the cards and resources – banks, corporates, world institutions, the media, and most politicians.
 What’s in our favour, however, are numbers – we vastly outnumber them. Also, if the people rise up, the army and the police will have to decide on which side they stand, and I choose to believe that most of them are honourable people and will side with us, arresting the politicians and the corrupted.
 Apart from that, we need to start right now, in our own lives, ‘building back much better’ and revision our world, and certainly do what you say, such as sustainable low impact living. We know the world is not right, so really it’s a fantastic and massive opportunity I feel. 

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Craig

Excellent comment – sums up the situation perfectly. Too well-considered to be termed a “rant”!

Michael Craig
Michael Craig
2 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

Thank you. That’s because I’ve been considering it for too long!!!

Stewart B
Stewart B
2 years ago

There are a number of reasons why it is so hard to get South Africans to take the umjovu, the injection: appalling technical management of the outbreak, a prevailing scepticism towards science, wariness about the Government and a wide-spread apprehension by the poor and marginalised that this is at best another form of repression and at worst witchcraft.

How about low efficacy and widespread side effects? Or to put it another way, not “scepticism toward science” but scepticism towards science that refuses to be challenged and questioned – i.e. dogma.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago

Visiting SA recently I was struck by how weak and incompetent the state was. Comparing the response to violence there, with that which I’ve seen in Zimbabwe, I was mystified by how the ANC could run a despotic regime so badly.
The one thing that ZANU PF will tell them is that any malevolent state requires a disciplined and well-equipped army to beat people up. As it happens, it seems like the only thing that stopped South Africa from descending into chaos during the Zuma fiasco was that the taxi union was losing money and unilaterally decided, as a result, to refuse carriage to looters. It was this act, rather than government intervention, that stopped the rioting.
Given how violent the country is and that the army and police are essentially unarmed, fat and useless, the next wave of violence could be rather uglier than the one we’ve already seen.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

They are trying to disarm the civilians by amending laws…. hahahaha. That is NOT going to happen, because it was the civilians who held the looters off to some extent – not the army or the police who are in the main fat (yes fat), corrupt and useless. This does not depict all of the police and I guess army, who are desperately trying to do a good job against all odds.

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
2 years ago

Sounds very similar to the path down which many European countries and parts of the US are going, just with vastly more corruption and inefficiency thrown in for good measure. The pattern world-wide is now more than alarming.

Last edited 2 years ago by Peta Seel
alex CK
alex CK
2 years ago

The vaccines are clearly effective at reducing hospitalization and mortality but are useless at stopping the spread of the disease. This has been seen time and again. Why are these governments continuing to double-down on these ridiculous measures?
And all the current evidence to hand shows that Omicron is a far milder form of Covid – perhaps it will in the end be the “kindler, gentler” Covid that we actually want to have, versus the far more dangerous variants.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago

South Africa is perhaps a model for where the US will be in 10 years–a corrupt, failed state with rampant crime and racial strife. There is a possibility, even a likelihood that there will be a civil war, but it is unclear if it will come before or after this period. The picture of the man in the store with an automatic rifle is not that far removed from the US today.
Corona has certainly been an accelerant to this process, but the corruption and hatred runs deep.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

I have never seen a soldier (or police) monitoring a store for face masks, let alone a soldier with a gun. Most people run around with no masks, or masks under their noses or chins. To me this looks like a cynical hyped picture which doesn’t really depict the everyday truth.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago

Well, if you’re on the ground in SA I’m in no position to dispute this, but in the US, armed guards, often off duty police, are omnipresent and I suspect there will be more and more of them. As government fails massively, people will means will harden the target, while decrying racism, poverty, inequality in theory.
Will be interesting to see how they react when it comes into their neighborhoods, and literally–their homes.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

The army was deployed after the riots and looting in South Africa this year – it would seem that this picture was taken then, as generally the army is not deployed amongst civilians, especially iro people wearing masks or not.
I do agree that generally in the world things are getting way out of hand and Western society is more threatened than people realize. Covid lockdowns have escalated many situations and tensions as many of us here warned.
As I commented above, many people here are armed and although there is a move to disarm, almost all people will remain defiant as we do not have a police force (or army) that can defend us.

sheila mccarthy
sheila mccarthy
2 years ago

I agree. I was in SA during all the lockdowns and in no way was mask wearing being enforced by police or soldiers. I suspect this photo was taken in latter days of July looting.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago

Thank you for this. I had absolutely NO IDEA.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
2 years ago

Great article, thank you UnHerd
 Wonder how similar the South African situation is to many other African and also South American countries. It probably was terrible in India too, where people live on their small daily incomes.

Zorro Tomorrow
Zorro Tomorrow
2 years ago

The liberal luvvies and lefties? Not a smidgin of guilt for leaving an unready Africa to make its own future(s). The Chinese, buying up the place, looking the other way until their bottom line suffers; then we’ll see real trouble.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
2 years ago

So those criticising the UK and other western governments for not sharing their surplus vaccinations with poorer countries have failed to take into account the nature of those countries.
That still leaves us with the point that none of us are safe, until all are safe.
Imperialism, anyone?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Hawkes

“That still leaves us with the point that none of us are safe, until all are safe.”

what does this silly platitude even mean?ï»ż

John Hicks
John Hicks
2 years ago

Thanks Pottinger for these extraordinary insights. Weeping for South Africa resonated 75 years ago with Paton’s writing. Perhaps revolutions occur when there are no tears left to shed for that Beloved Country? Hope we can learn more from you about how that future unfolds.

Richard Riheed
Richard Riheed
2 years ago

Great article. Thank you!

Mike K
Mike K
2 years ago

Excellent report, thanks Brian.

Kate Marris
Kate Marris
2 years ago

Thank you for this illuminating article. I also wonder about the history of Western funded vaccines including trials across the continent – and to what extent that contributes to vaccine rejection… This is not a subject I know anything about, or its local/regional history in parts of South Africa which is why I ask the question. But I can see that’s a whole other article/paper/book.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
2 years ago

“the new class of warrior-scientists”

What fresh hell is this?

J P
J P
2 years ago

Using number of deaths early in the article to start building your case is a problem. The reporting systems and data in South Africa is not good and needs to be considered ahead of such a damning piece.

David Bullard
David Bullard
2 years ago

Excellent piece Brian. It persuaded me to subscribe to UnHerd for a year.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

appalling technical management of the outbreak, a prevailing scepticism towards science, wariness about the Government and a wide-spread apprehension by the poor and marginalised that this is at best another form of repression and at worst witchcraft.

So it’s basically backwardness, then?