Prof Glenda Gray and prof. Shabir Madhi, both subcommittee chairmen of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19, told the media over the weekend that this committee did not have much insight into the government’s plan and their advice and opinions were not heeded.
Gray said, among other things, that for the first time, children with malnutrition were being admitted to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Johannesburg.
She described the government’s phasing-out plan as “nonsensical and unscientific” and further accused the government of ignoring experts’ advice.
Mkhize says Gray’s statements are completely unfounded and he has been blamed for the obvious factual errors in the article in question, which was peppered with “unnecessary sensation-seeking”.
“The government wants to emphasize that we do not pretend to have all the answers when it comes to Covid-19 – no country,” says Mkhize.
“The president has consistently and correctly stated that we are in unprecedented waters, but we remain committed to doing everything within our power to protect the life of every single citizen.”
As head of the Medical Research Council, Prof. Gray has access to the Minister and the Department but never once raised this matter directly with ourselves, yet she has never failed to raise other issues of concern beforehand.
It must be understood that regulations are influenced by inputs from the public and her views would have been considered had she made submission in a normal way when public comments were called for. It is exactly for this reason that government has been bold enough to even make amendments to some regulations based on public inputs. However, Prof Glenda Gray chose not to use this platform.
We may not always agree but we will listen and consider input brought to us. We have said that government will not fight this pandemic alone. We need partners in our society to assist us with advice and even mobilizing social behaviour in order to manage the spread of this virus. It is for this reason that we appreciate various social partners who have pledged their support to this cause. We will continue to work together until we conquer this coronavirus battle..Dr Zwelini Mkhize
Such reporting only casts doubt on the way the government is managing the crisis the Health Minister said.