This article was first published on 25th July 2022
The issue and implications of vaccine mandates are far from over. Cracks in the South African government’s duplicitous decision to pass on the implementation of vaccine mandates to Big Business are starting to show. In this article by veteran SA journalist Brian Pottinger, he describes the deal made between Big Business and the government as a perilous Faustian pact whereby Big Business accepted the outrageous and no doubt also unlawful extension of vaccine mandates to all employees in exchange for the government’s promise to end the State of Disaster and “return South Africa to normality”. This Faustian pact, referring to Faust – a German astronomer and necromancer reputed to have sold his soul to the Devil – is now plaguing Big Business as increasing studies relating to Covid-19 vaccine injuries and deaths are surfacing around the globe. Those companies that implemented vaccine mandates may eventually have to face up to their accountability for sequential injury and even possible death resulting from these mandates. As Pottinger puts it, “No wonder the corporates are jumpy.” – Nadya Swart
Questions for Big Business after its Skelm COVID-19 Vaccine Deal with Government
By Brian Pottinger
Standard Bank’s preemptively smart decision to end mandatory COVID-19 “vaccines” and offer re-employment to the dismissed staff who refused the jab opens a Pandora’s box for South Africa’s employers.
The bank’s decision was no doubt partly driven by the recent findings of Commissioner Richard Byrne of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) that only legislated authority, not employers, can impose a mandatory vaccine policy and discriminate against those who refuse. To do so is unconstitutional and unfair.
This decision, despite two contradictory ones from previous CCMA tribunals argued on different facts, aligns with the recent United States Supreme Court judgment and will no doubt accord with a raft of other decisions now imminent in our own and multiple jurisdictions around the world.
The fact that the unions have also just woken up to the injustice and perhaps harm done to some of their members by enforced vaccination, also does not help the employers’ cause. Nor a recent South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) statement that vaccine mandates by employers in the absence of national legislation are in breach of Section 36 of the Constitution.
The CCMA decision is unlikely to be taken on review by Big Business. It does not want the issue of its mandatory vaccines vented in the High Court or the Constitutional Court: after all, its lobby group, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), quietly withdrew in March this year its sensible bid for a Constitutional Court declaratory ruling.
Instead, it did a deal with the Government, a skelm one. In exchange for accepting the outrageous and no doubt also unlawful extension to all employees, everywhere of the provisions of Section 43 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1993, meant to deal with workplace handling of hazardous biological agents, the Government as quid pro quo promised to end the State of Disaster and “return South Africa to normality”. We wish.
Faced with the choice of confronting the Government in court over the irrationality and unconstitutionality of its anti-COVID-19 regime, or folding, Big Business folded.
But the deal has turned out to be a perilous Faustian Pact: the employers have in effect become the implementers of enforced “vaccinations” on behalf of Government and executors of pogroms against dissenting employees. Now it unravels.
Byrne’s judgment reads in part: “The state has not unfairly discriminated against anyone in terms of vaccine policies. No legislation has been passed requiring all employees to be vaccinated.”
There is the rub. Big Business is left holding the syringe while the Government shambles left off stage, absorbed by its multiple internal and external challenges, leaving behind only a set of deeply flawed and highly challengeable Regulations issued in terms of the Health Act.
The Byrne decision also makes clear that employers in any case cannot apply blanket vaccine mandates without specifying why the business cannot function without them. That is a huge ask. The empirical and scientific evidence makes clear that the so-called vaccines do not stop infection or re-infection, natural immunity is at least equal to or better than vaccine-induced immunity and the treatments cannot halt transmission.
Claims that the treatments reduce fatalities, infections and severity are meanwhile hugely contested in the scientific community, not least because most of the supporting tests egregiously fail to control for the naturally diminishing pathogenic intensity of SARSCoV2. The most recent swatch of credible research on the Omicron variant of SARSCoV2, indicates the treatments are at best equal to the old-style anti-flu jab. Is a quarterly anti-flu jab now to become an employment requirement in South Africa?
The proof needed by employers to justify their stance is thus dematerialising before their eyes.
Worse, the story has moved on to the Big Question. What is the reason for the huge global increase in non-COVID-19 deaths which began parallel to the roll-out of the mass “vaccination” programmes in 2020, the one’s so enthusiastically supported by companies such as Standard Bank? Here must lie all corporates greatest concern.
In the United Kingdom, non-COVID 19 Excess Deaths (deaths in excess of what can normally be expected), primarily myocardial and cancer fatalities, are alarmingly high amongst young people from 16-39 and those over 60 years of age. Overall, the deaths are 15.9% higher than the five-year average of which private home deaths are up 31.5%, hospitals 12.1%, care homes 10.3% and other 10.1%. Non-COVID-19 excess deaths are running nine-to-one against COVID-19 excess deaths and these ostensibly inexplicable total excess deaths are at levels not seen since the height of the SARSCoV2 outbreak. Similar patterns are being recorded around the world.
There are of course the usual suspects: the catastrophic decline in national health of countries like the USA and the UK because of lifestyles, the withdrawal of health cover during the panic to make space for COVID-19 patients who never pitched, lowered national immunities from the lockdowns and fatigue, poverty and depression consequent on the social, psychological and economic impact of the fearsomely misguided anti-COVID-19 measures.
But there is an additional obvious villain: the COVID-19 treatments themselves. Recent work by Danish researchers, as only one example, tentatively indicates that COVID-19 benefits from mRNA treatments may in fact be outweighed by negative health effects elsewhere.
Early days, sure, but that these findings are published at all is remarkable given the obliteration of the reputations and jobs of scientists who dared challenge even the slightest element of the now imploded orthodoxy; an intellectual pogrom history will judge to rival the Inquisition.
At the very least this mounting body of measured research is challenging the vaccine manufacturers placatory assurances about adverse effects: 1 291 such possible effects for the Pfizer mRNA treatment alone, according to the data a US Court forced the pharmaceutical to release in March this year, despite its attempts to keep the details secret for 75 years.
Yet these early warning signs have long been submerged in the flood of alternative “preprinter” research (i.e. not reviewed or critiqued) from aggregators of biomedical research content on digital platforms like Google.
Overwhelmingly, these reports focus on the so-called efficacy of the available “vaccines” in limiting the impact of breakthrough COVID-19 infections (i.e reinfections) and mitigating severe infection.
Here is a typical disclaimer from one of them: We publish preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behaviour, or treated as established information.
Huh? Who funds research that even its publishers warn us should not be treated as real information? And why do the digital platforms publish it in such endless succession?
The first is easy to answer. The pharmaceutical companies have thrown a fortune in support of this research. And there is of course the limitless fund created by Bill Gates, the latter-day Howard Hughes, arguably the only man in history other than a God King who has been able to translate his private fetishes and neuroses about germs into game-changing consequences for all of us. But that perhaps says more about the nature of our crazy era than about Bill Gates.
Why digital media platforms publish biomedical dreck while ignoring countervailing information is easier to answer.
Purely by example: Sequoia Venture Capital is an astonishingly successful Silicon Valley umbrella company, an early and prescient investor in nearly all the major online media and commerce businesses. With $1.4 trillion in funds and backing companies with control of 22% of Nasdaq, one does not have to be a conspiracy theorist to assume it has a major presence and influence in online media platforms.
In 2021, its two biggest investments were, guess what, healthcare (Robinhood) and delivery services and e-commerce grocery shopping (Klarna), the businesses coincidentally massively benefitting from the COVID-19 terror narrative and the lockdowns. Amazon’s net income trebled between 2019 and 2021. Google’s doubled. No conspiracy here: just good business.
Bad science has been with us forever. The US Office of Research Integrity investigated clinical tests between 1990 and 2003 and found the conclusions in 40 percent of the reports were totally wrong or significantly incorrect. Other research suggested 80 percent of content found in popular media was either withdrawn, disproved or never followed up. A recent research paper in the journal Trials, published in June this year, found that 62 percent of randomised biomedical trials were at high risk of bias, 30% were unclear and only eight percent low risk. In short, the bulk were not worth the money thrown at them.
This wonky biomedical research and the digital media’s propagation of it, has exacted a fearful price in terms of public trust. The latest prestigious Reuters Institute Digital News Report, produced every year to test consumer attitude, observes a depressing loss of trust in digital media and a truly alarming public disengagement from media altogether. Respondents reported seeing more false information about COVID-19 on these controlled online media platforms than even about politics, which says it all.
Yet it is on this weak and in some cases malicious biomedical science, relentlessly and indeed almost exclusively propounded by mainstream and digital media, that South African employers have bet the shareholders’ silver. Two principles of law come to mind: first, the duty of care and, second, ignorance is no defence.
Did the big corporates with their vast resources make any attempt to penetrate the veil of pandemonium erected by biomedical self-interest, corporate profit, governmental power grabs, corruption and swivel-eyed Twitterati? Did they properly evaluate the countervailing and easily available early scientific opinions before embarking on the draconian step of mass injecting uncertain content into their employees? Why did they not just send sick colleagues home to get well; after all, it has been done that way throughout modern history when a truly bad coronavirus is about?
And a last consideration. The South African Government, through its investment in the Biovac Consortium is about to enter the business of manufacturing Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA and new generation COVID-19 “vaccines”, despite the SARSCoV2 virus now being endemic and only ever having a global Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) of 0.15, no worse than the very severe flu outbreaks of 1957 and 1968.
Problem: there are no takers for the product. Less than two out of five South Africans are double vaccinated and only five per cent boosted; the principle that once bitten twice shy clearly prevails. The continental record is even worse.
Did corporate South Africa know when it took on the role of vaccine enforcer on behalf of Government that it was also serving this Presidential prestige project (and, boy, does the President need prestige now!), that it’s partner in the Faustian Pact was conflicted, itself an investor in future generation COVID-19 treatments and that it was desperate for customers, willing or not, by any means necessary?
The answers are critical. It moves the quantum of employer accountability in this extraordinary saga, this Medieval moment, beyond technicalities of labour law and beyond even questions of assault by duress. It raises issues of accountability for sequential injury and even possible death. No wonder the corporates are jumpy.
Author’s Declaration: The writer is a journalist and author. He has no interest in any biomedical enterprise and has never received any inducement or benefit from one. He does not belong to any organisation related to COVID-19 nor to any vax or anti-vax group or any political party. He has waived all fees for articles or podcasts on COVID-19 and the royalties from his book, States of Panic: COVID-19 and the New Medieval (2020) are used to defray the costs of publication.
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