South Africa’s Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has come under fire after he said coronavirus vaccines currently causing some euphoria across the world “emanate from the devil”.
A video, which is being widely circulated on social media, shows Justice Mogoeng praying at a church gathering wherein he claims that the vaccines “corrupt” people’s DNA.
“I lock out any vaccine that is not of you (God). If there be any vaccine that is of the devil, meant to infuse triple-six (sign of the devil) in the lives of people, meant to corrupt their DNA … Any such vaccine, Lord God almighty, may it be destroyed by fire in the name of Jesus”, he said in his prayer.
The remarks have angered scientists and others who said comments like these from someone of Mogoeng’s influence and stature would mislead people pinning hopes on a vaccine as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is unfortunate that someone of that stature is misleading people because vaccines are such a major part of controlling this epidemic and it is unfortunate that someone with such influence is opposing efforts to control it”, Wits University virology professor Barry Schoub, who also heads the ministerial advisory committee on COVID-19, told media.
Human rights organisation #Africa4Palestine also condemned the chief justice’s comments as being reckless.
“We are consulting with our legal team to see if additional charges can be added to our current complaint against Justice Mogoeng. Failing which we will launch a new complaint with the Judicial Services Commission against Mogoeng’s latest vaccine remarks”, the NGO said in a statement.
Justice Mogoeng dismissed the furore over his vaccine remarks, insisting during a televised broadcast on Friday morning that he had the right to express his personal opinions.
“When I believe that I need to address this issue, I am going to do it. When I feel the prompting of God to address it, I will. This is a free country. I’m not going to be silenced. I don’t care about the consequences”, he asserted.
South Africa is currently in a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with infections and deaths increasing exponentially over the past few weeks.