Sunday Times

Chief justice owes us an explanatio­n on Pillay matter


The “revelation” by chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng with regards to an overture made by minister Pravin Gordhan to the chief justice on behalf of judge Dhaya Pillay five years ago is worrisome and baffling.

Why was this not brought to the attention of the public at the time if there was any suggestion of a sinister motive?

Did the chief justice have an agenda himself in perverting the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) process of choosing two new justices for the Constituti­onal Court, so as to cast an aspersion upon judge Pillay’s integrity, character or capability?

It is my contention that chief justice Mogoeng acted contra bonos mores [against good morals] and at a most inopportun­e time.

Noting that Julius Malema and his cohorts are targeting Gordhan for political purposes and the fact that Malema is also a commission­er on the JSC, this would have been cannon fodder for him to use as a political weapon — and indeed the EFF wasted no time in preferring charges of corruption against Gordhan.

The innocent victim in this matter is, sadly, judge Pillay — a legal mind of distinctio­n who finds herself in crossfire brought on by the man entrusted as the chief guardian of our constituti­on, and the political haranguing of a man bent on revenge.

Mogoeng owes all of SA an explanatio­n as to his reasons for making his rather calculated pronouncem­ent, which, in my candid opinion, is a veiled demurring clearly intended to vitiate a process in which his absolute impartiali­ty was demanded.

Narendh Ganesh, Durban North

Most certainly a research paper

A research paper based on available government data was recently released which probed a very important socioecono­mic question, namely, when all things are considered, was the alcohol ban instituted in SA the most direct and effective way to reduce trauma admissions to hospitals, particular­ly at weekends?

This paper demonstrat­ed that the sharp reduction in people’s mobility (mainly because of the introducti­on of the curfew), exerted the larger influence on reducing trauma admissions at hospitals and hence casts doubt on the government-asserted scientific reasoning behind the effectiven­ess of the various alcohol restrictio­ns on trauma admissions.

However, a member of the South African Medical Research Council was dismissive of this research paper on two accounts, stating that: “This appears to be a report … not a published research paper” and “It lacks the methodolog­ical detail needed to adequately assess the methodolog­y applied.”

The suggestion that the paper in question constitute­s a report is fallacious, as the paper makes an additional databased contributi­on to the debate around the effectiven­ess of alcohol-centred lockdown restrictio­ns.

The research paper was peer reviewed, by myself in fact, and I produced a report critiquing the original paper. It is thus a research paper which has been subjected to peer review.

Regarding the comment that this research paper is “not a published research paper”: given that it was released as a preliminar­y draft this month, and the usual time taken for acceptance by a reputable journal is six to 12 months, expecting a paper to be published at this stage seems unreasonab­le.

The paper does outline the methodolog­y used to estimate and compare the measured effects of both alcohol restrictio­ns and mobility on trauma admissions. The actual details of the various statistica­l estimation­s are available separately in tabular form. One assumes such computer output constitute­s the required “methodolog­ical details”.

The research paper, though preliminar­y and hence subject to ongoing critique and debate, remains valid; it is robust in its methodolog­y and clear in its conclusion­s. Professor Graham Barr, emeritus professor in the department of statistica­l sciences, University of Cape Town

Prince Philip and Graeme Bloch

The coverage of two deaths, that of a queen’s consort and Graeme Bloch, displayed the inability of the Sunday Times to carefully consider its reporting in a changed and young democratic SA.

Most of the page was dominated by the death of the consort of an unelected head of state who has ruled over colonies to the advantage of Britain and the disadvanta­ge of the indigenous majorities.

Less than a third of the page was devoted to the death of Bloch, whose life covers an important part of the developmen­t of democracy in SA.

The greater focus on the death of the consort of the British queen creates an impression of a yearning for an English colonial past, royalty and other undemocrat­ic traditions. Damian de Lange, Johannesbu­rg

Be like Estonia — digitise

After independen­ce from the Soviet Union in 1991, the Estonian government pursued a policy of ensuring good-quality and costeffect­ive public service provision. At the time, its GDP per capita was a paltry $100, compared with SA’s $3,285. Today, Estonia’s GDP per capita is $22,986, compared with our unimpressi­ve $4,736.

Estonia achieved this by digitalisi­ng as much as it could. SA urgently needs a public service that works. Digital technology has made this easier than ever, and our government must grab the possibilit­ies that will enable it to govern with purpose — before we are left stranded on the wrong side of the digital divide. Adam Craker, CEO, IQbusiness

Write to PO Box 1742, Saxonwold 2132; SMS 33662; e-mail: tellus@sundaytime­; Fax: 011 280 5150 All mail should be accompanie­d by a street address and daytime telephone number. The Editor reserves the right to cut letters

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