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Govt censorship of SAMRC's Gray cannot be tolerated - Steenhuisen

South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) president Glenda Gray criticised aspects of government’s approach in responding to the coronavirus and claimed that there had been an increase in malnutrition cases at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

Professor Glenda Gray. Picture: mrc.co.za

DURBAN - Democratic Alliance (DA) interim leader John Steenhuisen has criticised a move by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) to prevent its president Glenda Gray and other staff from talking to the media.

Steenhuisen has also criticised the Department of Health’s acting Director-General Anban Pillay, who wrote to the medical research council last week asking it to look into Gray’s public utterances.

This came after she criticised aspects of government’s approach in responding to the coronavirus and claimed that there had been an increase in malnutrition cases at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

The SAMRC said that it was investigating Gray and the damage that her comments may have caused.

The DA’s Steenhuisen said that the council and government were bullying Gray and by so doing, were silencing opposing views in a democracy.

"Now, more than ever, the principles of transparency and accountability are of critical importance. We cannot tolerate the authoritarian censorship of those who raise their concerns."

Steenhuisen claimed that government had lost credibility in its response to COVID-19 by failing to provide scientific reasoning behind some aspects of the lockdown.

The DA interim leader said that the prevention of Gray from talking to the media would have a negative effect on the scientific community.