South Africa


Chief Justice Mogoeng defends Covid-19 vaccine stance, says he supports ‘clean’, ‘non-satanic’ options

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng (Photo by Alet Pretorius/GALLO IMAGES)

As South Africa is officially in its second wave of Covid-19 infections and the world awaits the further rollout of coronavirus vaccines, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has defended his prayer for God to intervene in the harmful and corrupt distribution of vaccines, but denies he is an anti-vaxxer.

“I’m not a scientist. I’m a prayer warrior and I’m encouraging prayer warriors to pray,” said Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on Friday.

The chief justice defended comments he made on Thursday during a prayer at Tembisa Hospital in Ekurhuleni, where he called on God to destroy harmful Covid-19 vaccines, but said he is not against vaccinations and supported “clean” options without negative side effects.

Various coronavirus vaccines have been approved or have received early or emergency approval in a number of countries.

The Solidarity Fund recently announced it would contribute R327-million towards the Covax initiative, the global collaboration aimed at promoting equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, which will cover about 15% of the cost to vaccinate 10% of South Africa’s population.

“I said if there is any vaccine that is being manufactured or advances a satanic agenda of the mark of the beast, 666; if there is any vaccine, anything manufactured for the purpose of corrupting the DNA of

people, then that vaccine must be burned, it must die (sic),” said Justice Mogoeng, who was a lay preacher at the Winners Chapel International Church when he was appointed chief justice in 2011.

He said he had a right to freedom of religion, speech and thought. The chief justice vaguely criticised what he defined as a culture of silence that threatens a return to the days of apartheid and colonialism. 

“I don’t care about the consequences. We’ve been quiet for far too long, towing the line. I’m not going to tow any line and it doesn’t matter how many people criticise me. When I believe that I need to address this issue, I’m going to do it.”

Justice Mogoeng did not touch on the regulatory or ethical approval required to roll out a coronavirus vaccine in South Africa but suggested his concerns were motivated by widespread corruption in the country, as

seen in personal protective equipment (PPE) deals, the potential side effects of vaccines and discussions around making them compulsory, such as for international travel.

“If there is any vaccine meant to corrupt the DNA of people, I’m asking God – do interrupt… it. Any clean vaccine, they must produce it quickly. People need that for their own health,” he said.

“Where did I say I’m against vaccination, where?” he asked.

“I’m not against vaccination, no, but any vaccination that will do harm to people I’m praying against it and I will never stop.”

Justice Mogoeng could not detail his unfounded concerns about potential vaccines in South Africa, of which there is considerable information and expert analysis readily available.

According to an Ipsos survey released in October 2020, 64% of South Africans said they would accept a coronavirus vaccine when and if it becomes available. Most of those respondents, however, said they only “somewhat agreed” to taking a vaccine.

A recent World Health Organisation report found that the uptake of vaccination programmes depends on an enabling environment, social influences and motivation.

Social influences include both immediate networks and media coverage. 

“A willingness to get vaccinated, or an unwillingness to do so, can spread through a social cascade as one group of individuals influences another, and then the two influence a third, and so on,” read the report.

In 2019, the WHO said vaccine hesitancy was one of the top 10 threats to global health. A study published in The Lancet found that confidence in the importance of vaccines, rather than their safety or effectiveness, was the strongest single determiner of uptake.

In a statement released on Friday, the Africa For Palestine group, which recently criticised Justice Mogoeng for his comments on Israel, said, “We believe that the chief justice’s latest comments undermine medical science and South Africa’s position on the distribution of vaccines.”

Justice Mogoeng dismissed accusations he had misled the public on coronavirus vaccines. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • John Cartwright says:

    How very sad. What a surprisingly muddle-headed man.

  • John Strydom says:

    I am beginning to fear for this man’s sanity, not so much regarding his views against the vaccine, but in dragging Jesus into his tirades. This is not in keeping with the constitution which does not specify Christianity as our guide but specifically enforces freedom of religion. He is verging on becoming a shame to his office.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    He is the Chief Justice of South Africa. There are many different beliefs and religions amongst its citizen. Therefore the Chief Justice’s opinion about his religious beliefs should stay private.

    • John Strydom says:

      Exactly. That he does not understand this suggests to me that he is not well. His ravings make me wonder if he is emotionally capable for office.

  • Sanjeevan Moodley says:

    Just when we thought we were over the beetroot saga, comes these comments. Weird that a practitioner of law should preach religion in the face of science.

  • Rodney Weidemann says:

    “I’m not going to tow any line”

    that is right, since the etymology is totally incorrect – the judge would be expected to ‘Toe the line’!

    As for concerns about vaccines, these are not unwarranted (though I highly doubt we need fear it rewriting our DNA, or ushering in the apocalypse of the beast). the standard vaccine development time is ten years – so my question is: How do you test for potential long term side effects when you’ve only taken ten months to develop this vaccine?

  • Sue Grant-Marshall says:

    What a relief that CJ Mogoeng Mogoeng is in the end days of his time in office. To use terms such as the devil, satan and 666 in connection with a vaccine that will save lives, in a world riddled with conspiracy theories and superstition, is appalling. Shame on you CJ. Shame!

  • Andreas Dinkelacker says:

    To me the key issue is that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who has a most significant position in the justice of this land, appears to believe that there is a “satanic agenda” and a satanic movement. He offers no evidence of this and, in his position of Chief Justice, he should know the difference between evidence and unfounded rumour. The subsequent issue is that he believes that this “movement” is trying to subvert the coronavirus vaccine roll-outs to include some type of identification system. This is clearly an issue, if true, for the police to investigate, obtain evidence and take to court. He doesn’t appear to have reported his information to the police. This can only mean one of two alternatives – that the claim is valid and he is failing in his duty to ensure this is investigated or that it is absolute nonsense and that he is guilty of propagating unsubstantiated rumours. The later would seriously affect the vaccine roll-out and claim many lives – a critical consequence indeed! Then think about the claim. For such a “mark of the beast” to be in the vaccine makes it tremendously easy to find. No matter how small a microchip is, it is easy caught by a filter and can easily be investigated with a microscope. The simple fact is that if this were done anywhere in the world it would have been found and exposed. Hundreds or thousands of people would have to be complicit. It would be treated as a serious crime with serious punishment. Because all medicine of this nature has clear and detailed tracking it is easy to follow any possible point of contamination and exposure of those concerned. This would be newsworthy and yet has not ever even been muted. The bottom line? A pack of nonsense that does him, his organisation, his church, the police and indeed this country reputational harm.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

Make your taxes work for you

Donate to Daily Maverick’s non-profit arm, the Scorpio Investigative Unit, by 29 February 2024 and you’ll qualify for a tax break.

We issue Section 18A tax certificates for all donations made to Daily Maverick. These can be presented to SARS for tax relief.

Make your donation today

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Daily Maverick The Gathering 2024 banner

Daily Maverick has secured an esteemed speaker line-up...

to help make sense of Elections 2024.

Trevor Manuel, Prof Thuli Madonsela and Minister Ronald Lamola are among the latest panellists confirmed for Daily Maverick The Gathering Twenty Twenty-Four.

Join us, on Thurs 14 March 2024 at CTICC Cape Town or online wherever you are, for an event that will put the election in perspective.

Become a Maverick Insider

This could have been a paywall

On another site this would have been a paywall. Maverick Insider keeps our content free for all.

Become an Insider