South Africa: Kung-Flu Panda - Dodgy Analytics or Pandemic Propaganda?


Pandemics Data and Analytics, aka Panda, hoped to 'lead the world against lockdown'. It fought the battle with fudgy factoids while punting the views of some dodgy people.

At a time when reliable information on the Covid-19 pandemic, treatment and vaccines is considered so vital that many countries - including South Africa - have criminalised misinformation, a group of influential South African lobbyists has been amplifying discredited and unscientific views and voices.

A South African private sector research group that has repeatedly lobbied against lockdown denies being associated with a global coalition of pandemic denialists and sceptics - but online evidence suggests otherwise. Pandemics Data and Analytics (Panda) is one of the loudest anti-lockdown groups globally, and openly states online that it hopes to "lead the world against lockdown".

Panda is founded and run by Nick Hudson, CEO of the South African private equity fund Sana Partners, and co-founded by Peter Castleden, a senior executive at another South African financial services giant, Sanlam - the largest insurance company in Africa. Sanlam's subsidiary Santam has been criticised for refusing to pay out policy-holders from the hospitality industry...

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