The essayist and publisher Ernest Benn once wrote: "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it wrongly and applying unsuitable remedies." This came to mind when Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk recently claimed that malaria rates would quadruple in coming years and that nonmalarial areas such as Gauteng would become malarial because of global warming.
Van Schalkwyk has not only wrongly diagnosed the trouble, but his solutions are potentially damaging. The notion that global warming, or climate change, will lead to an increased spread of insect-borne diseases is not a new one. For years environmental groups have been claiming what Van Schalkwyk has just stumbled across, and they, too, are wrong.