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Newsletters 2004

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Newsletters, documents and statements in 2004


15 December 2004 - Single-Dose Nevirapine is safe and effective, but government should switch to more effective regimens wherever possible



  • Khayelitsha district rally commemorates murder of Lorna Mlofana - calls for rape clinic in Khayelitsha with comprehensive services
  • Analysis of yesterday's court judgment
  • Letter to Advocate Patricia Lambert regarding allegations of censorship of HIV toolkit
  • Response to Traditional Healers' Organisation memorandum
  • Complaint submitted to the Advertising Standards Authority against advertisement placed in Mail & Guardian by Dr. Rath Foundation and Treatment Information Group

14 December 2004 - Complaint lodged with A.S.A. against advert by the Dr. Rath Foundation and the Treatment Information Group

Vuyani Jacobs, on behalf of the TAC, has lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority against an advert placed in the Mail & Guardian by the Dr. Rath Foundation and the Treatment Information Group. The complaint is supported by the Rural Doctors Association of South Africa.

Details of complaint...

14 December 2004 - TAC Electronic newsletter

TAC awarded punitive costs in case against Minister of Health

Judgment delivered in TAC v Minister of Health by A.J. Ranchod in the Pretoria High Court.

GSK grants license to Cipla in accordance with Competition Commission settlement

10 December 2004 - TAC Electronic newsletter

TAC Lusikisiki and student nurses demonstrate against unacceptable housing conditions of student nurses, who are expected to live in tents

TAC Gauteng members challenge Natalspruit Hospital CEO, who responds by suing the TAC for defamation

Provincial health summits held in Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga

10 December 2004 - TAC investigation into allegations against Natalspruit Hospital CEO

Report by Daniel Browde and Gordon Mthembu

03 December 2004 - TAC Electronic newsletter

TAC condemns government/ANC verbal attacks on Archbishop Tutu and COSATU

Is Geoff Budlender still dangerous? Reprint of article that appeared in Business Day

Response to Department of Health statement blaming TAC for litigation costs

Life Offices Association concessions are insufficient: We reprint a Business Day editorial which explains why

Reprint of article from The Star focussing on TAC NEC member, Gordon Mthembu, and how treatment has returned him to health

23 November 2004 - Traditional Healers' Organisation's/Rath Foundation demonstrations against the TAC.

TAC statement on THO March to TAC offices
TAC exposes profiteer Matthias Rath

Minister of Health blocks the Medicines Control Council from litigating against Matthias Rath

Text extracts of THO/Rath statements defaming the TAC

19 November 2004 - TAC Electronic Newsletter - Letter to MSD, John Foster Speech, Public Protector & Anita Allen, WHO Technical Committee on HIV/AIDS

TAC Newsletter

16 November 2004 - Zackie Achmat delivered the 2004 John Foster Lecture in London on Wednesday 10 November


15 November 2004 - The Public Protector has dismissed a complaint against the rollout of antiretroviral treatment from HIV denialist Anita Allen.

Public Protector Report Cover
Public Protector Report

4 November 2004 - Memorandum to Minister of Health and all provincial MECs for health

In the next few days TAC members in Katlehong will bury Zandile Mazwani, a young woman of 33 from Gauteng. Zandile set an example to others by living openly with HIV.... Full Memorandum

3 November 2004 - The TAC is taking the South African Minister of Health to Court on 4 November 2004

Details of Country-Wide Demonstrations on 4 November 2004

  • Cape Town: Meet at Keizersgragt Street at 11am for a march to Parliament
  • Pretoria: Meet at Church Square, Pretoria at 9am for a march to the Pretoria High Court
  • Bisho: Meet at the Bisho Legislature at 11am
  • Pietermaritzburg: Meet at Market Square at 10am
  • Polokwane: Meet at Department of Health at 10am
  • Nelspruit: Meet at Government Complex, Riverside Mall at 10am

Why the TAC is going to Court on 4 November 2004

24 October 2004 - TAC correction to misleading Department of Health Statement

Please note that TAC has not withdrawn its legal action or its claim that the Ministry of Health has a legal duty to have an implementation plan and to make it publicly available.

TAC Statement on the misleading D.O.H. statement

TAC Pamphlet Explaining 4 November Action

Misleading D.O.H. statement

Actual Court Papers

21 October 2004 - After a long break, we have started publishing the TAC newsletter, Equal Treatment. October 2004 (1.6MB, zipped file containing 4 PDF files)

Equal Treatment

20 October 2004 - TAC Statement and Newsletter on Auditor-General's Qualified Audit Opinion of the Department of Health

TAC Statement:

  • Detailed TAC Statement
  • "AIDS body in deep financial trouble" by Lucky Mazibuko (Reprinted from The Sowetan, 12 October 2004)
  • "Scandalous Shenanigans" by Lucky Mazibuko (Reprinted from The Sowetan, 12 October 2004)

19 October 2004 - The TAC is campaigning for the Minister of Health to release the implementation plan of the antiretroviral rollout, including sites, dates and targets.

Access to Information Court Case

4 October 2004 - TAC and ODAC publish and distribute Right to Know pamphlet explaining why the TAC is taking the Minister of Health to court on 2 November

Page 1

30 September 2004 - Herman Reuter wins Rural Doctors Association Pierre Jacque Rural Doctor of the Year Award. Reuter was nominated by the TAC.

Full article on the Health-E website

24 September 2004 - Latest ante-natal survey demonstrates urgent need for improved treatment and prevention interventions


17 September 2004 - An analysis of TAC written by Steven Friedman and Shauna Mottier

This analysis has been commissioned by the Centre for Civil Society(CCS). This is the work of the authors only and not necessarily the views of the CCS or TAC. However, the TAC believes this is an insightful and useful analysis, therefore we have placed it on our website.

Download the analysis

The Department of Health's Antiretroviral Guidelines

Download the guidelines

13 September 2004 - Inaugural launch of the Joint Civil Society Monitoring and Evaluation Forum; Update on ARV rollout

TAC Newsletter on Civil Society Monitoring Forum; Update on ARV Rollout

  • Introduction
  • Preamble
  • Latest findings on the antiretroviral rollout
  • Current patient numbers
  • Concerns
  • Recommendations

TAC and ALP support public sector wage demands and call for a public services revival plan


11 August 2004 - Cipla Must Resolve Concerns About Duovir

The Treatment Action Campaign and Medecins Sans Frontieres (South Africa) note with concern that the Medicines Control Council (MCC) has had to use its powers to declare the use of the antiretroviral Duovir "undesirable" and to enforce a recall of all stocks of this medicine currently on the market. Duovir is the name of the product marketed by Cipla-Medpro that combines the antiretroviral medicines zidovudine (AZT) and lamivudine in a single tablet. The TAC and MSF call on Cipla-Medpro and its parent company based in India, Cipla, speedily and publicly to address the concerns of the MCC.


Full report on the People's Health Summit

The People's Health Summit was held on the 2nd ­ 4th July in East London, South Africa. The Summit was hosted by:



August 2004 - Zackie Achmat's Ashleigh Kriel Memorial Youth Lecture


Notes for a Work in Progress: Youth and the challenges of freedom ­ celebrating the memory of Ashley Kriel (Word doc)


15 July 2004 - Facts About Nevirapine are Simple - But Unnecessary Confusion Endangers Lives


Detailed TAC statement on Nevirapine.


5 July 2004


First Monitoring Report of the Antiretroviral Rollout Released at People's Health Summit


Newsletter on the release of the report and the People's Health Summit.


View the pre-summit press statement. Download the documentation given to summit delegates.


24 June 2004 - Call for an International Day of Action on 24 June


"Invest in Health Not War"


Brief report and memo handed over to US Consulates in South Africa.


View the press release and events.


6 June 2004


TAC Welcomes the Implementation of the Medicines Amendment Act


TAC Newsletter:


  • Detailed TAC Statement and Q&A on the Medicines Amendment Act
  • Criminalisation of HIV is Wrong


27 May 2004


Build a People's Health System: People's Health Summit, East London 2 to 4 July 2004


TAC Newsletter:


  • Details of the People's Health Summit
  • A Tale of Two Systems
  • Objectives of the People's Health Summit
  • International Solidarity
  • Draft Agenda for the People's Health Summit


24 May 2004


TAC Releases Annual Report


The Treatment Action Campaign's annual report for the period March 2003 to February 2004 is available here.


20 May 2004


Mobilise to Build a Better Public Health Service: Resolutions of TAC National Executive Committee Meeting - 14 to 15 May 2004


TAC Newsletter:


  • Progress of the Antiretroviral Rollout
  • People's Health Summit
  • Call for International Day of Action to Tell the Bush Administration: "Invest in GLOBAL Health - Not War!"
  • Mobilising Districts for a Better Health System


2 May 2004


TAC Extends Condolences to Buthelezi Family upon death of Prince Nelisuzulu Buthelezi of AIDS-related illnesses


TAC Newsletter:
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) extends its condolences to Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, his wife, Princess Irene Buthelezi and their family on the premature loss of their son Prince Nelisuzulu Buthulezi who died of AIDS-related illnesses.
The openness displayed by the Buthelezi family will reverberate throughout KwaZulu-Natal, the province worst affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and beyond. Following the example of the late Comrade Walter Sisulu, Comrade Albertina Sisulu and their family, as well as, Mrs. Graca Machel and former President Nelson Mandela who disclosed the AIDS-related deaths in their families, Chief Buthelezi's openness sets an example for every family faced with bereavement in this epidemic.
Read the full statement here.


28 April 2004


The Cabinet: A Chance to Start Afresh in the Health Sector


TAC Newsletter:
The Treatment Action Campaign welcomes the appointment of President Mbeki's new Cabinet.

Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has been reappointed as Health Minister. Her team now includes Deputy-Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge as a deputy-health minister. We welcome the new appointment. Our relationship with the national Health Ministry has been fraught with tension and confrontation. This is a chapter in our history that we wish to put behind us. Our work with MECs, health departments at national, provincial, district and facility level can only be strengthened with a commitment to delivery.
Read the full statement here.


21 April 2004


TAC Electronic Newsletter


TAC Newsletter:


  • Statement on South African Elections - ANC Receives Mandate to Deliver on Health, Employment, Social Grants, Education and Housing
  • Report on Public Meetings to Mobilise for Treatment Rollout - February to April 2004
  • Letters Sent to Premiers and Provincial MECs for Health for Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and North-West Expressing Concern on Slow Pace of Rollout and Requesting Information on Treatment Rollout in these Provinces
  • Standoff Between Doctors and Health Ministry on Dispensing - Article by Jonathan Berger and Fatima Hassan published in ThisDay, 20 April 2004


25 March 2004


Condemn the Threats by NAPWA Against AIDS Activists


TAC Newsletter:


  • Condemn the Threats by NAPWA Against AIDS Activists
  • AIDS Consortium Statement Regarding NAPWA Disruption of General Meeting


25 March 2004


TAC Electronic Newsletter


TAC Newsletter:


  • MinMEC Agrees to Interim Procurement of Antiretroviral Medicines - Court Action Averted at Last Minute
  • ALP and TAC to Present Submission on Pricing Regulations to Pricing Committee Tomorrow
  • Resolutions of the PATAM Conference, "Scaling Up Access to Treatment in Southern Africa: A Way Forward."
  • AIDS Law Project Wins Department of Trade and Industry Consumer Champions Award for Civil Society 2003


19 March 2004


Minister of Health Delays Again


TAC Newsletter: On 10 March 2004, the Treatment Action Campaign formally demanded that the Minister of Health procure and emergency interim supply of antiretroviral medicines immediately. We warned that the failure to meet the deadline of 18 March 2004 would lead to urgent litigation. Read the press statement and TAC's response to the unsatisfactory reply from the Acting Director General here.


16 March 2004


TAC Sends Letter of Demand to the Minister of Health


TAC Newsletter: To date, there are less than 2,500 people on the national ARV programme country-wide - and nearly all of them are in the Western Cape. The National Department of Health has admitted that it will miss its target for the end of March.


TAC believes the primary reason for the failure to meet this target is the Minister of Health's lack of political will. Her justification for delaying treatment is that the tender process for antiretroviral medicines is not complete and therefore these medicines will only be available in the public health system by the end of June.


But there are mechanisms in South African law allowing for emergency procurement without tender that the minister could use to secure an interim supply of ARVs. The TAC demands that the Minister does so.


13 March 2004


TAC Expresses Condolences to the Family of Transport Minister Dullah Omar


TAC Newsletter: The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) expresses its condolences to Farida Omar and the family of Dullah Omar, South African Minister of Transport and Anti-Apartheid Lawyer. Minister Omar died early Saturday morning of Hodgkins Disease.


9 March 2004


TAC and AIDS Law Project submission to the Jali Commission


In prison, HIV/AIDS exacerbates existing problems and also creates new ones, yet the potential for far-reaching positive impact remains. Prisons are an intervention opportunity to reach a segment of the population, which is most likely to need government services related to HIV/AIDS and is also least likely to receive them through any other channel. Without an appropriate response to HIV/AIDS in prisons, the potential consequences will be increasingly tragic for both prisoners and the communities they come from. In this submission to the Jali Commission into prisons, TAC and the ALP point to the strengths and weaknesses of current policy and where changes must be made as well as how implementation can be improved.


8 March 2004


Complaint submitted by TAC to Auditor-General regarding government funding of NAPWA.


5 March 2004


TAC/ALP Submission on Draft Pricing Regulations


The AIDS Law Project (ALP) and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) welcome the opportunity to make written submissions on the draft pricing regulations. Again we express our support for the implementation of a transparent pricing system, which we believe has the potential significantly to increase access to affordable medicines for all people in South Africa.

While we recognise and support the principled basis underpinning the draft regulations, we are nevertheless of the view that in a number of key respects, the draft regulations do not give full and proper effect to the National Drug Policy of 1996, the Medicines and Related Substances Control Amendment Act, 90 of 1997, and most important, the constitutional right of access to health care services. If implemented in their current form, we believe the draft regulations will fall short of discharging the stateÕs positive constitutional obligations in respect of promoting the right of access to essential medicines. It is in respect of such matters that this submission is primarily concerned, particularly the failure of the draft regulations to give sufficient content and force to the transparent pricing mechanism in respect of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Read the full submission.


2 March 2004


Mechanisms for Minister to Purchase Emergency Interim Supply of Antiretroviral Medicines


TAC Newsletter: The Minister of Health can and must immediately procure antiretroviral medicines for the treatment rollout. A brief explanation is included, as well as:


  • Procurement timetable presented by Nono Simelela to Parliament
  • Sindiswa Moya's letter to the Sunday Times
  • Minister of Health's response to Sindiswa Moya
  • Announcements of public meetings on the rollout of antiretroviral treatment in Cape Town, Makhado (Louis Trichard), Nelspruit and Polokwane and of the Pan African Treatment Access Movement Conference in Harare.


11 February 2004


President Mbeki Misrepresents Facts and Once Again Causes Confusion on HIV/AIDS


TAC Newsletter: The TAC has strongly welcomed the government's operational treatment plan for HIV/AIDS of November 2003. We also welcome the efforts being made by some provincial governments, including Kwazulu-Natal, Gauteng and Western Cape, to implement this plan. However, we are alarmed that this progress and the efforts of national and provincial government health departments and officials are being undermined by inaccurate comments by President Mbeki and Minister of Health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. For example, in a live interview broadcast on 8 February, President Mbeki stated that no studies have been done using death data to determine AIDS deaths and that the only reliable death statistics we have are for road accident deaths. This is untrue. Read the full statement here.


5 February 2004


TAC to Minister of Health: Hands off Health-Care Workers!


TAC Newsletter: Tomorrow, the South African Medical Association will lead doctors on a march to the Opening of Parliament in Cape Town. While the The Treatment Action Campaign has not endorsed the march, it supports the demands of public sector health-care workers for better working conditions, including an end to post freezes, better remuneration and greater availability of medicines and diagnostics in clinics and hospitals. The TAC notes with concern media reports that the Minister of Health has threatened disciplinary action against doctors who participate in tomorrow's march. The TAC says that any health-care workers who have action taken against them for participating in tomorrow's march will have the full support of our organisation. Read the full statement here. ddtest


27 January 2004


Build a People's Health Service! - Resolutions of the TAC NEC


TAC Newsletter: The TAC National Executive Committee (NEC) met in Cape Town on 26 and 27 January.  Representatives from TAC branches, Medecins Sans Frontieres, the AIDS Consortium, the South African Medical Association (SAMA), religious organizations, trade union federations and TAC funders participated in the meeting. Resolutions were passed on a number of issues. The most urgent of these are a campaign for a People's Health Service and actions to speed up Government's rollout of the operational treatment plan. Resolutions were also passed regarding the upcoming SAMA march to the opening of Parliament, prevention issues and the Yfm "Test Yourself" campaign to be launched following the death of Fana "Khabzela" Khaba.


21 January 2004


Essential Antiretroviral for Children is Out of Stock


TAC Newsletter: Efavirenz (Stocrin) is an essential antiretroviral patented in South Africa by MSD, a subsidiary of Merck & Co, the world's largest pharmaceutical company. At least one patient has defaulted following shortages of the paediatric formulation of efavirenz (Stocrin 50mg). In response, the Treatment Action Campaign has sent the letter included in the newsletter above to MSD. Furthermore, the TAC will hold a picket outside MSD's South African offices on 2 Februrary demanding that the company gives non-exclusive voluntary licences on a 5% royalty fee basis to any generic manufacturer that meets objective criteria for quality and manufacturing standards.


20 January 2004


Rian Malan Spreads Confusion about AIDS Statistics


TAC Newsletter: Rian Malan's articles, in Noseweek and The Spectator, arguing that AIDS statistics are grossly exaggerated, have numerous technical errors, writes Nathan Geffen (TAC National Manager). One which appears in Noseweek and upon which most of his case with regard to the South African epidemic rests is so serious and obvious that it raises questions about Malan's basic competence as a research journalist -- or more disturbingly -- about his motives and integrity.