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TAC complaint against charlatan Zeblon Gwala upheld by Advertising Standards Authority

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The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASASA) has upheld a complaint by the Treatment Action Campaign against an advertisement for the fake AIDS cure, Ubhejane, placed by Zeblon Gwala in Ilanga newspaper on 6 December 2007.

The ruling is here.

The contents of Ubhejane have never been made public. It has never been tested in clinical trials. It is unregistered and sold illegally as a cure or treatment for HIV.

Gwala has been selling Ubhejane for years from a facility in Pinetown near Durban. He charges patients over R200 per month to buy Ubhejane. Community Health Media Trust made a video showing the following:

  • Gwala's staff selling Ubhejane as a cure for AIDS to a TAC member and telling her to either use Ubhejane or antiretrovirals but not both.
  • Gwala making it clear in an interview that Ubhejane is an alternative to antiretrovirals and that people should not mix Ubhejane with antiretrovirals.
  • The unhygienic, frankly filthy, conditions in which Ubhejane is stored by Gwala.

Here is a transcript of the video in the original Zulu. Here is a translation of the transcript into English.

A Community Health Media Trust (CHMT) production

Ubhejane is an excellent example of how the Minister of Health has supported quackery. Not only has she failed to take any action to stop Gwala, she or her department have issued at least two official statements supporting him. Here they are:

Today, 11 April 2008, TAC is submitting this affidavit deposed by Nokhwezi Hoboyi to the Law Enforcement Unit of the Department of Health. We call for the Department of Health to close down Zeblon Gwala's illegal and deadly operations.

 

Comments

Ministry of Health distances itself from Ubhehane

UPDATE:

On 14 April, the Ministry of Health issued this statement. Despite its untruthfulness, it is essentially a concession that the Department no longer supports Ubhejane.

Media Statement

14 April 2008

Health Ministry does NOT support Ubhejane

The Ministry of Health would like to correct the inaccuracy in the news reports relating to the ruling of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regarding the advertisement of Ubhejane in Ilanga newspaper.

The reports wrongly have suggested that this product is supported by the Minister of Health, Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

The Minister emphasizes the important role played by African traditional medicines in responding to various ailments and according to the World Health Organisation, these medicines are used by about 80% of
people in Africa. The Minister further promotes research and development of these medicines and regulatory framework for traditional health practitioners. 

However, the Minister has never expressed support for Ubhejane or any specific traditional medicine product for that matter.

The Ministry is concerned about the development of the whole spectrum of medicines falling within this category and has no interest in one  particular product.

Issued by Department of Health

Contact Sibani Mngadi 0827720161

Ubhejane

Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang is a WITCH DOCTOR .