TAC E-Newsletter

22 April 2003

International Solidarity Actions and TAC Civil Disobedience on 24 April 2003

It is over a year since the South African Cabinet announced a change in  its HIV/AIDS policy. One year later government still does not have a treatment and prevention plan and it still does not provide antiretroviral treatment to those who need it. Meanwhile, more than 600 people die daily in South Africa of HIV/AIDS.  In the last three weeks, TAC has buried seven of its members.  Just this weekend, the funerals for TAC leaders Charlene Wilson and Edward Mabunda were held in Gauteng.

On 24 April 2003, people around the world will demonstrate and picket at South African embassies and consulates, meet with South African officials, hold press conferences, coordinate letter-writing and petition drives and engage in other actions in support of TAC's demand for a comprehensive treatment and prevention plan.

In South Africa, TAC volunteers will continue their civil disobedience campaign. In Pretoria and Cape Town, volunteers who are prepared to get arrested will occupy the Departments of Health and Trade and Industry respectively.

In Japan, 600 paper cranes, symbolizing daily AIDS deaths in South Africa, will be delivered by demonstrators at the South African Embassy. In the Netherlands, marchers will deliver 600 red tulips and participate in a 'die in' at the embassy, while in Los Angelas, Washington DC, London and Milan, 600 pairs of shoes will represent the daily AIDS deaths. Doctors in Kenya will hold a press conference and AIDS activists from all over Latin America have issued a united statement. In addition, solidarity actions are also planned in Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ivory Coast, Venezuela, Jamaica and the Caribbean region, Namibia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Uganda - and the list continues to grow.

The common theme for these international actions is support for the Treatment Action Campaign's demands that the government make a commitment to a public sector antiretroviral provision programme and return to negotiations at NEDLAC and commit to signing a Framework Agreement on a National HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment Plan.

Freedom Day is just a few days away. South Africa is an immeasurably better place than it was before 1994. We have a Constitutional Democracy and representative government, but millions of South Africans are in desperate need of the basic necessities, such as health, nutrition and decent education, that make freedom from want possible. The actions on 24 April call on South Africa's democratically elected government to address the urgent health needs of people living with HIV/AIDS, their families and friends. We call on government to build a better health-care system by implementing an HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention plan immediately.

For a full and updated list of international efforts, please go to http://www.tac.org.za

Events in South Africa

A sample letter than can be sent to the South African government is provided below:


Mr J Zuma (Deputy-President, South Africa)
Dr ME Tshabalala-Msimang (Minister of Health, South Africa)
Mr A Erwin (Minister of Trade and Industry, South Africa
Dr NC Dlamini Zuma (Minister of Foreign Affairs, South Africa)
120 Plein Street

24 April 2003

Fax:  +27 21 464 2271

Dear Mr Zuma, Dr Tshabalala-Msimang, Mr Erwin and Dr Dlamini Zuma


We are deeply concerned that the South African government has not
adopted or implemented an HIV/AIDS treatment plan. Over 600 South
Africans die a day on average of HIV/AIDS. Most of them die because
they cannot afford to buy life-saving medicines.  We appeal to you
agree to the demands of the Treatment Action Campaign to sign the
NEDLAC Framework Agreement for an HIV/AIDS Treatment and Prevention
Plan and to make an irrevocable commitment to providing
antiretroviral therapy in the public sector. If South Africa does
this, it will demonstrate that wide-scale treatment can be made
available in the developing world and that there is no reason why the
international community cannot unite to make life-saving treatment
available to poor people everywhere.

South Africa's transition to democracy has been remarkable. Its
Constitution and democratic structures have set a magnificent example
for the whole world. But the South African Government's negligent
response to the HIV epidemic is damaging its international
reputation. We appeal to you: For the sake of millions of lives give
meaning to the Constitutional rights to life, dignity and health-care
by implementing an HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention plan. South
Africa's Freedom Day is in a few days time. This marks the first
democratic election in South Africa. Please use this day as an
opportunity to give hope to millions of people by announcing the
rollout of an antiretroviral treatment programme.


Your name, organisation, full address

CC: Local Consulate-General/Ambassador
CC: Local Media & info@tac.org.za


Article in this morning's Sowetan by ANC Youth League attacking TAC

Dear Subscribers

The following article was published  in The Sowetan by the ANC Youth League today. Subscribers should be aware that since South Africa became democratic, the ANC Youth League has not represented youth. Instead it has been a mouthpiece of irrationality inside the ANC. TAC will respond to this piece in The Sowetan.

Zackie Achmat

The article is reproduced below  -  unchanged, unedited, uncorrected. [Ed.]

Pagad and TAC two sides of the same coin

Sowetan, 22. Apr. 2003

Treatment Action Campaign activists are nothing less than paid marketing agents for toxic AIDS drugs from America, says Khulekani Ntshangase, ANC Youth League spokesman

Prior to the 1999 elections, South Africa was reported to be the crime capital of the world where people were "raped every six seconds? and killed every 27th minute". The local media fell into that trap and even the foreign media was advising people not to visit this country.

No matter how much the Government explained the issue of crime statistics, no one paid attention. We were told that youth were all criminals and that they were not going to vote.

This led to the formation of the most brutal form of mafia posing as vigilantes - People Against Drugs and Gangsterism (Pagad). Pagad's roll was to serve as the pressure group, and it had all the money in the world required to run its operations.

Central to their message and that of the media was: there is high rate of crime in this country as result, people will not vote. Many lives were lost in the process of this group's work.

But in the end Pagad was tamed and its leaders were sent to jail. Some are still facing charges related to their wrong doings - this thanks to our Government's swift response to the threat posed by Pagad. The Government busted Pagad despite SABC and Sanef's quest to hide the crucial evidence required by the prosecution team to lock away those involved in murdering other people.

Today, South Africa is the "HIV and Aids capital of the world". We are told that the biggest killer in this country is HIV and Aids.

But every honest person knows that the overwhelming majority of our people  die from accidents and violence. The second biggest killer is TB pushing HIV/Aids into the third place.

The Government has consistently explained this and yet some sections of the media and those in business use all means possible to divert the attention.

Just like in 1999, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is being used to discredit the government. Both Pagad and TAC come from Cape Town and are formed for the single mission, to mobilize people against the African National Congress Government.

TAC commands the backing of the media; just like Pagad whose leaders were only known by certain journalists who continued to give them exclusive interviews whilst on the other hand justice was busy looking for them in vain.

When approached, they said: "No, you are tempering with freedom of press and protection of sources."

Pagad was rightwing fundamentalist whilst TAC is led by the ultra-left fanatics which make the two the same because ultra-left and ultra-right use the same vocabulary in their attack for progressive leaders of the revolution. They also get funding from the same source and employ the same strategy and tactic.

The TAC claims that it has the support of the majority in this country and that these "masses" will not vote next year unless the government is prepared to distribute "highly toxic" drugs willy-nilly without considering side effects.

Remember that is exactly what Pagad said about 1999 elections.

Same vocabulary and same tactic!

Is it true that the Government is doing nothing about HIV and Aids? The answer is known by all, even those that are in the forefront of  TAC hurling insults and shouting lies and malice are aware. They participated in the drafting of the Government's comprehensive HIV-Aids strategy.

Perhaps we need to talk a little bit about TAC! This is just a harmless but very loud pressure group whose salaries are paid by Americans. This is a conglomeration of drug-dealers who serve as marketing agents of toxic drugs which are not even used where they come from, America.

This group claims to be led by ANC members; even one of them was lobbying to become a member of the national executive committee. What a joke!

But are they real ANC members? Certainly not! Any ANC member should know policies of the movement and those of the Government. It is even worse when you talk about people who pose as leaders.

But why can't they just leave the ANC and join the Democratic Alliance (DA)? Their masters know very well that the best way to confuse the public is by claiming to be a member of the ANC.

Of course some of them have membership ANC cards, but that does not make them ANC members. It is not every membership cardholder that is a member of the movement as much as it is not every non-membership cardholder that is not ANC.

Should our revolutionary Government bow to the pressure of activists and convert the Health Department into HIV/Aids Department? It can't

As much as HIV/Aids is very important, the country cannot behave as though there are no other health related problems.

Pagad was destroyed so will be TAC!

But how? The Government should investigate ways of arresting people such as those who campaign for the poisoning of our people. Those that mislead innocent people and those that have no respect for the poor and underdeveloped majority.

But our negotiated democracy may not agree. What does the Government do then? It must continue to work hard to create a better life for all. The Government must further help its youth to cease opportunities created by this democracy. This will include skills development, job create and entrepreneurship development.

This is enough ammunition to ensure that the shadow of death created by TAC is completely and speedily curbed.

But why does the workers' movement participate in the killing of its membership and the entire community?

Is it because trade union leaders do not understand the danger posed by pharmaceutical companies and TAC or they don't care for their membership?

I don't know, but I think we are dealing with the phenomenon created by the new experience which believes in popularism.