TAC Electronic Newsletter 

26 June 2003


TAC to Address Elton John AIDS Foundation

26 June: TAC chairperson, Zackie Achmat, will address the Elton John AIDS Foundation's Annual
Charity Ball in London tonight. The EJAF has funded more than 60 organisations within South African
communities with more than R20 million. TAC congratulates the EJAF on its 10th anniversary
and will appeal to international agencies to assist the South African government with the
roll-out of antiretroviral treatment. We will also appeal for concerted international solidarity
against the government should it fail to commit to a treatment and prevention plan that
includes the roll-out of antiretrovirals.


Media Statement: Meeting Between the South African National AIDS Council and the Treatment Action Campaign

Saturday, June 14, 2003
The South African National AIDs Council (SANAC) today, June 14 2003, met with the Treatment Action Campaign, in Pretoria.
There was a frank and open discussion of a wide range of issues including the Nedlac process, TAC civil disobedience campaign, and the provision of anti-retroviral drugs in the public sector. It was recognised that there was substantial common ground between TAC and SANAC on key areas of their national response to HIV/AIDS, within the framework of the Five Year Strategic Plan.
It was agreed that where there are gaps, particularly relating to operational issues, that there should be further engagement between the SANAC secretariat and TAC on these matters. The request by the National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS (NAPWA) to be part of this engagement was accepted.
Regarding the introduction of ARVs in the public sector, it was noted that the government is at an advanced stage of dealing with the Task Team Report on the Expanded Response to HIV/AIDS with a view to making a decision as soon as possible.
It was also noted that the work of the Nedlac HIV/AIDS task team is continuing and should be completed as soon as possible.
There was agreement on a sense of urgency in resolving these matters.


Memorandum to the World Economic Forum

(Handed over by about 1000 marchers to the WEF Africa Economic Summit)

12 June 2003, Durban

Today we are are marching because tens of millions of people in Africa have died of HIV/AIDS - and tens of millions are living with the virus. Most will die during the next ten years if they are not treated. Yet the response by the world community, by the leaders of wealthy countries and many African leaders is still woefully inadequate. There are many health epidemics across Africa, including Malaria and Tuberculosis. Most of these diseases are rare in wealthy countries and when people become sick they are treated. But in Sub-Saharan Africa, most public health care systems are in a poor condition. There is little treatment available and public education is poor. Many people do not get enough nutritious food, making their health worse. Much of this is due to the legacy of colonialism and the ongoing foreign policies of the United States, European Union and Japan, but much of the responsibility for the failure to provide decent health care services lies with lack of human rights and bad governance in Africa.

Today the World Economic Forum (WEF) is meeting to hold its Africa Economic Summit. It is the responsibility of the WEF to bring world leaders together to address global issues, especially economic development and poverty alleviation, which includes the provision of decent health care. Unfortunately, the track record of the WEF indicates that it is much better at consolidating the wealth of rich people in rich countries than addressing the needs of poor people across the world. Therefore, we urge the WEF to prioritise health and food security. If development in Africa is to proceed at an acceptable pace, then the needs of the worst-off and poorest people in society must be addressed. We are therefore urging you today to commit to the the following:

The WEF can play a vital role in developing the wealth, health and dignity of the world's poorest people. We urge you to  do what's right. Treat our people.


Bongiwe Mkhuytukelwa                    Thabo Cele
TAC KZN Co-ordinator                    TAC KZN Organiser


Memorandum to the Sector Convenors of the Growth and Development Summit

(Handed over by about 100 TAC members at the GDS)

7th June 2003


Dear comrades and colleagues


TAC has supported the Growth and Development Summit (GDS) and supports proposals that aim to create sustainable employment and community development for those who are currently being kept outside of the formal economy. We welcome the signing of the GDS Agreement which, in many respects, is a step forward and holds out hope for an economic and social policy that will do more to assist the poor and marginalized.

However, TAC and many of our allies are surprised and extremely disappointed that the Agreement does not take the threat of the HIV/AIDS epidemic seriously - in fact it seems to deny that it is a threat at all. In its 48 pages the Agreement refers to the HIV/AIDS epidemic only four times. This is despite the efforts that, we are told, were made to have it dealt with by the community and labour sectors.

In its 2002 Report of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health the World Health Organisation (WHO) has documented the critical links between economic development and health. SA Government officials helped research and draft this report! SA companies are some of the leaders in the Global Business Council on HIV/AIDS. So why is HIV/AIDS absent from this agreement?

We can only conclude that that, despite public statements lamenting the gravity of HIV/AIDS, business and government have consciously chosen to exclude recognition of the threat of HIV/AIDS from the agreement. This is bad for foreign and local investment, bad for growth and an affront to the needs of millions of people living with HIV, or affected by it.

As was recognized by the ANC conference of December 2002, TAC believes that growth and development without a much more serious approach to the HIV/AIDS epidemic will not be equitable, socially balanced or sustainable.  In some industries there is already evidence that economic growth is being harmed by HIV/AIDS.  Social capital and investment is being lost in 600 AIDS-related deaths a day.

We believe this agreement should have been an opportunity to link plans for growth and development directly to HIV prevention and treatment. For example, lives will be saved and jobs created if there is a commitment to local manufacture of generic medicines, including anti-retrovirals, as part of a Treatment Plan. Posts need to be unfrozen and new permanent jobs need to be created in the health sector to ensure the success of treatment programmes.

In our view. the failure of this Agreement to take HIV is a grave omission. It seriously increases the urgency of finalizing the draft NEDLAC Framework Agreement. It is over 6 months since the NEDLAC HIV/AIDS Task Team finalized the draft Framework Agreement on a National HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment Plan.  In February the business sector said it was willing to sign the agreement with minor amendments.  Only government remains outstanding.  

TAC therefore calls on all the parties at the Growth and Development Summit to:

Make a clear statement and commitment that preventing and treating HIV infection is a national priority.
Announce support for a national public and private sector antiretroviral programme.
Complete and sign the NEDLAC HIV/AIDS Framework agreement.

Yours sincerely

Mark Heywood
TAC National Secretary