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
against the government should it fail to commit to a treatment and
prevention plan that
includes the roll-out of antiretrovirals.
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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.
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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
- African governments must develop treatment and prevention plans
for HIV/AIDS as well as other diseases such Tuberculosis and Malaria.
No HIV opportunistic infection should go untreated. Where capacity
exists, antiretroviral treatment programmes should be started.
- The rights of people with HIV/AIDS should be legally protected
- African governments must access the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB
- The world's rich countries must grant much more money to the
Global Fund. According to UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, 7 to 10
billion dollars a year are needed a year for HIV/AIDS alone. As of
January 2003, just over 2 billion dollars has been committed to the
fund to cover a five year period! This is far too little
- All African countries need to become more democratic and
demonstrate greater respect for human rights. Pressure must be placed
on African dictatorships, such as Zimbabwe and Swaziland, to become
accountable to their people.
- Wealthy countries must end their farm subsidies, so that African
farmers can access their markets and reduce food insecurity in Africa.
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
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Memorandum to the Sector Convenors of the Growth
and Development Summit
(Handed over by about 100 TAC members at the GDS)
7th June 2003
CDE EBRAHIM PATEL, LABOUR
ADV RAMS RAMASHIA, GOVERNMENT
MS FADILLA LAGADIEN, COMMUNITY
MR RAYMOND PARSONS, BUSINESS
Dear comrades and colleagues
PREVENT AND TREAT HIV/AIDS TO PROMOTE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
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
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
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
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
Complete and sign the NEDLAC HIV/AIDS Framework agreement.
TAC National Secretary
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