TAC Newsletter 29 January 2003

Contents

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Help Mobilise for the Stand Up For Our Lives March on 14 February


Please note that TAC can only offer a limited amount of, not particularly comfortable, transport to the march from outside of the Western Cape.


TAC Statement on Bush Administration Announcement to Commit US$15 Billion to HIV/AIDS in Africa and Haiti Over Five Years

The TAC and its allies note the increased commitment by the US Government to HIV/AIDS spending in Africa and the Carribean over the next five years. While we welcome this commitment, the Bush administration has a record of not fulfilling its pledges to the Global Fund against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM) and other multilateral institutions. Most importantly, the GFATM has requested US$2.5 billion this year from the Bush administration  and US$3.5 billion in 2004. It is disappointing that the Bush administration has only only committed a small amount of money to the Global Fund over five years and that most of the aid referred to in Mr Bush's State of the Nation speech is bilateral. We call on this commitment to be made to the Global Fund, which has the independence and integrity to ensure that the money is properly allocated and accounted for. It was also very concerning that there was no announcement in Mr Bush's  address to lift the undue, unfair and unreasonable pressure that the US has applied to  poor countries to prevent the importation of generic medicines for all illnesses, not just HIV/AIDS. It is ironic that Mr Bush quoted generic antiretroviral prices in his speech to demonstrate the growing affordability of treatment. We urge him to demonstrate that his administration will not stand in the way of the use of  essential generic medicines for all diseases in developing countries.

Although this increased commitment is welcome, we note with anger that the administration is  dramatically increasing  its military expenditure.  The money for health in the developing world still pales into insignificance against the money spent on developing weapons of mass destruction. Real security for people in the US and the world requires a  sustained  investment in development, a lifting of restrictions on trade and, above all for TAC and its allies, investment in health-care and affordable access to essential medicines for all people. We hope that this money will not be used to exact unfair trade conditions from poor countries and that it will not be used to subsidise the pharmaceutical industry, which was by far the largest contributer to the Bush presidential campaign.  The TAC and our allies oppose the militarism displayed by the Bush Administration.

We note that this increased commitment has come about because of the hard campaigning of ACTUP, Health-GAP and the Student Global AIDS Campaign. We salute their efforts and urge them to step up camapigns for solidarity with the poorest nations of the world. 



TAC Appeal for International Solidarity for March to Opening of Parliament on 14 February 2003

Dear friends, comrades and allies

On 14 February 2003, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is organizing a "Stand up for your life" march in Cape Town.  This march will mark the opening of Parliament by President Thabo Mbeki. This will be one of the last opportunities for the South African government to demonstrate goodwill and to avoid civil conflict on HIV/AIDS.
 
We want this march to be the biggest national HIV/AIDS demonstration to show the will of the people in support of an HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention plan.  The march already has the support of trade unions, religious leaders, youth and thousands of ordinary people.  This is an appeal to our international allies to write to the South African government requesting that they sign and implement a treatment and prevention plan that includes anti-retroviral treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS. The letter should also appeal to the government to immediately apply for compulsory licences against the drug companies to ensure an affordable and sustainable local supply of generic anti-retroviral medicines. You can write to your local consulate or embassy. Or, fax the Deputy President Mr. Jacob Zuma or the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Our march will also pass the US Consulate.  We are saying to the South African government: "We are standing up for our lives. Act now to save our country and continent."  We are saying to the US government: "Stop militarism and military spending.  Spend money on the real threats to global human security: poverty, environmental degradation and ill health. We urge the US government to fund the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment."

We cannot wait any longer for a visible and dynamic response from the government, business and international community.  We do not need any more reports to tell us what we already know - HIV/AIDS is killing 600 people a day in this country and ruining lives and hopes.  But with will and commitment this does not have to happen.  With leadership from business and government, together with labour and communities, it is still possible to save lives and restore hope.
 
On 19/20 January 2003, the TAC National Executive and more than 100 activists, trade union, religious and people re-affirmed that if government fails to sign and implement an national treatment and prevention plan that we will start a national campaign of civil disobedience.  We ask you to write to the South African government to avoid  unnecessary conflict and instead to save the lives of our people.
 
Internationally, the work of MSF, Consumer Project on Technology, HealthGAP, ACT-UP, OXFAM, PATAM, IGLHRC, Bread for the World, GMHC, Action Southern Africa, Southern African Development Fund,  Student Global AIDS Campaign, ATTAC,
Brazilian HIV/AIDS NGOs, all the organisations of PATAM and others have sustained HIV/AIDS activism and a global conscience in the epidemic. We appeal to all organisations and individuals to write to the South African government and to assist in saving millions of lives in our country.
 
Thank you for your support and solidarity.  The relevant contact addresses are pasted below. Please send your letters on or before 14 February 2003 and copy them to info@tac.org.za
 
Regards
 
Zackie Achmat, Nathan Geffen, Sindiswa Godwana, Mark Heywood, Nonkosi Khumalo, Mandla Majola, Tsakane Mangwane, Sipho Mthathi  and Theo Steele on behalf of the Treatment Action Campaign

Government Addresses

Minister of Foreign Affairs:
Dr NC Dlamini-Zuma
PRETORIA Tel: + 2712 351 0006
Fax: +27 12 351 0253
E-mail: media@foreign.gov.za

Deputy President:
Mr JG Zuma
Pretoria Tel. +27 12 300 5200
Fax: +27 12 323 3114
E-mail: Deputypresident@po.gov.za
Chief Director: Communication and Spokesperson
Ms Lakela Kaunda **
Cellphone: +27 82 782 2575
E-mail: lakela@po.gov.za


French Translation


Chers amis, camarades et alliés,

Le 14 février 2003, Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) organise, au Cap, une
marche « Debout pour votre vie ». Cette marche marquera l'ouverture de la
session parlementaire par le président Thabo Mbeki. C'est l'une des
dernières possibilités pour le gouvernement sud-africain de démontrer sa
bonne volonté et d'éviter un conflit civil sur le VIH/SIDA.

Nous voulons que cette marche soit la plus grande manifestation nationale
pour démontrer la volonté du peuple de soutenir un plan de traitement et de
prévention contre le VIH/SIDA.

La marche a déjà le soutien des syndicats de travailleurs, de leaders
religieux, de jeunes et de milliers de gens ordinaires. Ceci est un appel à
nos alliés internationaux, pour qu'ils écrivent au gouvernement d'Afrique du
Sud et lui demandent de signer et d'implémenter un plan de traitement et de
prévention comprenant un traitement antirétroviral pour les gens qui vivent
avec le VIH/SIDA.

Votre lettre devra également demander au gouvernement qu'il dépose
immédiatement une demande de licence obligatoire auprès des compagnies
pharmaceutiques, afin d'assurer la fourniture locale et pérenne, à un prix
abordable, de médicaments génériques antirétroviraux. Vous pouvez écrire au
consulat ou à l'ambassade locale ; ou encore envoyer un fax au
vice-président, M. Jacob Zuma ou au ministre des affaires étrangères, Dr.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Notre marche passera aussi devant le consulat des Etats-Unis. Nous disons au
gouvernement sud-africain : « Nous sommes debout pour nos vies. Agissez,
maintenant, pour sauver notre pays et notre continent. » Nous disons au
gouvernement des Etats-Unis : « Halte au militarisme et aux dépenses
militaires. Dépensez l'argent sur les véritables menaces à la sécurité
humaine globale : la pauvreté, la dégradation environnementale, et la
mauvaise santé. Nous demandons au gouvernement des Etats-Unis de financer le
Fonds mondial de prévention et de traitement du VIH/SIDA. »

Nous n'avons plus les moyens d'attendre pour qu'arrive la réponse visible et
dynamique du gouvernement, des entreprises et de la communauté
internationale. Nous n'avons plus besoin de rapports pour nous dire ce que
nous savons déjà ? le VIH/SIDA tue 600 personnes par jour dans ce pays et
ruine nos vies et nos espoirs. Mais, avec de la volonté et de l'engagement,
ceci n'est pas une fatalité. Si les entreprises et le gouvernement
s'engagent aux côtés des travailleurs et des communautés, il est encore
possible de sauver des vies et de restaurer l'espoir.

Les 19 et 20 janvier 2003, l'exécutif national de TAC et plus d'une centaine
de militants, de syndicalistes et de religieux ont réaffirmé que, si le
gouvernement échoue à signer et à mettre en oeuvre un plan national de
traitement et de prévention, nous lancerons une campagne nationale de
désobéissance civile. Nous vous demandons d'écrire au grouvernement
sud-africain pour qu'il évite ce conflit inutile et qu'il sauve la vie de
notre peuple.

Sur le plan international, le travail de MSF, Consumer Project on
Technology, HealthGAP, ACT-UP, OXFAM, PATAM, IGLHRC, Bread for the World,
GMHC, Action Southern Africa, Southern African Development Fund, Student
Global AIDS Campaign, ATTAC, des ONGs brésiliennes de lutte contre le
VIH/SIDA, de toutes les organisations de PATAM et d'autres ont permis de
faire monter l'activisme contre le VIH/SIDA et la conscience globale de
l'épidémie. Nous appelons toutes les organisations et tous les individus à
écrire au gouvernement sud-africain et à aider à sauver des vies dans notre
pays.

Merci pour votre soutien et votre solidarité. Les adresses de contact
pertinentes sont collées ci-dessous. Veuillez envoyer vos courriers avant le
14 février 2003 et en envoyer une copie à info@tac.org.za

Codialement,

Zackie Achmat, Nathan Geffen, Sindiswa Godwana, Mark Heywood, Nonkosi
Khumalo, Mandla Majola, Tsakane Mangwane, Sipho Mthathi et Theo Steele, au
nom de Treatment Action Campaign

German Translation

Liebe Freunde, Mitstreiter und Sympathisanten

Am 14. Februar 2003 veranstaltet die TREATMENT ACTION CAMPAIGN (TAC) einen
"Stand up for your life-" Marsch in Kapstadt. An diesem Tag tagt das
Suedafrikanische Parlament unter der Fuehrung von Praesident Thabo Mbeki
erstmalig nach der Sommerpause; unser Marsch soll ein besonderes Zeichen
setzen und der Suedafrikanischen Regierung die Moeglichkeit bieten,
bezueglich der HIV/AIDS-Problematik ihren guten Willen zu demonstrieren
und diesem gesellschaftlichen Problem kraftvoll den Kampf anzusagen.

Wir wollen, dass diese bis dato groesste Demonstration im Kampf gegen
HIV/Aids den Willen der Menschen zur Etablierung eines staatlichen
Behandlungs- und Praeventionsplans, welcher auch den Zugang der
Betroffenen zu den entsprechenden Medikamenten ermoeglicht, aufzeigt. Unser Vorhaben
wird bereits von kommerziellen Vereinigungen, religioesen Fuehrern, der
Jugend und tausenden MitbuergerInnen unterstuetzt. Mit diesem Schreiben
wollen wir nunmehr auch internationale Verbuendete dafuer gewinnen, an die
Suedafrikanische Regierung zu appellieren, beschriebenen staatlichen
Behandlungs- und Praeventionsplan zu beschliessen und umzusetzen. In
diesem Zusammenhang muss verstaerkt Druck auf die Regierung ausgeuebt werden,
damit diese endlich gegen preistreiberische Pharmakonzerne effektiv vorgeht und
die Herstellung von HIV/ AIDS-Medizin-Duplikaten (Generics) durch locale
Produzenten legalisiert. Selbstverstaendlich koennen Sie sich nicht nur
direkt an die Suedafrikanische Regierung wenden, sondern auch an Ihrem
Botschafter in Suedafrika schreiben bzw. dem Bundestagspraesidenten Mr.
Jacob Zuma oder dem Aussenminister Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma ein Fax
senden.

Unser Marsch fuehrt auch vorbei am US-amerikanischen Konsulat. Wir
demonstrieren der Suedafrikanischen Regierung: "Wir kaempfen um die
Erhaltung unseres Lebens. Handeln Sie jetzt und retten Sie unser Land und
unseren Kontinent." Wir demonstrieren der US-Regierung: "Stoppen Sie Ihren
ausufernden Militarismus und den damit verbundenen horrenden
Ruestungsausgaben. Investieren Sie endlich mehr in den sozialen Sektor, um
die eigentlichen, die sozialen Probleme der Menschheit zu loesen, wie
Armut, Umweltzerstoe-rungen und Gesundheitsvorsorge. Wir draengen die
US-Regierung, endlich in den globalen Fond zur HIV/ AIDS-Praevention- und Behandlung zu
investieren.

Wir sind nicht dazu bereit, noch laenger auf ueberfaelliges und
dynamisches Handeln der Regierung, der Wirtschaft und der internationalen Gemeinschaft
zu warten. Wir brauchen auch keine weiteren Berichte und Analysen zu
Sachverhalten, die uns laengsat vertraut sind - HIV/AIDS toetet
hierzulande taeglich 600 Menschen und vernichtet Leben und Hoffnung. Diesen Umstand
koennen und wollen wir nicht laenger hin-nehmen und wir wissen, dass sich
die Situation verbessern laesst. Unter der Fuehrung der Wirtschaft und der
Regierung, in Zusammenarbeit mit der Oeffentlichkeit und Vereinigungen
wird es moeglich sein, Leben zu retten und Hoffnung zu stiften.

Am 19. bzw. am 20. Januar 2003 wird TAC gemeinsam mit mehr als hundert
Aktivisten, Vertretern kommer-zieller Vereinigungen, Sympathisanten und
religioesen Wuerdentraegern beschliessen, dass wir, falls die Regierung
versagt und besagter staatlicher Behandlungs- und Praeventionsplan nicht
umgesetzt wird, eine nationale Kampagne zum zivilen Ungehorsam ins Leben
rufen werden. Wir bitten Sie darum, der Sued-afrikanischen Regierung
schriftlich mitzuteilen, dass dieser unnoetige Konflikt vermieden werden
kann und stattdessen alle Kraft zur Bewahrung von Leben aufgebracht werden
sollte.

Im internationalen Massstab betrachtet hat die Arbeit von MSF, CONSUMER
PROJECT ON TECHNOLOGY, HealthGAP, ACT-UP, OXFAM, PATAM, IGLHRC, BRED FOR
THE WORLD, GMHC, ACTION SOUTHERN AFRICA, SOUTHERN AFRICA DEVELOPMENT FUND,
STUDENT GLOBAL AIDS CAMPAIGN, ATTAC, brasilianischen HIV/AIDS NGO's, all'
die PATAM-Organisationen und vielen mehr die Arbeit im Kampf gegen
HIV/AIDS aufrechterhalten und an das globale Gewissen in Bezug auf die Epidemie
appelliert. Wir bitten alle Organisationen, aber auch Einzelpersonen, die
Suedafrikanische Regierung schriftlich zum Handeln aufzufordern und somit
Millionen von Leben in unserem Land zu retten.

Vielen Dank fuer Ihre Unterstuetzung und Solidaritaet. Nachstehend finden
Sie alle relevanten Kontakt-Adressen. Bitte versenden Sie Ihre Schreiben
vor dem 14. Februar 2003 und nach Moeglichkeit eine Kopie davon an
info@tac.org.za.

Vielen Dank fuer Ihre Unterstuetzung, mit freundlichen Gruessen




NEDLAC HIV/AIDS task team reaches agreement on HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention plan

At the joint TAC/COSATU National Treatment Congress at the end of June last year, over 900 delegates resolved unanimously to table our proposal for a National Treatment Plan with the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC).  As promised, this was done within weeks of the Congress!

NEDLAC is a body set up by law to negotiate agreements between business, labour, government and community groups on issues that have an impact on the labour market or the economy and South Africa's development.  Clearly, HIV/AIDS is such an issue.

TAC's request to NEDLAC was positively received and, in September, the Management Committee of NEDLAC decided to establish a senior task team from the different sectors to begin the negotiations.  This task team included the Director-General of Health Dr Ntsaluba, the General Secretary of COSATU Zwelinzima Vavi, and senior business leader Vic van Vuuren.  TAC's National Secretary, Mark Heywood, was asked to be one of the community negotiators.

During October and November 2002, the task team met over 10 times.  Surprisingly, government's attitude to the task team was very constructive.  Early on, agreements were reached that a framework agreement between the parties was possible and later, the task team made specific agreements on a range of issues, including expanding voluntary counseling and testing to reach 2 million people, making sure that the government's guidelines on treating opportunistic infections reached every doctor and nurse in the country, and an agreement that antiretroviral treatment was an important component of a treatment plan.  The most contentious issue during the negotiations was over ARVs.  To begin with, the community and labour representatives had asked for a target on the numbers of people to be reached by ARV treatment.  However, Dr Ntsaluba told the task team that the Departments of Finance and Health had set up a research committee to investigate the cost of a programme of ARV treatment.  He asked that we postpone a decision on numbers until this committee had finished its report in February 2003.  Labour and community agreed to this, with the proviso that we would be allowed to give input into the finance committee and comment on its findings.

By the end of November 2002, the task team was in a position to be able to announce that it had got agreement on the framework agreement.  Several meetings were held that went late into the night or started early in the morning to get to this point.  But we were taken by surprise when, just before our deadline of 1 December 2002, first business and then government said that they would not be able to sign because they had not yet got the support of their seniors.  Despite protests from community and labour and attempts to set a new date for an agreement, business and government have until today refused to comment on the agreement and it seems as if they may even be trying to suppress it.

The NEDLAC framework agreement should offer hope to all in South Africa.  For the first time, it would create united objectives, binding all sectors.  For the first time, it would support prevention programmes with the beginning of access to treatment.  It would allow us to hold all of society, not just government, accountable for what they do to stop this epidemic.  In many ways, the future of the AIDS epidemic demands that we must get this agreement signed.

In 2003, this will be one of the TAC's first objectives.  That is why we call on all people in South Africa, and internationally, to stand up for our lives.  Support the treatment plan campaign to make government and business sign.

MARK HEYWOOD, TAC SECRETARY

29 January 2003