22 September 2005

TAC's third National Congress starts in Cape Town on Friday 23 September 2005, and lasts until Sunday afternoon, 25 September 2005.  Media are invited to attend all sessions of the Congress.

The Congress takes place against the backdrop of continued attempts by parts of our government, led by President Mbeki, to overlook and ignore the horrendous impact that the HIV epidemic is having on our society.  Statistics produced by the government have confirmed the claims made by TAC and many others of dramatic increases in natural deaths in South Africa over the last few years.  Yet, despite this, South Africa's HIV treatment programme continues to reach only a fraction of those in need and the country faces an unprecedented situation of beginning 2006 without a new strategic plan to prevent HIV infections.  This crisis and its possible solutions will obviously be one of the main issues facing the TAC Congress.

The TAC Congress brings together over 600 delegates from all over South Africa. Many of the delegates are community activists who live with HIV and are in the best position to speak about the realities of access to HIV prevention and treatment at community level.  This year our Congress will also benefit from presentations by leaders of civil society organisations, including Rev Molefe Tsele, the General Secretary of the SACC; Zwelinzima Vavi, the General Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions; and veteran ANC leader, Cheryl Carolus.  Leading HIV scientists, including Dr Francois Venter and Prof Quarraisha Abdool-Karim, will also make presentations on the latest scientific and medical breakthroughs around HIV.

Regrettably, despite invitations to the Deputy President, the Minister of Health, the Head of the Department of Health's AIDS Programme and others, no senior government officials are participating in the Congress. It is particularly unfortunate that the Deputy-President, who heads the South African National AIDS Council, has ignored or spurned all our attempts to meet her. TAC regards this as another missed opportunity for honest debate and collaboration on saving lives.


Venue: Cape Town Ritz Hotel, Sea Point

Friday 23 September

12:00 – 16:00 Registration

18:30 – 20:30 Opening rally hosted by Linda Mafu, TAC National Organiser

18:30 – 18:45 Vuyiseka Dubula, TAC Western Cape Treatment Literacy Co-ordinator
18:45 – 19:15 Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim, epidemiologist at the University of Kwazulu-Natal
19:15 – 19:30 Believe Dhliwayo, Zimbabwean HIV activist
19:30 – 20:00 Presentation of TAC Awards – Zackie Achmat
20:00 – 20:10 Explanation of electoral process – election officer
20:10 – 20:30 Screening of TAC Video

Saturday 24 September

8:30 – 13:15 Plenary

8:30 - 9:00 Introduction to plenary
9:00 – 9:15 Dr Molefe Tsele, SACC
9:15 – 9:35 Cheryl Carolus
9:35 – 10:05 Dr Francois Venter, HIV Clinician, Johannesburg General Hospital
10:05 – 10:30 Discussion
10:30 – 11:00 Announcement of NEC nominations & NEC Resolution
11:00 – 11:30 Tea Break
11:30– 12:30 Chair’s Report & Discussion - Zackie Achmat
12:30 – 13:15 Women, AIDS & Activism Presentation - Sipho Mthathi

13:15 – 13:30 Introduction to Commissions

13:30 – 14:30 Lunch

14:30 – 16:00 Commissions
Prevention, Organising and Engagement, Treatment, Women, AIDS and Human Rights, A People’s Health Service, Children & HIV

16:00 – 16:30 Tea Break
16:30 – 17:30 Report back on Commissions

19:30 – 22:00 Concert featuring TAC choirs

Sunday 25 September

9:00 – 9:30 Treasurer’s Report & Discussion - Mark Heywood
9:30 – 9:45 Explanation of Election Logistics – Electoral Officer
9:45 – 11:30 Elections
9:30 – 11:30 Treatment Literacy Workshop in Main Venue – Nomfundo Eland
11:15 – 11:45 Tea Break
11:45 – 12:30 Summary of Resolutions - tbc
12:30 – 13:00 Announcement of NEC
13:00 – 13:15 Zwelinzima Vavi - COSATU
13:15 – 13:30 Newly Elected TAC General-Secretary
13:30 – 14:30 Lunch

Contact Information

Media interested in attending should call Molly on 021 788 3507.

For media comment, please call deputy-chairperson Sipho Mthathi, national organiser Linda Mafu or spokespersons Denis Matwa and Nokhwezi Hoboyi on 021 788 3507.