The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) held its National Council (NC) on the 4th and 5th of March 2013 at Booysens, Johannesburg. Below are some discussion points and the resolutions of the NC. Internal and organisational resolutions will be circulated separately.
The Current Political Situation:
Council deliberated on the outcomes and resolutions of the ANC Congress, which was held at Mangaung during December 2012, and noted the possible effects of these for TAC’s work and mission going forward. The NC noted with concern the growing attacks on and misrepresentation of progressive social movements and their leaders; particular attention was paid to the allegations against COSATU’s general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi.
The council expressed concern over the continuing collapse of health systems in some provinces. The Eastern Cape and Gauteng are examples of how years of mismanagement, corruption and lack of proper skills in the department has virtually collapsed or is collapsing the departments, with a terrible impact on the provision of health services.
The council noted that although we have committed leadership in the Department of Health (DoH) at the national level, leadership at a provincial level is found wanting. The NC believes that the national minister of health should show greater leadership in dealing with provinces that are transgressing in their responsibility to deliver quality health care. The failure of provinces becomes his failure too.
1. On the National Health Insurance:
The NC discussed and expressed concern on the slow progress and poor financial management and spending in the piloting of the National Health Insurance (NHI) in districts. Council has received reports of monies being returned to Treasury due to non-expenditure by some piloting districts. This happens in the face of weakening health systems and an increasing demand for resources to re-build health systems in the identified districts.
Council resolved the following:
· Where there are no NHI Forums in NHI pilot districts, TAC will set these up and demand the following:
o Meeting with NHI coordinator of the district;
o Getting an implementation plan for the district;
o Proper budgets and business plans for the pilots;
2. On the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC):
The NC is concerned by the poor visibility of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) a year into the 2012-2016 National Strategic Plan (NSP), and lack of reporting on the progress made thus far. TAC believes the SANAC structure is still too big and not manageable in its current form. Communication and accountability within SANAC has been very poor and this will affect how and where we go with the implementation of the NSP. Agreed that there is a need to shake things from the bottom and push SANAC to be a more accountable structure.
Council resolved to:
· To communicate with the CEO, Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of SANAC our concerns around the non-visibility and non-responsiveness of SANAC, citing recent examples of drug stock-outs and non-reporting on the progress of implementing the NSP;
3. On Tuberculosis (TB):
The judgement handed down by the constitutional court in the matter between Dudley Lee and the Department of Correctional Services highlighted the specific responsibilities on “accountability and responsiveness” on the government in terms of TB prevention and treatment in prisons, but also to citizens needs.
TAC will use the judgment as a mobilising tool in holding government accountable for effective TB prevention in and out of prisons.
4. On Health Systems Strengthening
Council resolved to prioritise the Eastern Cape and Gauteng provinces in terms of the work currently being undertaken in these provinces in health systems as follows;
· Gauteng – monitoring the supply, availability and access to vaccines.
· Eastern Cape – Focus on the problems at Village Clinic, Mthatha Depot and Human Resource;
Council further resolved to produce a report on the health system crisis in the Eastern Cape (similar to the one that has just published on Gauteng), and to institute litigation if necessary;
5. On Gender Based Violence
Council further deliberated the growing attacks and murders of women and children, Anene Booysens having been a reminder of atrocities against women. It noted that the Ministry of women, children and people with disabilities has not been active or visible in this regard.
Sonke Gender Justice has written a letter to the president asking for the government’s plan to address GBV in South Africa and also called for a commission of enquiry to be set up to investigate GBV in our country. Thirty other partners have signed up on the call for the commission.
National Council resolved that:
· TAC supports the call for R10billion over ten years to support work on GBV,
· TAC supports the initiative, and will further request that:
o The commission should reflect the voices of women on the ground,
o The commission should be led by women who come from local communities and capture testimonies of the popular voices and experiences of women in the same communities.
For further information contact Vuyiseka Dubula, TAC General Secretary: 082 763 3005