TAC’s Response to Allegations Made Against TAC’s Free State Leadership

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) takes note of allegations in the media of misconduct against TAC leaders in the Free State from Mr Tefo Tabi, the head of the secretariat of the Free State Provincial AIDS Council (PCA). Mr Tabi has on request from TAC communicated his allegations to the General Secretary of the TAC, Anele Yawa, although he has up to now failed to furnish us with any detailed evidence. Mr Tabi’s allegations relate to payments for transport for stigma mitigation workshops conducted in the Free State that were co-hosted by the PCA and TAC Free State between June and December last year.

We are suspicious about the timing of these allegations, given that they come in the context of serious acts of intimidation of activists and the recent arrest of community healthcare workers and activists in the Free State. The allegations have also surfaced as the TAC and other partners intensify our campaign to have the Free State Health MEC, Benny Malakoane, removed and a turnaround plan produced for the collapsing health system.

However, TAC takes any allegation of misconduct very seriously – whatever its source. The TAC will be setting an example on how to deal with any allegation of fraud or corruption and has therefore instigated an urgent, independent and thorough investigation to establish the facts. If any evidence of wrong-doing by TAC leaders, members or employees is found, it will be dealt with in accordance with TAC’s internal policies and the relevant laws of this country.

In an email Mr Tabi asks us to “please see what are people who call others corrupt are doing”. But unlike Mr Tabi’s government, where officials accused of corruption remain in office for months and sometimes years, earning fat salaries without thorough investigation or action, we will act quickly. We will hold our own leaders, members and employees accountable in the same way that we hold politicians and government officials accountable. We will publically report on the outcome of the investigation.

Finally, we wish to state clearly that this issue will not distract our efforts to fix the Free State health system. We repeat our call to Free State Premier Ace Mashagule to suspend or dismiss MEC Malakoane. Malakoane is currently facing serious charges of corruption and will appear in Bloemfontein in the Regional Court on August 27th.

Whatever the outcome of the investigation, TAC’s work in the Free State will continue. The collapse of the Free State healthcare system remains an emergency affecting many lives.

For more information contact Anele Yawa, TAC General Secretary, on 079 328 1215.