Treatment Action Campaign launches ‘People’s Health Manifesto’

FRIDAY, 7 MARCH 2014 – The TAC today launched its ‘People’s Health Manifesto’. In the manifesto we pose 11 questions to all political parties. We have sent our questions and a copy of our manifesto to all political parties and will publish their responses on March 20.

We are doing this because we believe our leaders have to be held accountable. We are present in clinics, hospitals and communities every day and see first-hand what is working and what is failing. Our members are mostly users of the public health system.

Our manifesto will also be distributed widely to the broader community organisations so that they become familiar with the contents.

The TAC will also engage in a day of action to coincide with the release of the political party responses. While events will take place in all seven provinces where we have a significant presence, our main focus will be in Bloemfontein in the Free State where we will march to demand accountability from that province’s leadership.

We have chosen to focus specifically on the Free State as our leadership is working under extremely difficult conditions. This province has significant challenges and it was once again highlighted in the Stop the Stock-outs report where the Free State reflected the highest levels of stock-outs of lifesaving TB and HIV drugs.

Our leaders have also come under threat with several death threats and acts of intimidation aimed at them personally, but in some instances with warnings that they need to cease their TAC activities. Last week in KwaZulu-Natal TAC leader Sthembiso Memela almost died when he was severely assaulted. None of his personal possessions were taken. All these cases have been reported to the police and the health MECs in the province. The KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC responded immediately and has been assisting us. Several attempts to engage the Free State MEC have failed. This has left us with no option, but to march on the office of the Free State premier on the 20th of March where we will hand over a list of demands detailing what needs to be done to address the health crisis in this province.

We call on political parties to respond to the serious questions posed by the TAC. We in turn urge South Africans to engage with these responses and promises and hold them accountable after the elections.

For media comment:

Anele Yawa on 073 555 8849 or 021 422 1700

Portia Serote on 071 8253095